ST. GEORGE – The City of St. George donated a location for the St. George Children’s Museum, but museum supporters need the community’s help to get started.
The vision for the museum is that of a discovery and learning place for children. It will include things pertaining to simple science learning, involving gravity, wind, tornadoes, and more.
The museum will also feature rooms or sections sponsored by particular businesses spotlighting things related to their business that are relevant to children. Presently, the founders have a local dentist and a local bank that have showed interest in sponsoring sections.
According to the Saint George Children’s Museum Blogspot:
“• A Children’s Museum is NOT a place where art made by children is on display behind glass.
“• A Children’s Museum is NOT a place to bring your child to look at (but not touch) the displays.
“• In its simplest form a Children’s Museum IS a place where a family can go to discover, learn, create, grow, and play… a place with interactive displays that you are encouraged to touch and explore.
“• Children’s Museums have large and small motor activities (building, art, playing musical instruments) as well as role play areas (grocery stores, farms) all geared toward the size of a child.”
Businesses sponsoring a section will be acknowledged on the wall of museum supporters at the museum, as will every person or organization that donates to its worthy cause.
The City of St. George donated the bottom floor of the old Fifth District Court Building, 170 E. 200 N., in 2011. “This donation was a step forward in the progress of the St. George Children’s Museum that has been in the making for almost a decade now,” said Gail Bunker, chair of the museum board.
Even though the museum now has a place to call home, funds, volunteers and means are still needed to get the museum off the ground.
“I got involved five years ago … now we need to be able to retrofit [the building] for a children’s museum and we are off and running,” Bunker said.
The biggest hurdle is raising enough funds to change the donated location to fit the needs of the museum. The bottom floor of the old court house is still in the same condition as it has been for years – jail cells, concrete floors and little lighting. Bunker said the rebuild projection will cost upwards of $500,000.
“All the rooms need to be taken down,” Bunker said. “We need an architect to help us do that. There is quite a bit to do.”
Museum officials seek out volunteers who want to get involved in lifting the museum off the ground. To do so the museum board members are hosting a “recruiting friends for the museum” meeting on March 30 at 5:30 p.m. The event will be held in the Social Hall located at 212 N. Main St.
All members of the community are invited to attend – those with ideas, time, resources, and an interest in getting the museum started.
“We are looking for others that know of more foundations and grants that we could apply for and ways and means to get more money into the bank,” Bunker said.
The organization recently received its nonprofit organization approval.
“I just really want to see this happen,” Bunker said. “I think St. George needs it.”
For further information call Gail Bunker at 435-632-5212 or send donations to 350 W. 2500 S. Washington, UT 84780. To follow progress of the museum, subscribe to the St. George Children’s Museum’s facebook and join in its blog.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.