Children’s Discovery Museum preparing plans for next decade of educational fun

Local News

NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Normal leaders are setting into action the beginning of the future for the children’s discovery museum.

Monday, the Normal Town Council approved to spend $50,000 on a 10-year plan for the museum.

The town of normal is entering into a contract with JRA design, a Cincinnati-based company, with the goal of coming up with a plan on how the museum can improve within the next decade.

JRA Design and the town will seek input from anyone who uses the museum– schools, daycare centers, or even everyday Children’s Discovery Museum members. CDM executive director Beth Whisman said it’s important to get public input.

“Ask them how they want to play and how they want to learn and bring in the experts to figure out the best way to make that happen,” Whisman said.

Monday, the town council voted to spend $45,000 to work with JRA design to conduct the study. After that, they’ll work with museum staff on ways to keep the museum relevant.

“We’re looking at all of the next things we want to do in the next decade and then that will give us the tool we need to fundraise and the tool we need break down those different projects and make it happen,” Whisman said.

Whisman said they plan on updating the agriculture exhibit as well as its reception areas and gift shop to enhance customer satisfaction.

“When you come to visit, you want to know you’re getting a real good quality experience; but also if you’re a field trip, teachers coming in you rely on museums and experts to make sure the curriculum the kids are learning when they come to visit is up to date,” Whisman said.

With over 2 million visitors in its 16 years, council member Kevin McCarthy calls it an asset to the town.

“They’re very much a partner in education for learning opportunities, for creative play, educational play,” McCarthy said.

He says the plan lays out a future vision for council members to see where money is going down the line on future projects.

“We know where it’s going and what the strategic vision of why and when we’re going be investing there too,” McCarthy said.

Work on the plan will begin in January to present a final exhibits master plan in the spring

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