NAPERVILLE, IL — An innovative, high-tech, more accessible entryway at the Naper Settlement Museum will receive a $700,000 state capital grant in next year’s state budget thanks to the efforts of Rep. Janet Yang Rohr of Naperville.
The Naperville Heritage Society, administrator of Naper Settlement, will use the $700,000 grant included in the state’s fiscal year 2022 budget to build Naper Settlement’s Innovation Gateway, a state-of-the-art welcome center and exhibition space.
The Innovation Gateway will welcome more than 132,000 annual visitors — including over 35,000 school children and their teachers — to the history museum with a new fully ADA accessible entrance and wall-to-wall digital exhibition space. The new facility will prioritize visitors by providing wide-open spaces built to accommodate today’s visitor traffic and includes a barrier-free experience for attendees with strollers, those using wheelchairs or scooters, or other considerations. The Innovation Gateway will be user-friendly, accessible, safe, and include many new amenities providing for visitor comfort, including restrooms, a lunchroom, additional seating, and more, Naper Settlement officials said.
“The Innovation Gateway will follow our commitment to serve visitors equitably by providing an ADA-friendly facility that includes a whole and inclusive history that is representative of the diverse community we are today.” said Rep. Yang Rohr.
Through the center’s interactive digital wall, visitors will gain a deeper understanding of the contributions that Chicago’s Western Suburbs have made to the development of the state and country by searching a repository of the community’s stories, files, photos and archive. Through a crowd-sourced mechanism, visitors will be able to share their self-curated experiences.
“With school children from 112 districts coming to Naper Settlement each year, the Innovation Gateway will provide our students with the ability to see their communities’ stories told through the people of the past and the present,” said Rena Tamayo-Calabrese, president and CEO at Naper Settlement. “By learning from and connecting to these local stories, students will be able to envision the endless possibilities that are available to them in their own backyard.”
For more information about Naper Settlement’s Innovation Gateway, visit https://napersettlement.org/Innovation-Gateway
About Naper Settlement
Naper Settlement is a nationally accredited, award-winning outdoor living history museum set on 13 magnificent acres in the heart of Naperville. Located 30 miles from Chicago, the museum is home to thirty historical structures dating back as early as the 1830s. Featuring exhibits, special events, educational programming and more, Naper Settlement is where history comes alive and the community comes to connect. For more information, visit www.napersettlement.org or call (630) 420-6010.
About Naperville Heritage Society
Founded in 1969, the Naperville Heritage Society is a not-for-profit organization and administrator of Naper Settlement, the City of Naperville’s museum. With a commitment to the community and a focus to the future, the mission of the Naperville Heritage Society is to collect, document, preserve, and support the history of Naperville, Illinois past and present.