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Contact(s):Diane LaFollette
501) 396-7050, ext. 119

Monday, February 27, 2006

Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Awards $7.37 Million to Statewide Museum Network Arkansas Children's Discovery Center Network Will Focus on Collaborative Exhibits

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Feb. 27, 2006) ­ The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has awarded more than $7 million to an innovative museum collaborative that will tour high-quality exhibits throughout Arkansas. The Donald W. Reynolds Arkansas Children¹s Discovery Network is the first of its kind in the nation and launches its operation this year.

The $7,373,173, five-year grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation of Las Vegas, Nev., comes after two years of statewide planning for the museum network. The new network will focus on making hands-on, interactive museum experiences more accessible to the state¹s 498,000 schoolchildren and their families.

"We know that many children in Arkansas seldom, if ever, have the opportunity to engage in the exciting experiential learning that comes from visiting our nation¹s first-rate discovery museums," said Fred W. Smith, chairman of the Foundation. "The Discovery Network will allow children even in the most remote parts of the state to share in the hands-on learning and the sheer fun that comes from experiencing wonderful museum exhibits."

As a part of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation grant, the network¹s seven member organizations will share exhibits and best practices, improve outreach to teachers, expand educational programs, and increase capacities to operate efficiently.

Network members include the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, Mid America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff, Texarkana Museum System in Texarkana, Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover and Arkansas State University Museum in Jonesboro. The Center for Mathematics and Science Education in Fayetteville will host network exhibits until a permanent northwest Arkansas museum partner is determined. Member museums are dedicated to hands-on discovery learning for children, families and educators.

"Our primary goal in funding this initiative is to touch as many rural children as possible in the state. Secondly, we hope to strengthen the individual member museums by providing resources through the network that they may never have had access to individually," said Steven L. Anderson, president of the Foundation.

The Museum of Discovery serves as the "hub" for the innovative museum network. The museum will act as the fiscal agent for the $7 million grant.

"For the past three years, we have been in the planning stages for this new network," said Diane LaFollette, network coordinator for the Arkansas Children¹s Discovery Center Network. "With this grant, we will be able to reach more students and teachers with truly inspiring exhibits and programming."

Over the next few months, the network will choose its first exhibit that will travel among the seven member organizations.

About The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, headquartered in Las Vegas, is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. The Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.

About Arkansas Children¹s Discovery Center Network The Arkansas Children¹s Discovery Center Network, funded by the Donald W.
Reynolds Foundation, works to strengthen partner museums by sharing resources and expanding discovery learning opportunities across the state.


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