Family Museum Arts and Science Fund


The mission of the Family Museum of Arts and Science is to inspire life-long learning in children through interactive arts and science activities and exhibits. Targeting children age 14 and under along with their adult care-givers, including family members and teachers, the Family Museum provides a comprehensive menu of permanent and traveling exhibits, early childhood education programs and instruction in the visual and performing arts. From the award-winning Street Heat program for teens to Old Blues Gallery for preschoolers, ballet and tap for all ages to thought-provoking science exhibits from the Smithsonian, the Family Museum of Arts and Science successfully melds the arts and science into a unique learning experience and environment.

A department of the city of Bettendorf, the museum had its start in the early 1970’s when it featured local Bettendorf history. In 1985, the decision was made to move towards a hands-on participatory environment featuring science for children and the Children’s Museum was born. Parallel to this development, the Center for the Cultural Arts was established to provide instruction in dance and visual and language arts. As the two programs resided in 90-plus year old buildings that were desperately in need of repair as well as updating to address accessibility issues, planning began for a new facility to house both programs. As it turned out, a $10.5 million public bond referendum passed in November 1994 with a 76% approval rating. That paved the way for the expansion of the Bettendorf library and a brand new facility to house the newly created Family Museum of Arts and Science, the successful marriage of the former Children’s Museum and the Center for the Cultural Arts. In March, 1997 the new facility opened to the public and by April, 2001 the Family Museum had served its 500,000th visitor!

The Family Museum of Arts and Science operates on a budget of approximately $1.7 million annually. Of that cost, 40% of operating revenues are generated through fees for services as well as private fund raising activities. The balance of the operating budget is provided by the city of Bettendorf. Twenty-seven percent of the museum’s operating budget supports the repayment of the construction bonds while 53% is devoted to personnel and 20% for general operations.

The Family Museum established an endowment program in the fall of 1999 with the intent to grow that endowment and use the interest generated by it to support operating costs in the future. Today, through the generous support of a generous community, more than 117,000 children and adults participate in museum programs both on-site and through outreach programs to schools and community agencies. The Family Museum was honored as Iowa’s Tourism Attraction of the year in 1998 as well, showing this amenity serves the traveling public and Quad-Citians alike.  

"Having a strong endowment helps to ensure that the German Ameican Heritage Center is here for future generations to learn from and enjoy."

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