Duluth Children's Museum gets ready to open in new Lincoln Park homePeople were hard at work Sunday, preparing the new Duluth Children’s Museum in Lincoln Park for a Tuesday opening.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
People were hard at work Sunday, preparing the new Duluth Children’s Museum in Lincoln Park for a Tuesday opening.
Children’s Museum worker Anthony Ross mixed sand with corn starch in a wheelbarrow for a dinosaur-dig exhibit, where young visitors will be able to unearth fossils just like archaeologists do. The exhibit also features a life-size cast of a real triceratops skull.
Michael Garcia, president and CEO of the museum, said employees and countless volunteers have been working 18-plus-hour days to put the finishing touches on the building and its exhibits.
“I’m very proud of the board, the community, staff and all the volunteers who have come together to make this happen,” Garcia said. He said the museum appears on track to meet a very ambitious eight-week timeline, and with a modest budget of $50,000. He said several local businesses and people from the trades have provided goods and services free or at greatly reduced cost.
The new museum, at 115 S. 29th Ave. W., boasts 10,000 square feet of floor space, making it more than three times the size of the museum’s other home inside Duluth’s historic railroad depot building. Garcia said the Children’s Museum will continue to occupy both spaces, using the Depot more for displays and the new facility for different types of programming.
Tuesday’s opening will mark Phase I of a more challenging plan.
Phase II involves opening a 28,000-square-foot museum in the former Duluth Brewing and Malting building on neighboring Helm Street. Garcia said that project will involve raising about $5 million, a feat that’s likely to take three years. The Duluth Children’s Museum has about $750,000 of that sum socked away.
“We hope that by opening this Phase I building, people will see our vision and it will ignite their imagination and passion for what’s still ahead,” Garcia said.
Although the Duluth Children’s Museum is the fifth-oldest institution of its kind in the nation, Garcia said it has operated on a shoestring budget for 82 years.
Garcia noted that Duluth recently invested $5.2 million in the new Muriel Whiteside Animal Shelter, and observed: “I think our children are worth at least that much. We’re talking about a lot of money, but when you look at the longitudinal payback, it’s immense. These kids will define our future.
“We want to ensure more children grow up with a sense that ‘I can do anything.’ ”
In addition to inspiring creativity, the children’s museum also is focused on teaching young people about science, technology, engineering and math.
Toward that end, the Duluth museum is one of only six in the nation to receive a nano exhibit developed by the Science Museum of Minnesota to teach youngsters about the world’s tiny building blocks. The new museum also has an exhibit that teaches visitors about the workings of the stock market and the value of saving and investing.
If you go
What: New Duluth Children’s Museum
Where: 115 S. 29th Ave. W.
When: Opens its doors to the public Tuesday. Regular hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday through Saturday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Admission: $6.50 for guests 1 and older. Children younger than 1 and families with memberships are offered free admission.