The Amazeum Accepts $25,000 Donation for Handicap Lift

December 12, 2013

Thanks to a donation from The Miller McNeil Woodruff Foundation, a featured display inside the Amazeum, a planned interactive family museum to be located near Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, will be more accessible to children with disabilities.

Representatives from The Miller McNeil Woodruff Foundation presented a $25,000 check to leadership of the Amazeum during a ceremony at the Amazeum Preview Center. 

The funds will be used to install the lift that allows disabled children access to a former Walmart semi-truck, which will be placed inside the museum and contain multiple activities for children to experience while inside the vehicle.

"This will allow all children to participate in this display," said Meredith Woodruff, who started the foundation in 2011 with her husband, Patrick, following the death of their infant son. Miller McNeil Woodruff lived for 87 days before his life was cut short by Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

"Our goal for the Amazeum is to make it a fun, positive and educational experience for everyone, so having this lift to give access to this display is highly appreciated," said Sam Dean, executive director of the Amazeum. "This is a major contribution to the mission of the Amazeum."

The Miller McNeil Woodruff Foundation traditionally makes contributions toward Arkansas Children's Hospital and causes that benefit families dealing with SMA. But according to Woodruff, her husband learned about the Amazeum in its early stages and they were both excited to support it in a meaningful way.

The lift will include a special plaque that acknowledges the Foundation. The donation was made in memory of Taylor McKeen Shelton, another Arkansas child who passed away in June from  SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Children). Meredith tells us, "After Taylor's passing, his parents chose to have memorial donations made to The Miller McNeil Woodruff Foundation. The donations we received in Taylor's memory were overwhelming so we wanted to do something special to honor him.  This seemed like the perfect fit."  The Woodruffs have become very close friends with Wes and Ella Shelton due to the similar circumstances that both families endured.

Woodruff is hoping the lift and the plaque help raise awareness about SMA, SUDC, neuromuscular diseases in general and support for all children with disabilities.

About the Amazeum

The Amazeum will feature 44,500 square feet of exhibit, meeting and learning spaces inside the museum and bring learning to life and enhance family involvement, while evoking a sense of curiosity and discovery through hands-on activities. Interactive exhibits will engage visitors with the land, industries and people that built the Arkansas culture and sustain it today. Exhibitions include the Tinkering Studio, water area, climbable tree canopy and an exploratory wet lab.

In addition, approximately one acre of outdoor space will accommodate year-round learning and provide a backdrop for experiments and experiences inspired by the seasons. The facility will also include a venue for businesses and organizations to host gatherings, productions and special events.

For more information about the Amazeum and to learn about donor opportunities, contact Holly Hook at or visit

About The Miller McNeil Woodruff Foundation

The Miller McNeil Woodruff Foundation was founded in August 2011 with the goal of raising awareness, funding research and offering support to other families who are faced with the challenge of SMA. Patrick and Meredith Woodruff began the foundation in honor of their son, Miller McNeil Woodruff, who was born on March 28, 2011, and lived for 87 days before his life was cut short by SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy).

SMA is the No. 1 genetic killer of children under the age of two. It is a group of inherited and often fatal diseases that destroy the nerves controlling voluntary muscular movement, which affects crawling, walking, and neck control and even swallowing. One in 40 people carry the gene that causes SMA.

For more information, please visit