DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) - Staff at the National Mississippi are rejoicing after becoming recipients of two grants.
Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust awarded the museum $250,000. Erin Dragotto, Vice President of Development at the museum, said that the money will be used towards their River of Innovation exhibit.
The newest exhibit will features a 19th century machine-belt shop theme and will have interactive attractions for guests. Dragotto said that it will add history and STEM based learning into their growing educational programs.
"We are a museum first and an aquarium second," said Dragotto. "And this will a new science component and STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and that's the under penning. But it really has applications for multiple uses and disciplines."
The first part of the exhibit is expected to open in the spring of 2020. The following two components will open at the end of next year.
Alliant Energy also awarded the museum $5,000. Dragotto said they plan to use those funds towards a new otter pup exhibit.
Back in July, the museum became the new home for an orphaned 15-month-old otter. Dragotto said they plan on expanding their current exhibit and further fund nutritional care.
"He was orphaned in the middle of Iowa. The DNR, the Department of Natural Resources, picked him up and took him to a facility where they rehab animals such as these," said Dragotto. "The otter grew up and became too big for that space and was looking for a new home. And we became that home."
The new otter pup exhibit will press on the importance of watershed ecosystems.