The Naperville Heritage Society and Naper Settlement have received a total of one million dollars in donations from the Tellabs Foundation and the Birck Family.
Recently announced, the funds will go toward a Heritage Gateway and Innovation Hall to be built on the Settlement’s grounds off of Aurora Avenue between the Pre-Emption House and the chapel.
“We now have 350,000 visitors that come every year and we literally have one single door that they can come through. This will provide us to have the ability to have a large welcome center that can really process the people,” said President and CEO of Naper Settlement, Rena Tamayo-Calabrese.
This new state-of-the-art welcome center will also help the Settlement tell Naperville’s history into the 21st century with planned video walls and interactive exhibits.
“Innovation Hall which will house a big digital wall and that digital wall will allow people to view the history of Naperville and hear stories and so forth,” said Christopher Birck, a member of the Naperville Heritage Society Board and also a board member of the Tellabs Foundation. “But will also allow people to upload their own information. If you want to put information as your family into this digital wall it will be there forever.”
Designed by Wight & Company, the center would not interfere with any of the Settlement’s existing buildings and will be able to serve as an event space for visiting school groups.
“We hope to have the building built in the next two years,” said Tamayo-Calabrese. “The Naperville Heritage Society will turn 50 in 2019 and so we thought that this would be a wonderful way for us to celebrate those 50 years.”
Naper Settlement is still fundraising for this project, which is projected to cost just under $4 million. And the Settlement is also still fundraising and working toward a new agricultural interpretive center.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.