Building Regional Significance through Play and Learning at the Duluth Children's Museum

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Duluth Children's Museum
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
Start Date
July 2015
End Date
July 2016
Activity Type
Counties Affected
St. Louis
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
Direct expenses
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

1. A new exhibit and related programming drawing from the region's community, history, and culture will be viewed by the museum's 25,000 annual visitors.2. Programming will appeal to schools and community organizations, resulting in an increase in field trips by 15% and outreach opportunities by 10%.3. New partnerships will be formed, including connections to other area attractions and the Ojibwe community.4. Better visitor and demographic data will be collected and analyzed to create better reporting for funders and stakeholders. Currently we have the capacity to generate sales reports and attendance numbers. The improved data comes from our increased familiarity with the Altru system, with the eventual capacity to analyze demographic data including zip codes (tourists compared to locals, all locals compared to those from the Lincoln Park neighborhood), family dynamics (single parents compared to grandparents compared to nannies), along with frequency of visits.

Measurable Outcome(s)

From January 2016 through May 2016, the museum held an exhibit called Toys Toys Toys, a showcase of mid-century toys from the museum's collection and local collectors alongside giant versions of board games. The museum hosted UMD Alworth Planetarium's Geodome for it's summer exhibit. All exhibits throughout the project period incorporated local history and culture and were viewed by 30,387 visitors (July 1-June 30).Target increases in school and community organization programming far exceeded expectations, with a 19% increase in field trips to the museum (serving nearly twice as many students than the previous year) and a 41% increase in school outreach.New partnerships have formed with Duluth Sister Cities International and Lincoln Park Community School Collaborative, and a long awaited reciprocity agreement was established with the Great Lakes Aquarium.Location demographics of museum visitors showing a small number coming from the Fond du Lac Reservation, at the same time Ojibwe cultural learning is becoming a significant focus for exhibits and programming, has led to grant proposals and funder discussions on removing barriers to access for families on the reservation.

Recipient Board Members
Patty Cartier, Retired; Kelly Davidson. Area Manager, Viking Automatic Sprinkler Co.; John E. Erickson, Partner, DSGW Architects (Past Chair of the Board); Kyle K. Johnson, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Johnson Insurance Consultants; Dana Kazel, Communications Manager, St. Louis County; JoAnn Mattson, Director of HR and Risk Management, ZMC Hotels; Troy Peterson, Application Developer, University of Minnesota Duluth; Sandra Robinson, Retired; Stephen Sydow, Operations Manager, Daniel’s Shipping Services (Secretary of the Board);
Project Overview

Through the construction of new interactive exhibits and the creation of educational programming, the Duluth Children's Museum will highlight the community and culture of Duluth and the surrounding region. A climbable, playable model of Duluth's iconic canal lighthouses and an educational Ojibwe waaginogaan are among the planned new elements being added to the museum experience.

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Bloom Kruger
Organization Name
Duluth Children's Museum
Street Address
115 S. 29th Ave. W
Zip Code