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explore-it-childrens-museumcmorAs you may have read in our magazine and on our website in the past year, a group of local Fredericksburg moms have been working hard to bring a children's museum to Fredericksburg. Explore It! has been hard at work developing exhibits and soliciting funding for the program.

It looks like it may happen sooner than any of us could have imagined. The Children's Museum of Richmond is partnering with the Explore It! group to bring a branch of the CMoR to Fredericksburg, hopefully by late 2013!

Here are all the exciting details!

PERMANENT CHILDREN’S MUSEUM IN FREDERICKSBURG COULD BE ON THE HORIZON

Explore it! Children’s Museum announces potential partnership with Children’s Museum of Richmond

Fredericksburg, VA (April 4, 2012) – The dedicated founding members of Explore it! Children’s Museum have long dreamed of providing the community’s children with a permanent museum in the Fredericksburg area. The group announced today that the opportunity may be here sooner than they dared imagine.

“We’ve spent two years planning, researching, visiting, fundraising and envisioning  the day Fredericksburg will have its own children’s museum,” said Jessica Hallberg Beringer, president of the founding board of Explore it! Children’s Museum.   “While we’ve come a long way, we also recognize that the goal of opening a museum is one that will likely take five to seven more years to achieve.”

In the process of visiting and talking with other children’s museums in Virginia, Beringer and her team met with officers of the Children’s Museum of Richmond (CMoR) who, in 2010, opened the nation’s first children’s museum satellite. Discussions quickly led to a scenario whereby the two groups would work together to transition the Explore it! Children’s Museum’s concept into a CMoR satellite location in Fredericksburg.

“The Children’s Museum of Richmond has exhibits that are tied to the Virginia Standards of Learning, provides educational field trips to more than 30,000 school children yearly, and sees more visitors each year than all of the other children’s museums in the state combined,” said Emily Greenlaw Williams, another founding member of Explore it!.  “These qualities align perfectly with our vision for a children’s museum in Fredericksburg. CMoR has the expertise and the infrastructure to take what we’re so passionate about and make it happen much more quickly.”

Moving forward, the Explore it! group will continue to take its traveling exhibits, Museum on the Go, to family events ,  providing children with opportunities to learn through play, while offering the community a preview of what could eventually be offered in the future children’s museum.   

“Families who live in the Fredericksburg area and are members of the Children’s Museum of Richmond have asked for years if we would consider opening a museum in their area,” said Karen Coltrane, president and CEO of the Children’s Museum of Richmond. “Our Board of Trustees created a plan in 2009 that included coming to the Fredericksburg area after opening satellites in Henrico and Chesterfield counties.”

CMoR’s Short Pump (Henrico county) location opened in 2010 and the Chesterfield location is slated to open this summer, so when Coltrane was approached by the Explore it! team, the timing worked well for both groups. CMoR staff will proceed with studies of the Fredericksburg market before making key decisions regarding when, where and how large the new satellite might be.

“We’re excited by the idea of bringing a quality, permanent children’s museum to an area where the parents show such passion and commitment,” said Coltrane.  

“We’re thrilled to be working with the Children’s Museum of Richmond toward the goal of bringing a high-quality children’s museum to the greater Fredericksburg area,” said Beringer. “If we’re able to achieve this several years earlier than we had anticipated, think of how many children in our community will benefit.”

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