The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota exists thanks to the support of generous donors, dozens of businesses, hundreds of families, many wonderful volunteers, and the entire Greater Mankato community. A big thank you goes to everyone who has supported us along the way!
The second year at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota was highly successful, with nearly 100,000 visitors and 2,800 sold memberships. In addition, the Museum offered over 500 Gateway to Play memberships to families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford one. Like most children’s museums, sales from memberships, admissions, and events only cover 50% of the costs of running the Museum.
By donating to the 2018 Annual Campaign, you help provide critical funding necessary for programs, exhibits, and ongoing operation of the Museum. Your support will also help the Children’s Museum continue its Gateway to Play scholarship program that offers free or reduced memberships to children whose families struggle to afford their basic needs.
Here is what a couple of these families shared about the impact the Museum membership has on their families:
“My son was born with a severe heart defect. With such expensive medical costs, we aren’t able to afford many family outings. A membership will not only keep our children active, but also to ensure that they are learning through play.”
“I am a single mom, part-time student, and also work part-time at 2 jobs. My son is 2 and I believe that he could learn so much more while playing and interacting with children his age at the Children’s Museum.”
Please click here to support the Children’s Museum’s 2018 Annual Campaign. Your gift is much appreciated and will have a significant impact.
Newly opened at its fantastic and permanent location in Mankato, the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, features exhibits, activities, and spaces to engage all ages. From the Betsy Tacy-inspired Play Porch to the mind-inspiring attractions of the two-level makers space, and with a towering Mankato Clinic Tree of Forts Climber so tall that it burst through the roof, there’s plenty to do and see — all within a safe, inviting, and comfortable space. Follow this link to browse a gallery of the Museum’s interior and exterior spaces. Courtesy of ISG, photos by Dean Riggott Photography.
Take a peek at the Children’s Museum’s indoor and outdoor galleries by watching the video by True Facade Pictures:
Meet four wonderful local people who will run in the 2018 Mankato Marathon and raise funds for the Children’s Museum! Ways to support the runners are coming soon.
Running and raising funds for the Museum because he loves giving back to the community. He says the Children’s Museum is a hidden gem right here in Mankato.
Running mantra: Just keep running!
Favorite tip or piece of running advice: Set realistic goals, start off slow.
Mike will be participating in the full marathon. Watch Mike’s video here.
Support Mike as he supports the Children’s Museum! Donate here to help him reach his fundraising goal of $1,000!
A place like the Children’s Museum plays a vital role in creating a vibrant, healthy community. Promoting inquiry and imagination in the early stages of a child’s life plants the seeds for later success. I’m an educator at the college level, and the success of my students didn’t start in college. My most successful students had the opportunity to play, imagine, and satisfy their curiosity when they were little kids.
I want people to know the Museum is open to anyone, regardless of income, language, or cultural factors, isolation, ability, or special needs. If you have children, it’s a natural place to bring your kids to play. If you don’t have children on your own, think of a kid you know–a niece, nephew, grandchild, or neighbor and friend’s kid.
Running mantra: Forward motion! It doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow, we’re all making our way to the finish line. As long as I’m moving forward, whether it’s running or walking (or if need be, even crawling!), I’m making progress and I’ll get there.
Favorite tip or piece of running advice: Compete only against yourself. It’s hard to resist comparisons, such as pace, what you’re wearing, body type, etc. Try to let everything else fall away and concentrate on your own feet hitting the pavement, and no one else’s feet.
Rachael will be participating in the full marathon. Watch Rachael’s video here.
Support Rachael as she supports the Children’s Museum. Donate here to help her reach her fundraising goal of $1,000!
The addition of the Children’s Museum in its current place has made that area of Mankato revitalized and a destination for many families and schools. My daughter is almost 10 and still loves it there. I would have loved a place like that when she was a toddler, and I am grateful for the programs it offers to future generations.
The Museum is a great place for kids of all ages; their science programs, art and agricultural displays are so interactive and fun for kids. My daughter and I once created a multimedia galaxy art piece out of velvet and glow-in-the-dark paint that was very cool and taught us both things about space at the same time.
Running mantra: One foot in front of the other. Running is therapeutic for me and it helps me stay centered. I don’t run too fast, I run to make time for myself and my favorite running partners–my girlfriends. I run because I can.
Favorite tip or piece of running advice: I think so many people convince themselves they just aren’t runners. I hear it all the time: I can’t run. Well, you can. You just don’t want to. I know people who really can’t run because of health issues or injuries. Remember, there may come a day when you can’t do something. Why not try it while you’re physically able? Never take your health for granted, as Chris Schull says. My biggest running superpower are my running friends, so get one! They motivate me, meet me at all hours and temperatures to run, talk me through it when I wouldn’t have gone that far without them. I was never a competitive person and you don’t have to be. Just try to make it through a few minutes more each day.
Jennifer will be participating in the half marathon. Watch Jennifer’s video here.
Support Jennifer as she supports the Children’s Museum. Donate here to help her reach her fundraising goal of $1,000!
Kato Engineering, where Kevin works, participated in the Capital Campaign for the Children’s Museum. Kato Engineering is a big proponent of STEAM, and the value it brings to the youth and future workforce in the Greater Mankato Area. The Museum brings enlightened focus to STEAM and agriculture.
I think most people hear the word museum and think art and walking around, viewing it. The Children’s Museum is an inviting place where children can learn and play with exhibits. Having a place like this is a huge asset to our community. People need to visit and see it firsthand, even if they don’t have children or grandchildren.
Running mantra: I use running as a way to get “me” time for clearing out stress and as a general health therapy. It’s just you and the pavement!
Favorite tip or piece of running advice: I have run in multiple full and half marathons and, if there is one key objective, it’s getting to the start line healthy and prepared. You can’t finish if you don’t start.
Kevin will be participating in the half marathon. Watch Kevin’s video here.
2017 Annual Campaign Supporters
Visionary ($20,000 and above)
Lyle and Kay Jacobson
Developer ($10,000 – $19,999)
L & N Andreas Foundation
MEI – Total Elevator Solutions
The Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic, P.A.
Linda and Robert Frost
Jack and Harriet Kent
Melissa Haas-Marks and Bill Marks
Olseth Family Foundation
In Memory of Tom Riley
Kim and Sue Schwickert
Scott and Laura Stevens
Mark & Mary Davis Foundation
Glen A. Taylor Foundation
Jones Page Jacobson Family Foundation
Mindy and Eric Else
MTU Onsite Energy
Old Fashioned Carpentry LLC
In Memory of Ray Thorn
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
Neal and Susan Benson
Lindsey and Jesse Botker
Laura and David Bowman
David Christensen and Jill Evans
City of North Mankato
Chuck and Virginia Danish
Dietz Family Fund
Caroline and Ed Harrington
Wade and Mary Jo Hensel
Larry and Cathy Hesse
Mankato Eagles Aerie 269
Mankato Valley Seed
Deb and Kevin Newman
Sue and Robert Olson
Mankato Solstice, Inc.
Schwickert’s, Inc., Tecta America
Southern Minnesota Center for Agriculture
Alyssa Stitt and Garron Williams
Katie and Scott Thompson
Valley News Company
Wealth Enhancement Group
Wendell Lorentz & Sons Construction, Inc.
Friend ($500 – $999)
Barnes & Noble
BLK Electric Inc.
Lonnie and Catherine Bristol
CAB Construction, Inc.
Heather Carlson and Andrew Foster
Endres Window Cleaning, Inc.
Debbie and Curt Fisher
Fisher Group of Mankato, Inc
Ann and Kevin Haggerty
Knights of Columbus Council 5551
Sue and Mark Larsen
Lloyd Lumber Co.
Mankato Downtown Kiwanis Club
Dave and Dawn Naples
Brad and Teresa Pratt
Donald and Stephanie Putzier
Dan and Becky Sarff
Southern Minnesota Orthodontics
Estate of Mary Thompson
Dennis and Karen Wahlstrom
Ginger and Jonathan Zierdt
The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is guided by a vision to ensure all children and families have access to hands-on learning and irresistible fun at the Museum, regardless of income, language or cultural factors, isolation, ability, or special needs. Through the Gateway to Play access initiative, the Museum provides several ways for families, organizations, and early learning and school groups to enter into Museum exhibits, activities, and fun for free, or at greatly reduced rates.
These opportunities include:
Schools and early learning groups may request half-price group visit admission fee when 50% or more children experience access barriers.
For more information, please contact Sue Larsen, Community Outreach and Impact Director. Phone: 507.344.9101.
Play. Inspire. Volunteer.
Volunteers are an important part of our team at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota. We welcome individuals and groups, age 16 and older, who appreciate the power of play and enjoy interacting with children and families. There are ongoing and special volunteer opportunities, with scheduling options to fit your personal lifestyle.
Prefer to serve behind the scenes? Join our sewing team, help us maintain our beautiful gardens, work side by side with our fabrication staff as we build and repair exhibits. The possibilities are endless.
The Children’s Museum is a fun place for groups to volunteer together, and we offer internship and service learning opportunities.
Stop in for a tour and to visit with our staff!
For more information about volunteering contact Brenda Allen, Visitor Experience Director. Phone: 507.344.9108.
The volunteer application can be downloaded here.
Thanks to the support of businesses and families in our area, the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota raised over $4.8 million dollars in its capital campaign. These contributions have helped to make the Children’s Museum one of the most visited museums in greater Minnesota. The Children’s Museum would not be here without the support of the community.
Lyle & Kay Jacobson
Founders: $500,000 – $999,999
Dotson Family Fund of the Mankato Area Foundation
Jordan Sands & Capstone: Members of the Coughlan Family of Companies
Mankato Clinic / Mankato Foundation
MN Legacy Fund / Minnesota Humanities Center
Innovators: $250,000 – $499,999
Kato Engineering / Emerson
Page, Jones, Richards Family Foundation
Pioneers: $100,000 – $249,999
AgStar Financial Services
City of Mankato
David Christensen & Jill Evans
L&N Andreas Foundation
Mayo Clinic Health System
Minnesota Corn Growers Association
Otto Bremer Foundation
Ridley Inc. / Hubbard Feeds
Rotary Club of Greater Mankato
Creators: $50,000 – $99,999
BLK Electric, Inc.
Jones Metal Products
Bill & Melissa Marks
Tami & Bryan Paulsen
Laura & Scott Stevens
Builders: $25,000 – $49,999
Cherry Creek Cabinetworks
Chuck & Virginia Danish
MN Legacy Fund / Minnesota Historical Society
The Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic, P.A.
MN Legacy Fund / Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Center
United Prairie Bank
Dreammakers: $10,000 – $24,999
A+ Systems Group / Jeff & Jennifer Domas Family
Abdo, Eick & Meyers, LLP
Blazing Star Gardens
CAB Construction and Manufacturing, Inc.
City of North Mankato
Crystal Valley Coop
Frandsen Bank & Trust
Linda & Robert Frost
Gislason & Hunter LLP
David & Darlene Janovy
Jones, Page, Jacobson Family Foundation
Jack & Harriet Kent
Madison East Center
MEI Total Elevator Solutions
Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association
Old Fashioned Carpentry
Dr. E. Dale & Jean Peterson
Pub 500 / Happy Chef Systems, Inc.
David & Kristee Richards
River Hills Mall
Schmidt Family Foundation
South Central College / Southern Minnesota Center for Agriculture
Southern Minnesota Construction
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
Southwest Agri-Plastics, Inc.
William D. Radichel Foundation
Chuck & Rosie Wingert
Playmakers: $5,000 – $9,999
BENCO Electric Coop.
Blethen, Gage & Krause, PLLP
Dotson Company, Inc.
Eide Bailly, LLP
Elkay Wood Products
Evenson Concrete Systems
Kaaren & Joe Grabianowski
Wade & Mary Jo Hensel
Darcy & David Hermel
Lisa & Corey Keyes
Robert & Edith Lovig
Midwest Electric Products, Inc.
Peter D. Olson
Thomas & Corrine Riley
Kyle & Abbie Smith
Sarah & Ethan Steinbach
Traverse de Sioux Library
University of Minnesota / MAELC
Valley News Company
Karen & Denny Wahlstrom
Developers: $2,500 – $4,999
All American Foods
Blinds & More
Laura & David Bowman
Mike & Cathy Brennan
Randy & Jean Farrow
Brenda & Joe Flannery
The Home Depot Foundation
Horizon Milling / Cargill, Inc.
James R. Weir Insurance Agency
Lee & April Johnson
Lego Children’s Fund
The Mayo Foundation
Olseth Family Foundation
Robert Charles Danish Memorial Fund
Charles & Beth Serrill
Phil & Margie Slingsby
Katie & Joseph Smentek
Mark & Rhonda Taylor
Explorers: $1,000 – $2,499
7 Systems, LLC
American Legion Auxiliary Unit II
Barnes & Noble
Neal & Susan Benson
Blue Earth County Corn & Soybean Growers Association, Inc.
C & S Supply
The Clark Family Fund
Community Charities of Minnesota
Matthew Chmielewski & Tami Miller Chmielewski
The Design Element
Joe & Trisha Duncan
Elite Portrait Design
Erbert & Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop
Forrest G. James #589 Marine Corps League
Friesen’s Family Bakery and Bistro
Frost-Friesen Family: Natasha, Tony, Spencer & Julian
Nitara Frost & Tabatha Trahan and children
Caroline & Ed Harrington
Larry & Cathy Hesse
In Memory of Faye Norton
In Memory of Ilene Williams
Kanyusik Family Fund, John & Carolyn
Chuck & Alene Kind
Kiwanis Club of Mankato Downtown
Lake Washington Improvement Association
Leonard, Street & Deinard
Colleen & Bruce Miller
Minnesota Valley Federal Credit Union
Naomi & Chris Mortensen
Dwaine & Carole Petersen
Brad & Teresa Pratt
Donald & Stephanie Putzier
Audrey & Vern Radel
Jennie & Matt Schindle
David & Michelle Schooff
Jane & Dave Schostag
James & Betty Sohler
Simon Brick & Stone Co.
Karen Wright & Jeff Pribyl
Have you seen a selection of handcrafted nutcrackers, beautiful wooden trucks, or T-shirts and baby onesies that are sold in the Museum Gift Shop? We now offer locally handcrafted items made by our irreplaceable volunteer sewing group. Choose from a variety of child and youth-sized aprons, tag lovey blankets, bird and butterfly wings, guitars, and more. Wonderful, handmade, and local! Right here at the Children’s Museum and now on display in a handcrafted display case in the Lobby!
Stop by our front desk to browse our wonderful selection!