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Wonder Works Awarded Prestigious Grant From The Institute of Museum and Library Services

Grant will allow children's museum to expand its involvement in the community and open doors to even more children and families

Oak Park, Illinois - October 5, 2006 - Wonder Works, a Children's Museum in Oak Park, announced today that it was awarded the 2006 Museums for America Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The $69,000 grant will allow Wonder Works to increase capacity to serve as a center of community engagement to all families in Oak Park, Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. The grant will benefit Wonder Works from August 2006 to August 2009.

The Museums for America is the Institute's largest grant program for museums, providing more than $17 million in grants to support the role of museums in American society to sustain cultural heritage, to support lifelong learning; and to be centers of community engagement. The Museums for America grant will strengthen Wonder Works' ability to recruit more African American and Latino families as visitors and members to the museum. This enables Wonder Works to serve a broader audience and helps fulfill our vision of having the museum reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

"Wonder Works will now be able to attract and retain new community audiences, many of whom may not be traditional museum users," said Elizabeth Smith, Executive Director of Wonder Works. "The Membership Diversification and Expansion program will allow us to develop a mechanism for community input and help us create the organizational connections that are critical for growth within the museum. This initiative helps Wonder Works address our vision of having a children's museum that is engaging for all children and families regardless of ethnicity."

"Since opening our doors in 2003, Wonder Works has attracted over 1,100 members and will welcome over 60,000 visitors this year," says Board President John Harris. "This will give us some of the resources we need to reach out further and become more regional and community focused at the same time."

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Its mission is to grow and sustain a "Nation of Learners" because life-long learning is essential to a democratic society and individual success. Through its grant making, convenings, research and publications, the Institute empowers museums and libraries nationwide to provide leadership and services to enhance learning in families and communities, sustain cultural heritage, build twenty-first-century skills, and increase civic participation. To learn more about the Institute, please visit:

About Wonder Works
Wonder Works, a Children's Museum in Oak Park, provides a hands-on environment, which promotes creativity, exploration and learning through play, intended to strengthen the social, emotional and intellectual development of children up to age 10. The 6,400 square foot museum, located at 6445 West North Avenue in Oak Park, includes exhibits, educational programming, a retail store and a children's party room. The museum is open Wednesday thru Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday noon to 5 pm. Admission is $5 per person and free for members and children under age one. For more information about field trips, birthday parties and after-hours parties call 708.383.4815 or visit