Davenport’s Putnam Museum and Science Center is the largest grant recipient Wednesday among $1.2 million in new grants announced by the Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, for 43 local nonprofit organizations.

The Putnam (1717 W. 12th St., Davenport) will receive $140,000 per year over five years to continue a total reimagining of the museum, including a long-planned, ambitious regional history update. Some of the Hubbell-Waterman funds will go to match a $245,000 grant from the national Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for an ongoing community collaboration exploring regional history.

Putnam president/CEO Rachael Mullins spoke this past November about a $245,000 Institute of Museum and Library Services grant (photo by Jonathan Turner).

“The Hubbell-Waterman Foundation grant allows us to look more broadly at the facility and its needs,” Putnam president/CEO Rachael Mullins said Wednesday.

“The gift from Hubbell-Waterman is really seen as an endorsement and celebration of the work that’s underway and anticipates what is next for the Putnam,” she said.

The Hubbell-Waterman Foundation is now administered by the Quad Cities Community Foundation.

Last November, Mullins introduced stakeholders and representatives from partner organizations that span across the Quad Cities, celebrating the IMLS achievement.

The grant — the only such one in the state of Iowa — provides $245,000 for community-based regional history projects, including a significant update to the Putnam’s regional history exhibit, “River, Prairie and People.”

Over multiple years and phases, the Putnam is partnering across the community to assure that the exhibit reflects the modern era, shared experience as Quad Citizens, and the rich cultural diversity of the community.

Partners in this work include Azubuike African American Council for the Arts, Friends of MLK, Inc., LULAC Council 10, the Iowa Women’s Archive of the University of Iowa Libraries, and World Relief Quad Cities.

The Putnam’s $700,000 regional history update is expected to be completed by spring 2023.

The regional history update will cost $700,000 and is expected to be completed in spring 2023, Mullins said Wednesday. The Putnam has raised about half that goal, she said.

“The Hubbell-Waterman grant is so important because it provides us that flexibility and will serve as a catalyst for additional giving,” Mullins said.

The current gift shop at the Putnam and Science Center (photo by Jonathan Turner).

The Putnam also is in the midst of renovating its former gift shop space as a redesign for the Giant Screen Theater annex and Grand Lobby. During COVID, the museum moved its main entrance and store to the V.O. Figge Natural Science Wing. The theater annex entrance is geared for school groups and moviegoers, and the former gift shop will be used for classrooms, educational programming and new offices, Mullins said.

The old store space under renovations this past winter (photo by Jonathan Turner).

That area will also open in 2023, she said. “It’s a really exciting time at the Putnam. The community has supported us in a very challenging time,” Mullins said, noting that 2022 attendance has climbed above pre-pandemic levels, with the return of school groups starting last fall.

“We’re anticipating a really exciting summer,” she said. For more information, visit the Putnam website.