Without a sudden $5,000 donation this week from Ormsby House owners, the reopening of the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada may not come as planned Sept. 26.
Museum Director Suzi Meehan said the donation went right to payroll to continue paying the museum's four full-time employees. Grants fund half the payroll but Meehan scrambles for money for the other half.
"We're still working as though it's OK but it was close. It was real close," Meehan said.
The museum momentarily is closed as new exhibitions are being installed but the donation by Al Fiegehen and Don Lehr, owners of Cubix and the Ormsby House, assures that the museum will reopen Sept. 26, Meehan said.
The Children's Museum has enough restricted funds for exhibits and programs but the operations budget is thin, she said.
"We are a private, non-profit organization and the only way we can survive is through admissions and donations," Meehan said.
Along with displays, the Children's Museum also trains teachers and students. There are mentoring opportunities and home-schooled children learn at the museum.
Fiegehen and Lehr heard of the museum's plight and broke out the checkbook.
"They were in deep trouble down there and nobody seems to be supporting the Children's Museum," Fiegehen said from his office at Cubix, a computer equipment and software production firm in Carson City. "We think it's a good cause. It's a shame the community is not supporting it more."
He noted seeing at least 15 children outside the museum last week in engaged discussion with a museum staff person.
"I think people take it for granted and don't realize it exists on donations," Fiegehen said.
Meehan said the donation came "out of the blue" and Fiegehen confirmed the act was a "spur of the moment" decision.
"I want to let the community know we still need donations," Meehan said. "The community has to understand that the Children's Museum does not get any money except for admissions and grants."