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The Board of Directors of the Midwest Museum of Natural History is welcoming Malwina Bardoni as the new Executive Director. Bardoni is succeeding Cindy Khatri, with the transition occurring over several weeks in March.
Bardoni has an award-winning background in museum operations, collections, exhibits, special programming, and management. Her education includes a Bachelors in Arts, Entertainment, Media Management from Columbia College, an internship in the education department of the Field Museum in Chicago, a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from Northern Illinois University and a Masters of Anthropology from Northern Illinois University. “I’m looking forward to leading the Midwest Museum of Natural History in our mission of encouraging our community’s appreciation of natural history,” said Bardoni. Jennifer Lavoie of the Board said, “With Malwina’s experience, background and enthusiasm, we’re excited to have such a talented leader join the museum.”
Cindy Khatri, the departing Executive Director, has been credited for shaping the Midwest Museum of Natural History’s mission, collection preservation program, educational, outreach and field trip opportunities, permanent and rotating exhibits, special events, Discovery Den renovation and new interactive technology in the main gallery of the museum. Under her leadership, the Museum won numerous awards from the Illinois Association of Museums and participated in the Museum Assessment Program through the American Alliance of Museums. “Cindy Khatri has been an exceptional innovator, leader, and steward of the organization. Her passion for the mission, principles, and values have benefited the museum during her years as our Executive Director,” said Jennifer Lavoie of the Board of Directors.
“It has been such an honor to serve the Midwest Museum and the DeKalb County community as the Executive Director. I have been a part of the museum for five years now, three as the executive director, and I am proud to have seen it grow with such enormous strides,” said Cindy Khatri. “Stepping down as the Executive Director to make room in my life for my next chapter – parenthood – is something I’m looking forward to, however, I will always look back fondly at the work I did here at MMNH. It has been a true joy working with the board, staff, volunteers, and community.”
The Midwest Museum of Natural History is proud to announce a new logo, website, and brand. Under the guidance of Executive Director Cindy Khatri, and the Board of Directors, the Midwest Museum is taking steps to better communicate its purpose and vision with the public.
In 2016, the Museum surveyed hundreds of community partners, members of MMNH, and the general public on their understanding of the Midwest Museum. In partnership with designer
Richard McPheters, MMNH worked to create an updated, clean logo that highlights the Museum’s unique resources and purpose in the DeKalb County community. The new brand reflects the Museum’s widely varied and exotic collection, family-friendly programs and exhibit design, and fresh approach to connecting the community with the natural world.
“Creating a new brand that felt true to who we are as an institution was important to us. While our previous logo was well loved, we found that many visitors did not have a strong connection between the logo and the Museum. We wanted to make sure the new logo communicates what visitors can expect to find in our exhibits, and in their experience here,” commented Khatri. Inspiration for our new logo was taken from the most memorable collection specimen, the mounted African Elephant (affectionately nicknamed Ralph).
In addition to the new logo, the Museum debuted a new website that is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. “Finding upcoming programs or news about the Midwest Museum should be much easier for everyone involved,” continued Khatri, “the new site is designed to be user-friendly and informative to help the community find exactly what they need.”
On February 4, 2017 at 6:00 pm, the Midwest Museum of Natural History is hosting its 9th annual Groundhog Gala Fundraiser at the Chapel in the Pines, Sycamore. The Gala will feature live music by the Thunderbird Cello Ensemble, a full buffet meal, cash bar, Museum booths, raffle, and silent auction.
All proceeds from the Groundhog Gala will go directly into helping the Museum’s resources grow. “Money raised at this year’s Gala will be used in part to help elevate and expand our educational programming. Each year, we have taken great strides to provide programs for the community that are fun, educational, and engaging. One area of focus in 2017 will be our outreach programs. We hope to strengthen these programs by creating more offerings and expanding our footprint. MMNH recognizes that schools need flexibility with our offerings, and bringing the Museum to them makes the most sense with limited budgets,” stated Executive Director, Cindy Khatri.
The silent auction features some of the best items the Museum’s Gala has offered, including something for everyone. For the sports enthusiast, autographed memorabilia from Chicago teams such as the Cubs and Bears will be available. Love luxury items? A gorgeous Le Coeur watch and designer cosmetics are sure to catch the eye! Those looking to plan a date night or stay-cation can find incredible activities with Chicago museum passes, NIU Football Season Tickets, whiskey tastings, and tickets to Chicago theaters.
“The Groundhog Gala is a wonderful event for the Museum. It is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Museum, providing significant funding for all aspects of operations, including its educational programming, exhibit development, and collection care. Last year, money raised from the Gala helped to jump-start conservation efforts for the Museum’s collection. Since then, we have completely reorganized our collections room and purchased a brand-new museum-grade vacuum to clean our taxidermy specimens. Without the donations from the Gala, we never would have been able to move forward with this next step in preserving our collection,” continued Khatri.
Take the first step in supporting the Museum’s mission by saving the date and purchasing tickets today. Tickets for the event are $45 each, two for $80, or a table of eight for $275. Stop by the Museum, or call 815-895-9777. The Groundhog Gala is generously sponsored in part by the Chapel in the Pines, Anonymous, Curran Contracting/Royer Asphalt, Pardridge Insurance, MVP’s Sports Bar, Pub 64, the Thunderbird Cello Ensemble, and the DeKalb Police Department.
The Midwest Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit institution that does not receive any support from tax dollars. MMNH operates from funds raised through programming, attendance, donations, memberships, grants, and special events like the Groundhog Gala. Our mission is to inspire our community’s appreciation of natural history using shared experiences through collections, exhibits, and education. To find out more about the museum, visit www.mmnh.org.
Get ready to have some fun! A new schedule of free days at the Midwest Museum of Natural History will begin this July. Free days are important to the Museum. “It’s important for us to be available and accessible to visitors regardless of economic constraints. The goal of our free days is to offer our services to a wide and diverse audience. We invite everyone to come see what the Museum has to offer,” stated Executive Director, Cindy Khatri. The schedule will offer free general admission to all Illinois residents. Guests can explore the main gallery and permanent exhibits, observe live animals, play in the Discovery Den, and check out temporary exhibits with free general admission.
This year’s free days will be held:
- The first Wednesday and Thursday of every month
- January 4, 5, 16, 18
- February 1, 2, 7-10, 20
- March 1, 2, 27
- April 5, 6
- May 3, 4, 24
- June 1, 7, 13
- July 5, 6, 11
- August 2, 3, 8, 30
- September 5-8, 12-15
- October 4, 5, 10-13
- November 1, 2, 14-17
- December 1, 6, 7
On January 21, the Museum is pleased to welcome the Burpee Museum to present Dinosaurs and Fossils! At 1:00, visitors will learn about the Earth’s journey through geologic time. A variety of dinosaurs will be explored, and discussed; visitors will see learn about how they lived and see fossils they left behind. This event is geared for ages 6 and up, and is perfect for families. For our younger scientists, a dinosaur and fossil themed craft will be available.
Registration is required for this event- seating is limited! Call 815-895-9777 to reserve your spot today!
With help from the generous support of the Ideal Industries Foundation, Ken Spears Construction, and Sharp Architects, the Midwest Museum of Natural History is thrilled to announce the Discovery Den is under construction! Brand new guided interactives will be available to families, helping inquisitive and playful minds learn through hands-on activity. Upgrades to the room’s floorplan will increase safety and create clear interactive spaces. Included in the new activities will be: a soft-play area for babies and toddlers, a fossil themed dig and activity center, discovery drawers that feature various habitats around the United States, and an anthropology station where visitors can learn about other languages and people.
The Midwest Museum of Natural History anticipates the reopening of the Discovery Den in early 2017.