Access, Engagement and Experience Development – Strengthening the Core of the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$147,000
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Recipient
Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
Status
Completed
Start Date
July 2015
End Date
June 2016
Activity Type
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Counties Affected
Anoka
Benton
Big Stone
Blue Earth
Brown
Carlton
Carver
Chippewa
Chisago
Clearwater
Cottonwood
Crow Wing
Dakota
Douglas
Faribault
Fillmore
Freeborn
Goodhue
Hennepin
Houston
Hubbard
Jackson
Kandiyohi
Lac qui Parle
Le Sueur
Lyon
Martin
McLeod
Meeker
Mille Lacs
Morrison
Mower
Murray
Nicollet
Nobles
Norman
Olmsted
Otter Tail
Pennington
Pine
Pipestone
Pope
Ramsey
Redwood
Renville
Rice
Rock
Scott
Sherburne
Sibley
St. Louis
Steele
Swift
Todd
Wadena
Waseca
Washington
Watonwan
Winona
Wright
Yellow Medicine
Legal Citation / Subdivision
2015 Minn. Laws, Chap. 2 Art. 4 Sec. 2 Subd. 8
Appropriation Language

$950,000 each year is for arts and cultural heritage grants to children's museums.Of this amount, $500,000 each year is for the Minnesota Children's Museum, including the Minnesota Children's Museum in Rochester; $150,000 each year is for the Duluth Children's Museum; $150,000 each year is for the Grand Rapids Children's Museum; and $150,000 each year is for the Southern Minnesota Children's Museum.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$147,000
Direct expenses
$147,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
2
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

1. CMSM WILL EXPERIENCE INCREASED CAPACITY to promote MN arts and cultural heritage through:a. Remediation and extended development of exhibits designed to provide interactive experiences related to MN arts and cultural heritage.b. Identifying arts and cultural heritage features interwoven into multiple facets of the Museum environment; Developing curricula based upon these features that will be implemented with school/early learning group visitors.2. 150 SCHOOL/EARLY LEARNING GROUPS from across Minnesota will increase awareness about MN arts and cultural heritage through exploration of Museum exhibits and engagement in hands-on activities during field trip visits.3. 5,000 “ACCESS” VISITORS (representing audiences that experience barriers to participation due to limited income, language/cultural factors, isolation, ability/special needs) will increase awareness about MN arts and cultural heritage through exploration of Museum exhibits and engagement in hands-on activities.

Measurable Outcome(s)

The most significant exhibit remediation/development taking place as a result of this funding included refinement of the Farmyard/Back 40 – including installation of signage, concrete, outdoor electrical hook-up, as well as overall landscaping and the addition of an animal shade awning (yet to be installed). Initial development/piloting of an augmented reality sandbox, sound abatement remediation in the loft for more successful school group learning, and smaller-scale exhibit development/remediation efforts across other Museum galleries resulted in significant enhancements to the visitor experience (please refer to photo documentation). Museum staff across all departments engaged in a process to inventory Museum A&CH features during a two-part staff education discussion/activity. The results of these efforts were used to develop a Museum Explorer’s Guide designed to inform/engage visitors around the multitude of A&CH features that are embedded throughout the Museum. CMSM staff engaged with faculty/students from Gustavus Adolphus College to develop an evaluation strategy to assess what MN Arts and Cultural Heritage learning looks like for young visitors that engage at the Museum. A Timing & Tracking observational tool was implemented with 73 children visiting the Quarry and Grow It Gallery. Data collected through this tool noted time spent in each gallery by age group as a measure of “exposure” and awareness-learning at the Museum. 153 group visits took place over the course of this project. Group visit feedback was solicited from educators using an on-line post-visit survey tool. Over 6,250 Museum visitors participated in Museum access opportunities. Feedback received from families participating in Museum access events was solicited through written surveys and post-it feedback activities. Visitor feedback indicated high levels of satisfaction with their Museum experience, along with identified learnings on the part of both children and adults.

Recipient Board Members
Brian Benshoof CEO, MRCI Worksource; Neal Benson Manufacturing Operations Consultant, retired from Emerson Electric; Laura Bowman Director of Community Relations and Development at Mayo Clinic Health System; Nick Hinz President, Frandsen Bank and Trust; Barb Kaus President, Greater Mankato Area United Way; Linda Kilander Retired Principal, Mankato Area Public Schools; Kim Kleven Early Childhood Coordinator, Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial; Naomi Mortensen Marketing Director, Environmental Tillage Systems; Tim Newell Director of Solutions Business Management, Kato Engineering/Emerson; Christine Powers Partner, Abdo Eick & Meyers; Tom Riley Telecommunications Operations Executive, Greater Mankato Growth; Beth Serrill Attorney, Blethen Gage & Krause; Christie SkilbredP roject Manager, Capstone Literacy Center/Coughlan Companies; Dr. Katie Smentek Pediatrician, Mankato Clinic; Sara Steinbach Regional Manager, Public Affairs & Marketing, Mayo Clinic Health System; Keith Stover Retired President, South Central College; Vance Stuehrenberg County Commissioner, Blue Earth County, MN; Anna Thill President, Visit Mankato; Liz Ulman Organizational Development Manager, Dotson Iron Castings; Dr. Ginger Zierdt Interim Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Project Overview

CMSM opened its new permanent site with increased capacity to serve as an informal learning center that playfully engages children, families, and school groups in interactive experiences with the art and cultural heritage of southern Minnesota. With its current appropriation, CMSM is poised to strengthen its core as an institution that promotes arts and cultural heritage learning through continued

Project Manager
First Name
Sue
Last Name
Larsen
Organization Name
Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota
Street Address
P.O. Box 3103
City
Mankato
State
MN
Zip Code
56002
Phone
507-386-0279
Email
sue.larsen@cmsouthernmn.org