News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Palo Alto Art Center Foundation and Junior Museum & Zoo Receive Museums for America Grants from IMLS
Contact : Ken Heiman, Marketing Coordinator, Palo Alto Art Center    4082302304

PALO ALTO, CA– The Palo Alto Art Center Foundation and the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo today announced the receipt of two separate grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) totaling almost $500,000 for projects over the next three years.

The Museums for America grant from the IMLS to the Palo Alto Art Center in the amount of $249,294 will fund Creative Connections, a three-year project that will develop, implement, and formally evaluate its Cultural Kaleidoscope program.

The program creates 18 robust curriculum packages for each grade level that supplement core content standards in science, social studies, and English language arts. The project also includes additional lessons that integrate empathy and cross-cultural understanding.

“I see this grant as an important tool for us to further professionalize and promote impact for our critical Cultural Kaleidoscope program,” says Palo Alto Art Center Director Karen Kienzle. “Ultimately, the program will be instrumental in streamlining the design and delivery of arts-integrated programming, promoting sustainability.”

The Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo (JMZ) also received a $250,000 Museums for America grant from the IMLS for a new outdoor exhibition, California Dinosaur Garden, which is planned to open in 2022. This exhibition will follow the exciting grand opening of the rebuilt JMZ in the fall of 2020.

The California Dinosaur Garden will create a permanent “living diorama” interpreting the Cretaceous period in California at the JMZ’s newly rebuilt facility. Located in a 4,160 square foot exterior courtyard, this engrossing experience built around an existing dawn redwood tree, will include prehistoric plants within a seasonal marsh landscape, 10 interactive interpretive exhibits, a fossil dig, and four life-size dinosaur sculptures. Exhibit components will be fully inclusive, including wheelchair access to the garden experience, climbing dinosaur, and fossil dig. They will also include braille labels and tactile, sensory-rich elements.

  “We are delighted that the Museums for America program has recognized this important exhibition, “ says John Aikin, Director of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo. “Enduringly popular, dinosaurs provide an inviting entry-point to engaging young children in science. For many children, the thrill of discovering dinosaurs, and the world they inhabited, is an early introduction to biology, paleontology, geology, and other branches of science.”  

Through IMLS’s largest competitive grant program, Museums for America, and a special initiative, Museums Empowered, a total of 130 projects were selected from 511 applications, requesting $83,855,805. Institutions receiving awards are matching them with $27,561,604 in non-federal funds.

Museums for America supports projects that strengthen the ability of an individual museum to serve its public by providing high-quality, inclusive learning experiences by serving as community anchors and essential partners in addressing community needs, and by preserving and providing access to the collections entrusted to its care.

“We received a very rich slate of applications this year making the award process extremely competitive,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of the IMLS Office of Museum Services. “IMLS is pleased to fund projects in museums across America that are making impact on their local communities, helping preserve and make collections more accessible and enriching life-long learning experiences.”

About the Palo Alto Art Center:
The Palo Alto Art Center is your place to discover art. See, make, and be inspired because everyone is anartist. Created by the community, for the community in 1971, the Palo Alto Art Center provides anaccessible and welcoming place to engage with art. We serve approximately 140,000 people every yearthrough a diverse range of programs.

The Palo Alto Art Center, Division of Arts and Sciences, City of Palo Alto is funded in part by grants from Silicon Valley Creates and the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation. The Palo Alto Art Center Foundation gratefully acknowledges support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Yellow Chair Foundation, private donations, and members.

About the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo:
The Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo is a place that nurtures a child’s curiosity through hands-on science exhibits and a diverse community of live animals. For 85 years the JMZ has served as a primary resource for science learning through educational programs, which serve 18,000 students per year, and through its museum and zoo, which had 184,000 visits annually. The museum & zoo is currently being rebuilt and will open in Fall 2020. During construction, a temporary museum is located at Cubberley Community Center.

The Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, Division of Arts and Sciences, City of Palo Alto is supported in part by the Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, which led the $25 million Capital Campaign for the new facility. The Friends gratefully acknowledge their major campaign donor, the Peery Family, as well as other private donations, and their members.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services:
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.