The Great River Children’s Museum Board and Facilities Committee was invited to tour the Science Museum of Minnesota on March 6th. They were able to go behind the scenes to learn about exhibit design and fabrication. The group was impressed by the size and scope of the work done by the 27 person staff who build exhibits for museums around the world. Each exhibit is custom designed and built for a particular museum with their unique community in mind. There are infinite possibilities for what could be done. The tour sparked the imagination of all who attended. The biggest takeaway for Buddy King was that it takes between six months and two years to bring an idea from development to display in the museum. This gave everyone a sense of the timeline for planning the remodel and exhibit spaces. The group left feeling very excited about the future of the Great River Children’s Museum.
The first installment of our video tour of the building is on YouTube. Monica Segura-Schwartz and Glen Palm walk through the banking section of the building, give a little history, and share their dreams for the future. Our building is really three separate buildings, so it takes quite a while to tour the whole thing. We look forward showing you a little more in future segments and introducing you to more of the board members. Stay tuned!
The Great River Children’s Museum Board of Directors has had an extremely busy month. From board development to moving day, it has been several weeks of milestone events. You can learn more about our board members here.
Nov. 17 – The board attended a retreat facilitated by Linda Holliday and Kathy Gaalswyk of Impact Minnesota. During the retreat they were able to learn about board member roles, review bylaws, define their mission and values, and form committees. The committees are working groups including community engagement, fund development, finance, facilities and personnel. There will be a follow-up retreat coming early next year.
Nov. 28 – Mark Bragelman, Robin Gohman and other representatives from Liberty Bank brought our group on a tour of the Great River Children’s Museum’s soon-to-be home. Museum planners Jeanne Vergeront and Jim Roe met with the board and planning group to share their ideas about how the building could be used to bring community members inside to join in the museum planning process and play together. It was exciting to dream about using this new space.
Dec. 4 – Closing day! Board members Glen Palm, Greg Reigstad and Becky Coborn were present for the signing of the documents and the handing over of the codes and keys.
Since that day, it has been fun exploring the building, discovering which key fits in which lock and which code opens which door. There has also been the work of moving in, with furniture that was donated by Coborn’s, Inc. Thanks to a Thrivent Action Team, we were able to purchase paper products and other supplies needed to host our volunteer board and committees for work in our new space. After a tour with the fire marshall, the facilities committee has a list of initial work that needs to take place in the building in order to safely host family friendly events.
Dec. 10 – The Great River Children’s Museum Board of Directors held its first meeting in the new location. The results of the board retreat were voted on and made official. The board has grown over the past six months from three voting members to fourteen. Solidifying the foundational documents and board structure has been a major focus of the board’s most recent time together.
Dan Miller, Mark Bragelman and Robin Gohman of Liberty Bank Minnesota are a few of the people we need to give special recognition. They have made a huge contribution to this organization and the community through the donation of the $1.4 million downtown Liberty Bank building to the Great River Children’s Exploratorium. We are honored and thrilled to be given this gift. We pledge to use our passion and expertise, along with the involvement of the community, to transform this space into one of play, exploration and learning.
Dan Miller and Becky Coborn started it all with a simple conversation. Becky had been working with GRCE in our location search. Dan Miller, as Chairman of the Board for Liberty Bank Minnesota, was in the process of building a new bank headquarters on 2nd Street South. Liberty Bank wanted to make their previous location a gift to St. Cloud and to downtown. A children’s museum was the perfect fit!
Mark Bragelman, President of Liberty Bank, has been very supportive throughout the process. With his expertise and 43 years of service at the downtown location, he has been a great resource and support. “This is where we live,” he said of the philanthropy of the individuals and the organization as he addressed the St. Cloud City Council. The children’s museum will be “something this community can be really proud of.”
Robin Gohman is currently the manager of the downtown bank. She has been extremely welcoming to our team as we have been on multiple tours of the building. We are thankful to her for her hospitality as we explore the ins and outs of our future home, while she is still operating the bank which will remain open until November.
We cannot say enough how grateful we are to be gifted this building. Our planning group was immediately struck by how well the Liberty Bank building fit our criteria: size, location, operating costs, and more. The building is in excellent shape and there is a lot of potential. As the community continues to share its resources, creativity and hard work, we will have fun together developing the space into a children’s museum.