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On-Line Edition      Thursday, June 22, 2017      Vol. 59  No. 25

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Students raise funds for ‘Shop with a Cop’

Lombard’s Manor Hill School Student Council, with the help of fellow students, raised $422.40 for Lombard’s Shop with a Cop program. Their original goal for the community service project was $200. Council advisor Deb Holas helped the students in their cause. The Lombard Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association (LCPAAA), with the help of Lombard police officers, runs the annual Shop with a Cop program. On May 30, Student Council officers (left to right) Leila, Kaylee and Annalee presented the donation to (left to right) Lombard Detectives Sherie Eakins and Tom McElroy, LCPAAA President Maggie Bucholz, Detective Jim Kohl and Detective Lt. Cyndy Velazquez. Following the donation presentation, the whole student body enjoyed an extra recess with their special visitors as a reward.             Photo by Steve Spoden

                ***** Out & About  by Jane Charmelo *****

Museum fosters learning, creativity for 30 years

Grandmothers are undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with, and Dorothy Carpenter and Louise Beem were no exception—so much so that their brainchild led to the formation of what is now known as the DuPage Children's Museum (DCM).
    Carpenter, who passed away in 2011, was one of those grandmothers, and a Chicago Tribune report indicates she had been a preschool teacher who felt there weren't enough opportunities for enriching play nearby where she could take her grandchildren.
    Beem, who passed away in April, also was one of those grandmothers and an educator in the field of early childhood education—and like Carpenter, a Hinsdale resident.
    Published reports show that the two connected out of a shared interest in providing learning opportunities for young children, although neither was business-oriented.
    However, that didn't stop two determined women when, in 1987-88, they would travel to a variety of locations, from park districts to scout troops and other venues, bringing with them portable exhibits, including one called "Ramps & Rollers" that used troughs and blocks for building ramps through which children could roll a ball.
    The museum got its first temporary location through the Elmhurst Park District. According to a museum timeline, "Each morning Museum workers had to take the exhibits out of a storage area and assemble them, and at the end of the day, reverse the process."
    DCM figures show that the museum attracted 7,080 visitors that year.
    The museum's next location was in 1992 at the Wheaton Park District Community Center, which served as a "pilot" location. The change of venue enabled the museum to be open more hours and year-round, instead of seasonally. At that time, DCM had 11,000 members.    The museum relocated to Naperville in May 2001. By 2002, the museum had welcomed 300,000 visitors. The millionth visitor was logged in on Dec. 21, 2004.
    The museum developed a new layout in 2005—and its own education-oriented blog—enhancing some of its exhibits, which earned DCM acclaim from Crain's Chicago Business as one of 2006's top cultural attractions in the Chicagoland area. DCM then celebrated its 20th year in 2007.
    Fast forward to 2015, when the museum sustained major water damage to all three floors as the result of a burst pipe. The museum had to close in January, but a new, better-than-ever DCM was unveiled in September.
    According to DCM, Westfield Fox Valley Mall gave the museum space out of which to operate—on a smaller scale—while the new museum was under construction.
    Today, what started out as a few pieces of equipment being carted around in a station wagon has become a three-floor facility that is home to interactive exhibits, unique events and programs, parties and learning labs, along with a S.M.A.R.T. Café.
    The latter offers food items that are free of nitrates, harmful preservatives and antibiotics; gluten-free and vegetarian entreés; fresh-baked artisan breads; highest quality meats and cheeses from Boar’s Head; unsweetened fruit drinks and organic milk; and healthy snack options.
    Kimberly Stull, director of Exhibits and Operations, said DCM is still working under the same principle the founding members thought was important—that of "open-ended, multiple-outcome play."
    She said after young children first encounter items in the museum, they learn to "build on the knowledge of what [they've] done before."
    Families can also "replicate these experiences at home," Stull added.
    The director emphasized that the museum (which has a replica of the original "Ramps & Rollers) is "constantly being diligent to what the original mission was," adding that the founders "understood the theory and current research on how children learn."
    In fact, she believes, "They were doing this before anyone."
    While technology has certainly changed since the formative days of DCM, Stull said in keeping with Carpenter's and Beem's concepts, the museum is always asking, "How do we deal with technology? The focus is not the technology. It's about the experience."
    "Now in its 30th year, DuPage Children's Museum is a recognized national leader among children's museums," stated Sarah Orleans, president and CEO of the museum, in a press release. "We welcome everyone to join us as we celebrate 30 years of 'Mission in Motion.' Our success would not be possible without the support and confidence in our mission that is held by so many for this Naperville landmark and Chicagoland institution."
    Stull summed up that the museum expects to reach the 5-million-visitor mark this fall.
    DCM will be celebrating its 30th birthday June 24-25, with the grand opening of AWEsome Water, completing the museum's largest exhibit, AWESOME ENERGY, which covers a quarter of the museum's 17,000-square-foot exhibit space.
    According to DCM, the exhibit offers interactive, hands-on experiences related to air, water and electricity. It is the result of years of research and testing by educators, scientists, business leaders, parents and children.
    In particular, AWEsome Water was created from over seven years of research, development and design. It includes such features as the Stream Table, Magnetic Water Raceway and Waterwheel.
    The weekend of June 24-25 will include a birthday celebration with many activities, from ice chalk and bubble blower art to sensory, photo and "messy" activities. Ben's Bubble Show will take place on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Mr. Freeze will highlight the afternoon at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday.
    DuPage Children's Museum, located at 301 W. Washington St., Naperville, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (8 p.m. on "Third Thursdays"), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
    For more information, call 630-637-8000, e-mail admin@dupagechildrensmuseum.org or visit www.dupagechildrens.org.

                 *** September 11, 2011 ***