KEYC - Children's Museum Seeking State Funds To Reach More Children

Children's Museum Seeking State Funds To Reach More Children

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ST. PAUL, Minn. -

The Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota is looking to gain the support of state lawmakers on measures this session.

Since opening at their current location in 2015, the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota has exceeded expectations

Children's Museum Senior Director of Exhibits and Education Deb Johnson said, "We anticipated 40,000 children and families our first year and 100,000 children from across our region came. We've had 69 or 87 counties represented."

Now, the museum is working to make many more memories with the help of state lawmakers to provide public funds.

There are four bills this session that if passed would provide $900,000 to the museum over the next two years.

Johnson said, "It's really important for us to have these funds to provide access to these children, to continue our exhibit development and really provide those experiences we need for children and families."

This afternoon, three of those bills went before the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance.

Two of the bills, each $200,000, would help create a new exhibit called Mni Wiconi, spotlighting Dakota history and culture and an interactive water exhibit.

Senator Nick Frentz (DFL-Mankato) said, "Learn about clean water, which could hardly be more timely given the challenges that our state is facing, especially in southern Minnesota. So, I think it's a fantastic exhibit and I look forward to seeing it completed soon.

Another bill with $400,000 in funding would help the museum reach more children.

Johnson said, "With our new program called museum al a carte and this funding would help us provide to get out to the region and get to families that don't have access to the museum, so to drop into a trailer park, get to a county fair."

The bill are authored by Senator Frentz in the Senate and Representative Clark Johnson in the House. 

The hope is the bills will be included in the omnibus Legacy Finance Bill.

The committee also heard from the City of St. Peter, testifying for a bill with $450,000 in funding to reconstruct the pavilion in Minnesota Square Park.

--KEYC News 12