Support the Museum

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!

  • 2017 Annual Campaign

    The first year at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota was highly successful, with over 100,000 visitors and 2,800 sold memberships. In addition, the Museum offered over 300 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 2017 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 2017 Annual Campaign.  Your gift is much appreciated and will have a significant impact.

  • Memorials

    The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is saddened by the loss of Tom Riley. Tom was a pillar of our community, and his dedication to the Museum was invaluable. He will be greatly missed. If you would like to make a donation in honor of Tom, please follow this link and put Tom’s name in the comments.

  • See What You’re Supporting
    Panoramic

    Newly opened at its fantastic and permanent location in Mankato, the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota 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:

  • Legacy Funding

    Representatives from the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota have been splitting their time between Mankato and St. Paul this spring as they work with legislators to plan funding requests from the State of Minnesota.

    One of the requests is from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, which receives 19.75 percent of the sales tax revenue resulting from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy amendment, to support arts, arts education, and arts access, and to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage. The Museum has received Legacy Funding from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund since 2012. The Museum applies for funding from this fund every two years.

    In 2016, the Museum was awarded $300,000 to be used over a two-year period, as well as an additional $100,000, to replace things that were lost in the flood in June of 2015. For the fiscal year 2018-2019, the Museum is requesting $400,000 to cover the expansion of school group programming, exhibit development, and further development of Museum à la Carte, which will allow the Museum to be brought on the road, and more.

    The Museum is also looking for an additional $200,000 from the Legacy Committee, to partially fund Mni Wiconi, a sensory water play exhibit based on Dakota values around water.

    Lastly, the Museum is requesting $100,000 from the Education Finance Committee, to expand our Access (scholarship) program for children and families who experience barriers to Museum participation.

    Funding from the State of Minnesota makes a big impact on the success of the Museum and greatly impacts our ability to serve children and their families in our region.

  • Gateway to Play

    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:

    • Free Family Fun Nights
    • Free or reduced family admission fees and Museum memberships
    • Scholarships to participate in Museum programming

    Schools and early learning groups may request half-price group visit admission fee when 50% or more children experience access barriers.

    To apply for a Gateway to Play Museum membership, download this form.

    For more information, please contact Sue Larsen, Community Outreach and Impact Director. Phone: 507.344.9101.

  • Volunteers

    Volunteering at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is an extraordinary way to give back to your community and engage children with the power of play. We have unique opportunities for volunteers to support the Museum by assisting visitors in hands-on exhibits or by helping with behind-the-scenes activities. Volunteers help the Museum fulfill its mission by sparking a lifelong love of learning in our children and in our community.

    In general, volunteer opportunities are:

    Playworker. Volunteer during Museum open hours to assist with programming and exhibits. Assist and/or facilitate Toddler Wednesdays, STEaM Saturdays, birthday parties, group visits, and other programming activities during Museum open hours. This includes possible setup or cleanup of programming space and supplies.

    Special projects. Work on an as-needed basis to complete Museum projects as they arise. Projects may include backyard care, exhibit maintenance, sewing, cleaning, office projects, and more.

    Special events. Assist with on-site and off-site community or fundraising events.

    Special content guest. Volunteer your skills in the following areas: STEaM (science, technology, engineering, art, or math), arts and humanities (visual or performing arts, music, creative writing, poetry, history), fabricating and manufacturing, agriculture, wellness (nutrition, gardening, yoga, fitness, meditation), Dakota content, and more. These programs or presentations will be developed in cooperation with Museum staff to design experiences reflecting the guest’s skillset and expertise.

    All volunteers are required to complete an application ad participate in Museum training. Most positions require clearance on a criminal background check. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age or be accompanied by an adult guardian.

     

    Current Volunteer Opportunity: Exhibit Fabrication Volunteer

     The exhibits team is seeking volunteers to work directly with the fabrication staff for the purpose of maintaining exhibits at the Museum.

    Skills:

    • Ability to use power tools safely
    • Ability to problem solve well
    • Ability to take direction from the Fabrication Staff and Education/Exhibits Director
    • General carpentry skills required
    • General knowledge of prop/exhibit/building repair required

    This volunteer opportunity would take place on Mondays between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

    Examples of projects include: fixing wall dings including putty, sanding, and painting, sanding and applying poly to exhibit projects, maintaining exhibit props throughout the gallery such as repairs on small farm structures from the Little Hands Farm, repainting large foam blocks from the Quarry, and more.

    Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, any time between 9 am and 4 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 am – 2 pm, Fridays, noon until 5 pm.

    Playworker Volunteer

    Volunteer onsite during Museum open hours and assist staff in the galleries and with programs. Engage visitors and help with setup and cleanup.

    Please contact Dana Sikkila for more information or to apply for this position. Download the volunteer application here.

     

    For more information about volunteering at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, contact Dana Sikkila. Phone: 507.344.9108

  • Capital Campaign

    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.

  • Capital Campaign Supporters

    Visionaries: $1,000,000+
    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
    Schwickert Family

    Creators: $50,000 – $99,999
    BLK Electric, Inc.
    Consolidated Communications
    ISG
    Jones Metal Products
    Mardag Foundation
    Bill & Melissa Marks
    Minnesota Soybean
    Tami & Bryan Paulsen
    Scheels
    Laura & Scott Stevens

    Builders: $25,000 – $49,999
    Cherry Creek Cabinetworks
    Chuck & Virginia Danish
    Deichman Construction
    Linder Enterprises
    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
    D&K Powdercoating
    DuPont Pioneer
    Frandsen Bank & Trust
    Linda & Robert Frost
    Gislason & Hunter LLP
    David & Darlene Janovy
    Jones, Page, Jacobson Family Foundation
    Jack & Harriet Kent
    Lloyd Lumber
    Madison East Center
    MEI Total Elevator Solutions
    Kathy Michaelson
    Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association
    MinnStar Bank
    Monsanto Fund
    Old Fashioned Carpentry
    Dr. E. Dale & Jean Peterson
    Pub 500 / Happy Chef Systems, Inc.
    David & Kristee Richards
    Marcia 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.
    Unimin, Corp.
    US Bank
    Wells Concrete
    William D. Radichel Foundation
    Chuck & Rosie Wingert

    Playmakers: $5,000 – $9,999
    BENCO Electric Coop.
    Blethen, Gage & Krause, PLLP
    Connectors, Inc.
    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
    Midstates Mechanical
    Midwest Electric Products, Inc.
    Peter D. Olson
    Thomas & Corrine Riley
    Dan Sarff
    Kyle & Abbie Smith
    Sarah & Ethan Steinbach
    Traverse de Sioux Library
    University of Minnesota / MAELC
    Valley News Company
    Karen & Denny Wahlstrom
    Pam Willard

    Developers: $2,500 – $4,999
    All American Foods
    Blinds & More
    Laura & David Bowman
    Mike & Cathy Brennan
    Cargill, Inc.
    Case IH
    Jamie D’Angelo
    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
    Maxi-Lift
    The Mayo Foundation
    Olseth Family Foundation
    Robert Charles Danish Memorial Fund
    Charles & Beth Serrill
    Ellen Schofield
    Phil & Margie Slingsby
    Katie & Joseph Smentek
    Mark & Rhonda Taylor
    Voyager Bank

    Explorers: $1,000 – $2,499
    7 Systems, LLC
    American Legion Auxiliary Unit II
    Anna Anderson
    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
    Envision
    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
    Marilyn Hart
    Larry & Cathy Hesse
    In Memory of Faye Norton
    In Memory of Ilene Williams
    Jersey Mike’s
    Kanyusik Family Fund, John & Carolyn
    Chuck & Alene Kind
    Kiwanis Club of Mankato Downtown
    Kwik Trip
    Lake Washington Improvement Association
    Barb Leisz
    Leonard, Street & Deinard
    Mankato Landshapes
    Colleen & Bruce Miller
    Liz Miller
    Minnesota Valley Federal Credit Union
    Naomi & Chris Mortensen
    Dwaine & Carole Petersen
    Katherine Ploog
    Brad & Teresa Pratt
    Pro Fabrication
    Donald & Stephanie Putzier
    Audrey & Vern Radel
    Rasmussen College
    Rickway Carpet
    Elizabeth Sandell
    Jennie & Matt Schindle
    David & Michelle Schooff
    Jane & Dave Schostag
    James & Betty Sohler
    Simon Brick & Stone Co.
    John Wattleworth
    Karen Wright & Jeff Pribyl

  • Museum Merchandise
    IMG_7534

    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!