Project Title: Building Regional Significance through Play and Learning at the Duluth Children's Museum II
$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.Note: Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) informed all granting agencies that the February 2016 Legacy budget forecast identified deficits in the current biennium in the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund. 3% of all grantees' allocations are being held back until additional forecasting has been completed. This includes a reduction in the administrative fees taken by the Minnesota Humanities Center.
A new exhibit and related programming drawing from the region's community, history, and culture will be completed and viewed by the museum's 27,500 visitors, a 10% increase compared to the last project period. Programming will appeal to schools and community organizations, resulting in an increase in field trips by 15% and outreach opportunities by 10% compared to the last project period. New partnerships will be formed, including connections with other area attractions and youth service agencies, that expand the museum to new audiences and communities.
In January 2017, the Manoomin exhibit opened providing a Ojibwe language learning experience to visitors. The exhibit received significant attention including local and state media coverage and as a finalist for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits' Anti-Racism Award. From March 2017 through May 2017, the exhibit "Out of the Box" provided an imaginative free play experience building with cardboard boxes. Children and families engineered boats, castles with working drawbridges, and mazes. From May 2017 through the end of the summer, the museum hosted the "Let's Play Railway" and "Velocity" exhibits from the Betty Brinn Children's Museum. The museum had 22,419 visitors between January 2017 and June 2017, a 65% increase over the previous year.Weekly outreach programming to Key Zone wrapped up successfully in May. The Manoomin exhibit has provided a foundation for Ojibwe programs that have brought in a number of new field trips, with specific outreach to the Fond du Lac Reservation. Overall, spring field trips were up 9% over the previous year.New partnerships have raised the museum's visibility and leveraged additional funding; Duluth Sister Cities International received $1000 to subcontract a Travelling Trunk from the museum and a $10,000 DNR grant is pending with Positive Energy Outdoors for St. Louis River Estuary programming. The Greater Downtown Council has created a "Discovery Zone" during their popular Sidewalk Days to be managed by the museum.
The Duluth Children's Museum is a place for every family to learn and play. Highlighting local cultures through new exhibits, programming, and partnership, the museum will draw new audiences.