How do you build a children’s museum? Talk to the big corporations and have them donate a bunch of money? That’s part of it. Get grants? Easier said than done, but that’s another part of it. Grow a community? Yes! That’s how you build a children’s museum. The community is far and away the key component in getting the doors open.
How, you ask? Well, the three best ways are to share their time, talent and treasure. The time donated by all the volunteers is simply invaluable. We have built our organization this far with the dedication of many volunteers from board members, to committee chairs, volunteer staff and workers at events and clean up days. As we get farther along, these volunteers will become even more important and will help create a lasting effect for the community that is invested in something that will help the area grow.
Talent is the part where the immense diversity of the community really gets to shine. There are so many different aspects to the process… construction tradespeople that know how to renovate a building willing to donate their time, handy every day people that can help or fix things, educators to give input for the exhibits, planners to create profitable events, artists, writers, marketers. You name it, we probably need it. Everyone has talents, hidden or otherwise, that are important to build a community focused museum. One of the most important, though, is the talent for sharing! We need people that want to see us open our doors to share our mission and goals with everyone. Everyone. The more that know, the more will become invested.
The final “T’ is treasure. Money. Yes, it does take a lot of money to build a museum. Every donation counts! Historically, about 60-65% of the money raised by a capital campaign for a children’s museum comes from the community. The small, medium, and large donations of regular people and local small businesses. Not the big corporations. But we don’t just need money, treasure also includes materials. Every time we don’t have to buy a stick of lumber or a piece of conduit, it leaves more money to spend on other things. Sharing our message is an amazing way to help with all of this.