Children’s Museum re-opens in Carson City but faces uncertain future
The Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada is open again and it wants your business.
“We need your help,” said Christine Brandon, executive director.
Jennifer Meredith, the museum board president, put out the word last week: without the public’s assistance, the museum could be forced to close its doors for good in a few weeks.
Her Facebook post generated 300 shares and about $5,000 in donations so far.
“One person called the museum crying, telling us we could not close,” said Meredith. “It’s one of the only places for children to come in Northern Nevada. People come from Virginia City and Incline Village and Gardnerville and even Reno because we have different exhibits than the museum there.”
The children’s museum has now launched a GoFundMe charity page and its board is brainstorming other ways to raise funds, such as an online gala to replace an in-person event that had to be canceled, and business sponsorship opportunities to be displayed on its new LED sign.
“Most grants are for the STEM room, not to make sure director and staff can function,” said Meredith.
But, operating costs are the main expense. The museum employs nine people part-time and the building, while not operating at full capacity, still has all its utility costs.
The museum closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. A payroll protection program loan covered staff salaries for two and a half months and ran out six weeks ago.
The museum reopened Aug. 1. No more than 50 people can attend at once and reservations have to be made in advance. The offerings are reduced so staff can clean between appointments.
“The stage is closed,” said Brandon. “There’s just too much surface area to keep clean.”
But, there’s still plenty to do and see. Cruz Construction Co. Inc., for example, has reconfigured the schoolhouse into a construction zone, and a new mural by artist Mona Sanatgaran adorns the entranceway.
“Everything has been redecorated,” said Brandon.
The museum is also back to hosting birthday parties. The time slot is now 4-6 p.m. seven days a week and no more than 30 individuals can attend.
The museum is open seven days a week and can be reserved in two-hour blocks — 10 a.m. to noon, noon to 2 p.m. and 2-4 p.m. — on its web site, cmnn.org.
The museum is located at 813 N. Carson St. and can be reached by phone at (775) 884-2226 or email at email@example.com.
Meredith is hoping with some help from the public the museum can keep operating and forging ahead.
“Chris was able to hire really talented people, and they’ve breathed new life into the museum,” said Meredith. “Anyone who hasn’t been there in a while should come.”