Duluth Childrens Museum announces move to new, temporary home
March 27, 2012
Just as children need a positive environment in order to grow and be healthy, so does the Duluth Children's Museum. The Museum will be moving into a new and larger, temporary home in the Clyde Park complex on 29th Avenue West. The Museum expects to open in the new location by no later than May 29, 2012.
The Children's Museum has been a tenant of the Depot since 1977. In recent years, the Museum has experienced substantial growth in membership and visitors. Recognizing its need for more space in order to serve its 9,000 members, the Museum launched a capital campaign. That fundraising effort continues, however it has become apparent the Museum needs more space now in order to sustain operations.
"This move is just phase one, and it's an exciting opportunity for the Museum and for the children, families and educators that we serve throughout the Northland," said Michael Garcia, Duluth Children's Museum President/CEO. "This transitional space gives us increased exhibit and program space that we need to fulfill our mission of sparking children's curiosity. We are able to relocate at this time for minimal cost. These transition costs and the cost of operating the space will be generated by income we will be able to realize by being in a self-contained space. And it puts us - literally - this much closer to phase two, the permanent home we've been working toward on Helm Street."
The temporary space is in the former Athletic Republic building attached to the Duluth Heritage Sports Arena. It will give the Museum nearly double the public floor space of what was available in the Depot, providing expanded opportunities for creative and educational activities for a wider age range of children. The site is located just around the corner from the building on Helm Street that the Children's Museum purchased and is raising funds to renovate into its permanent home.
"This move to Clyde Park is absolutely necessary for us," said Garcia. "The Children's Museum has been facing the very real possibility of shutting down. We did not have adequate space to serve our visitors. The limited space also jeopardized our developing partnerships with national organizations that are allowing us to expand our programming to include more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) content. In this new location, new revenue centers will be generated that traditionally support children's museums across the nation."
The Children's Museum will continue to use the space at the Depot, but in a different way. Visitors to the Depot will be able to view artifacts from the Children's Museum's extensive collection, many of which have had to be stored off site due to space limitations. Elements of the collection will be displayed in a manner consistent with the exhibits of the Depot's other tenants. This will be done in conjunction with the ongoing collections review process, which is an essential step in preparing the collection for relocation. Ultimately, the artifacts from the collection will be exhibited and used for educational purposes at the permanent, phase two site.
Moving to the temporary location gives Museum supporters time to continue their efforts to raise funds to renovate the former Duluth Brewing and Malting building on Helm Street and provide more innovative programs and learning opportunities.
"This move re-energizes our commitment to raising the funds needed to develop our permanent home," said Garcia. "We are working with several strong community partners and expect to make some exciting announcements soon."Founded in 1930, the Duluth Children's Museum is the fifth oldest children's museum in the country and is a member of both the Association of Children's Museums and the Association of Science Technology Centers, Inc. The Museum is committed to serving all children of our region, providing them a healthy, safe place to use their imagination, explore new ideas, develop social skills and learn through play. For more information about the Duluth Children's Museum, call 218-733-7543 or online at duluthchildrensmuseum.org.