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 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Volunteer onsite during Museum open hours and assist staff in the galleries and with programs. Engage visitors and help with setup and cleanup.
For more information about volunteering at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, contact Dana Sikkila. Phone: 507.344.9108
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!