Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota wins grant, awaits state funding

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 10:37 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - As the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota awaits state funding from lawmakers, the organization has received different funding to help bring a new exhibit to life.

The museum is getting a $10,000 grant from the Consolidated Communications Community Fund of the Mankato Area Foundation.

The grant will help build a prototype exhibit all centered around teaching the museum’s young audience about the Internet and how it works.

The museum is currently collecting feedback from visitors and community members to help build the baseline for how the exhibit will look.

“Once we get the feedback and our research is done, the process continues with our small team at the museum where we will look at the results and understand the baseline of knowledge that the community has around how the Internet works, how they use the Internet. We will develop a prototype that will then go on the floor for museum visitors to engage with,” said Deb Johnson, Vice President of Museum Operations.

The team will then watch how visitors interact with the exhibit and what they’re learning.

The exhibit team will also be working closely with Consolidated Communications in the development process.

“I think it fits in with the children museum’s mission, which is to try to help young students learn while they’re having fun. They’re all about play and in doing so helping to teach these young kids about the world around them,” said Sam Gett, Corporate Communications Manager with Consolidated Communications.

But as the museum takes in the new funding, they still waiting on funding on two items from the state legislature.

The first item would help provide discounted rates to school groups.

The second item would provide about $50,000 with the aim of giving people who experience barriers to participation free or discounted access to the museum.

Rep. Luke Frederick (DFL, Mankato), the bills’ author, said he’s optimistic the items will pass.

“I think it’s a great asset regionally. I don’t even mean for the Mankato, St. Peter, Eagle Lake area. I mean all of southern Minnesota, even people from northern Iowa are coming to Mankato just to go to the children’s museum because it’s just that cool. And so, I think that anything I can do to be able to support them, to be able to keep them operating, I want to help with that,” he said.

The museum hopes the prototype exhibit will appear at the museum this summer.

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