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Innovation Gateway
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Innovation Gateway

A State-of-the-Art Welcome Center and Digital Exhibition Space

The Innovation Gateway is a 3,200 square foot state-of-the-art welcome center located off of Aurora Avenue between the Pre-Emption House and the Chapel. The Center will host digital and interactive exhibitions that will tell the dynamic history of Naperville’s growth in the 20th and 21st century. The center will improve site accessibility with a new entrance, featuring a circle drop-off and reconfigured landscaping, sidewalks and pathways for a more pedestrian-friendly and accessible campus.

Naper Settlement welcomes more than 340,000 annual visitors, including over 35,000 school children from 112 area school districts. A key learning objective when designing the center is to deepen the visitors’ understanding of the contributions that Chicago’s Western Suburbs have made, and offer a place to discuss topics of contemporary interest. The exhibits will focus on relevant topics such as corporate growth and responsibility, community development, demographic change and how the technical corridor helped to shape area school systems.

The center’s exhibition space will have an interactive, digital wall that will be a repository for stories, files, photos and archive which will allow visitors to upload their own story through a crowd-sourced mechanism for public and self-curated experiences, to share how they have made their own mark in history. The digital wall will tell important community narratives, such as the impact the I-88 high-tech corridor had on our communities, state and nation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What will the Innovation Gateway add to the community and downtown area?
A: One of the center’s project objectives is to establish a cultural connection to Naperville’s dynamic downtown and serves as a direct and indirect economic engine for the vibrancy of our city - advancing tourism, street-life and city beautification efforts. The center will also have an indoor gathering space available for events and social gatherings, as well as feature a dynamic educational space for our more than 35,000 school children, changing digital exhibits and content-driven programming. The new visitor center will be an investment in education and cultural tourism.
Q: When will the Innovation Gateway be completed?
A: Pending fundraising, the Naperville Heritage Society hopes to break ground in 2018 and open the new welcome center later in 2019, in celebration of the NHS’s 50th anniversary.

Q: How much does the Innovation Gateway cost?
A: The budget for the Heritage Gateway is $3.7 million. The Naperville Heritage Society, administrator of Naper Settlement, has recently received a generous combined grant award and gifts totaling $1,000,000 in support of the museum’s Heritage Gateway and Innovation Hall. The NHS received a $500,000 grant from the Tellabs Foundation, and gifts totaling $500,000 from Christopher and Christine Birck and The Birck Family Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation.

Q: What can I do to help this project?
A: You can help in a variety of ways! We are looking for donations of all kinds, including financial support, oral histories and artifacts. We are incredibly excited to get this project off the ground and with your help we can make this happen. To donate or to learn more, please email us.

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