Over the past several months, the planning group has been having many conversations with museum planners Jeanne Vergeront and Jim Roe and JLG architects to develop creative concepts for how to make the best use of the building. The museum planners have captured and clearly expressed the philosophy of the museum, the goals for various exhibit areas, and targets for future programming. The architects have dug into all the nooks and crannies of the building and created some early drawings based on the museum’s expressed goals. The museum planning group will now put these two products together to come up with one unified presentation to be shared with the community. We are excited to get your feedback and input as we dig deeper into the details of building design, exhibit concepts, and museum programming. The images will also be a big help as we kick off our capital campaign, raising the funds needed to bring these dreams to life.
When Buddy King joined the board in the fall, he came at a crucial time for the organization. We were growing the board, accepting a building donation, and taking on a lot of responsibility. Buddy jumped into the project with both feet and a passion for the mission of creating a children’s museum to serve children and families in Central Minnesota. Buddy has served as the director of the Roosevelt Boys and Girls Club. While in this position, he enjoyed supporting kids in the community, creating engaging programs, and empowering staff and community members to positively influence youth. Since leaving the Boys and Girls Club in March of this year, Buddy has been able to dedicate more time to the museum and Higher Work Collaborative, a non profit organization that focuses on the needs of disadvantaged or underrepresented populations. Music is another of Buddy’s talents that he is looking forward to sharing with the community at the concert on August 20th. Hopefully you can take advantage of this opportunity to have fun, make music and meet Buddy and his friends!
Community members continue to step up and generously contribute to bringing the museum to life.
Coborn’s Inc. has donated a refrigerator for the museum building. This has been very helpful for the frequent meetings happening at the museum. Cool refreshments are much appreciated by our volunteers.
Creating an opening between two main floor rooms, to make it possible to offer programming for children and families, required some simple remodeling to meet city codes. It proved challenging to find a commercial contractor who could do the work during the busy construction season. Then generous bids came back from community members who were able to complete the construction project. Soon United Way volunteers will help with painting to put the final touches on these rooms.
Many little adjustments needed to be made to bring the building into compliance with fire codes and ADA. One of our volunteers pulled up and leveled the paving stones at the back of the building to bring the rear entrance into ADA compliance as pictured below.
We continue to be grateful for the involvement of community members who are willing to give of their time and energy to bring a children’s museum to the St. Cloud Area. We look forward to using the newly remodeled spaces to learn about putting together quality programming with children and families as well as gathering groups from the community to collect input.
What do you do with a former bank building while you wait for it to be transformed into a children’s museum? Make a documentary about a bankrobber, of course! The building was recently used by a crew of filmmakers to reenact the crimes of the Fishing Hat Bandit. According to the creators of the film:
“The Fishing Hat Bandit (working title) is a feature length documentary about the bank robbery spree of John Whitrock, also known as the Fishing Hat Bandit. Whitrock robbed 23 banks over the course of 18 months before being apprehended in Edina in January 2005. The film will include interviews with Whitrock, several of the bank tellers he victimized, the bank manager who helped catch the bandit, the two FBI lead investigators and others.”
“This film will not just focus on the Fishing Hat Bandit’s crimes, but also on the experiences of the bank tellers he victimized. Often, crime stories sensationalize the crime narrative with little regard for the victims. This film will tell a balanced story that illustrates the resilience of the many bank employees affected and includes a strong restorative justice theme.”
The timing of the project was perfect! The teller stations were still intact and hadn’t been used for museum purposes yet. The board happily agreed to share space with this creative project. It will be fun to see the final product!
In collaboration with the Stearns History Museum, Great River Children’s Museum volunteers will offer the second in a series of family music events. The first featured Jane Ellison and Glen Palm and friends along with the Lullaby Singers who shared lullabies from various cultural backgrounds. It was a beautiful night for an outdoor concert!
On August 20th from 6:00 – 7:00pm at the Stearns History Museum, you can join board member Buddy King and his friends for interactive drumming. It is sure to be fun whether rain or shine!