The new Children’s Museum of Green Bay completed construction of the facility in June of 2012. On time and on budget, the museum has quickly become a highlight, and is a must‐see destination for visitors from all over Northeast Wisconsin. The project blended nationally recognized children’s exhibit specialists, local agencies and fabricators for a high quality hands on museum experience.
Visits and memberships are tracking to exceed original projections, with 70,000 visits and 1,400 members to date. These attendance figures are typical for substantially larger museums. On Saturdays and summer weekdays the new museum often reaches capacity. The museum has also experienced great media exposure for its supporters with almost daily recognition. Highlights included Midwest Magazine citation as a Top 10 New Destination in the Midwest and a most recent Best of the Bay recognition.
The museum has held strong on its mission to serve the needs and interests of children by providing exhibits and programs that stimulate curiosity and motivate learning. Programming has quickly become a driving force for attendance with many proven and popular programs. Examples include Building Literacy with LEGOS, Science Saturdays, Recycled Art Studio and Wee One Hour (literacy based) All programming and exhibits are closely aligned to Wisconsin State Standards and Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS).
The new museum also offers educational community events. It held its First Annual Kids Food event. The museum partnered with Live54218, YMCA and WIC and provided low-income families the opportunity to sample and learn about healthy food choices, along with community sponsors promoting healthy lifestyle choices. The event attracted 400 visitors and sold out in 3 days.
As a community-funded and visitor supported facility the new museum relies on memberships and daily attendance to sustain itself. We also offer our Children of Promise program: a reduced admission program for qualifying families. To date, 6,800 low-income children and families have participated.
After our first year of operation, the new museum has shown that it will have a positive cash flow. Having $611,000 in revenues and $550,000 in expenses.
On the Capital Campaign front the museum has so far achieved $3.4M of a needed $4.5M. The museum plans to complete this campaign allowing the elimination of interest charges and lease expenses, saving over $26,000 monthly, thereby allowing cash flows to support continuous improvement through new programs, exhibit upkeep and replacement.
“Play is the way that children learn what no one can teach them. It is the way they explore and orient themselves to the actual world of space and time, of things, animals, structures and people. Play is the child’s work.” – JK Franks