Ignite Society Member Spotlight

Lisa Keyes

For Lisa Keyes, the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is a place to honor and remember her beloved mother, Darlene Janovy.

Lisa is a proud member of the Ignite Society all the way from North Carolina. She grew up in Mankato where her father was a professor at MSU and her mother, a beloved early childhood and elementary teacher and principal.

“My mom had so many connections to children in the Mankato area. We couldn’t go anywhere without someone recognizing her.  She had so many young children and adults that she mentored over the years,” Lisa said.

Lisa said she became involved with the Museum right when it was being built in 2015, the same year her mom passed away.

“She was so excited for the Museum to be built. She loved reading. We even held her memorial service at the Museum with a jazz trio and people got to explore the Museum. She would have loved it.”

Today, you will find a plaque in memory of Darlene in the reading nook.

“I think she would hope that the children would take away a love of books and reading and the gift of imagination.”

For Lisa, continuing that love of reading and enjoyment for kids in the Mankato area is a gift that she wants to pass on to the next generation.

“When I was growing up in Mankato you only got to see that experience of the museum if you went to Chicago or Minneapolis. I want kids in Mankato to receive that and have that exposure and experience.”

So whether it is continuing her mother’s legacy for the love of learning or paying it forward through the passion of play, Lisa Keyes is making a difference in the lives of many as a key contributor of the Ignite Society.