GREAT FALLS — The Children’s Museum of Montana in Great Falls is undergoing some changes over the next several years, including moving into larger facility.
Due to numerous circumstances they are now required to find a new home, and plan to buy the building at 1401 3rd Street NW from Pacific Steel & Recycling, which would give them 46,000 square feet more than their current building in downtown Great Falls.
A large portion of the building is going to be focused on Montana industries and providing an opportunity for kids and people in our community to see how far we have come and be proud of that.
They will be incorporating a “maker space” which will allow kids of all ages to create different types of ideas whether it is with video, a sound booth, a 3-D printer, software templates, and so on.
The museum is also going to add some enhanced education to expand STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programming and using augmented reality to help students with taking standardized tests.
Museum director Sherrie Nefff said that students that have fun while learning will be more likely to remember what they learned; she noted, “We want to help raise (their scores) overall, for all of the kids, and the easiest way to do that is by helping them have fun...So that it’s not just ‘Hey, let’s teach you this one thing about science,’ its Let’s teach you as much as you want to know.’”
Neff also says one of the goals they have seen a need for and plan to implement in the new facility is to provide those traveling to Great Falls an opportunity to have a family activity that all ages can enjoy: “Parents who want to go on vacation and go to a new place, they often pick where they take their family by what family fun is available there.”
She hopes that this will not only allow our community to benefit but also those other families that want to travel across and to Montana.
Neff also said they plan on keeping their fees about the same for Montana admission, and will still offer daily options as well as their yearly membership.
Along with the new facility there are other ideas organizers are looking at implementing such as a family friendly restaurant, and possibly a drop-in childcare option. Neff says if there is a business or someone who thinks they have a need that the museum would be able to fill that they can contact the museum to see what might be able to take place.
One of the aspects they hope to implement is a share program, which would allow an exhibit to go to any community around Montana to help smaller communities have that same opportunity.
The Children’s Museum will be looking at changing their name when they do move in 2023 to help incorporate the new idea of fun and learning for all ages.
The new building is going to be a large undertaking and the museum is asking for community support so they can continue to provide this unique experience for the children and families of Great Falls. They are asking for anyone who can to donate just 10 dollars to help with this move. If you want to donate to their capital campaign, you can do so on their website.
Take a quick virtual tour of part of the museum here: