Children's Museum exceeds fundraising goal for new exhibits - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Children's Museum exceeds fundraising goal for new exhibits


Eau Claire (WQOW) - The Children's Museum of Eau Claire is reaching new heights.

The museum has exceeded its goal of raising $500,000 to develop new exhibits on the second floor of its building in downtown Eau Claire.  A challenge grant from the Presto Foundation is a big reason why.  If the museum raised $375,000 by May 27th, it would contribute the remaining $125,000.  The museum reached that goal and kept going, raising an additional $25,000.

There are two new exhibits that will be installed and operational by the end of September.


PRESS RELEASE – July 16, 2013

Children's Museum of Eau Claire receives Presto Foundation matching grant

New exhibits to open this fall

EAU CLAIRE, WI -- Since it opened in 2004, the Children's Museum of Eau Claire had always planned to fill every bit of space in its Barstow Street building in downtown Eau Claire. Thanks to a challenge grant from the Presto Foundation, that plan is fast becoming a reality.

In June the Museum exceeded its $500,000 goal to develop new exhibits in the second floor of the building following the general theme of "Seeing Wisconsin through a Child's Eyes." The Presto Foundation guaranteed the fundraising success by issuing a $125,000 challenge: if the Museum raised $375,000 by May 27, it would contribute the remaining $125,000 needed to complete the exhibits. Not only did the Museum reach that goal, it raised an additional, $25,000 that will be used to further enhance the creative experiences for children and their adults.

"We are grateful to the many generous donors, especially the Presto Foundation, for believing and investing in our vision for the Museum," said James Hanke, president of the Museum Board. "We achieved our goals thanks to the generosity of six floor sponsors who each committed $30,000, with donated labor from the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association and with gifts from more than 300 Museum friends. This level of collaboration and enthusiasm for the role and mission of the Children's Museum in our community is tremendous."

There are two new exhibits, plus an extensive collection of Imagination Playground blocks, that can be made into any configuration. The exhibits include "Farm Life," which features a red barn housing a milk cow and the cab of a combine.  "Under the Wisconsin Sky" includes a fishing area complete with fish native to Wisconsin, Jeep, canvas tent, and mystery log.

Children will be able to plan and enjoy a camping experience in the Wisconsin Northwoods. The exhibits will be installed and operational by the end of September.

"Our second floor exhibits are different from the Bitty City located on the first floor and the Water Works on the lower level, both of which are permanent exhibit areas," says Darcy Way, CMEC executive director. "We wanted the whole second floor to be as flexible as possible, so these exhibits can be moved around, exchanged with other exhibits and added to, which will create a continual sense of change and newness. We also created a large gathering area where visitors, especially field trip groups, can eat lunch or enjoy a snack. We did this in response to the overwhelming feedback from visitors that this was a need."

Way said the Museum board and staff worked for the last three years in envisioning and designing the exhibits. Students from UW-Stout were involved in early concept planning and testing. Last summer Museum board members added their own "sweat equity" by painting the entire second floor. A significant boost to the fundraising resulted from the Celebrity Art Auctions, which were introduced in 2011.

In addition to the challenge grant from the Presto Foundation, the Casper Foundation made a matching gift of $50,000. 

The Children's Museum of Eau Claire is an interactive environment for children and their grown-ups that inspire imagination, discovery, creativity, and the love of learning.


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