Davenport's Putnam Museum Would Like To Renovate - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport's Putnam Museum Would Like To Repurpose

Updated: Nov 29, 2012 09:42 PM CST

The Putnam Museum in Davenport is working on a $1.5-million repurposing project. The museum will use existing rooms for new exhibits and all the exhibits will promote a STEM education. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Work on finding funding to pay for the renovations has started.

"The cost of repurposing space is about 10% what it be if we were looking to add on a wing or add on a floor," says Kim Findlay, President and CEO of the Putnam Museum.

The engineering exhibit at the Putnam Museum is the first room repurposed to promote STEM.

"We want to teach about the fundamentals of engineering and the types of engineering," adds Findlay, "We want students to learn that science, math, and engineering can be a great, exciting course work."

To pay for the project corporate funding has already been pledged.

"The Alcoa Foundation in Pittsburgh for example, has already funded the aerodynamics section," says Findlay.

More corporate sponsorships are being explored. Riverboat development Authority and Scott County Regional Authority grants will help. The Putnam will also apply for a CAT grant from the state of Iowa, but to receive the grant there must be a local match.

"They have to say this is the kind of project our community really wants and wants to put some resources into."

New STEM exhibits will teach students about hydroelectricity, aerospace engineering, innovation, mechanics, and there will be a Dino dig.

"This is important as we learn that our country, the United States, is not scoring as well and not graduating as many people into these types of careers," says Findlay, "Yet, this is where the jobs are growing at four times the rate of other jobs."

Building the STEM sections will happen gradually as funding becomes available.

"The STEM project will rejuvenate interest in the museum," says Findlay, "We think then ticket sales will be higher as will grants that we will receive to do the project."

The Putnam Museum would like all the new exhibits to be up and running by June 2014.

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