Explore & More Children’s Museum is one step closer to becoming a reality on our waterfront. The John R. Oishei Foundation has given the museum a two-year $200,000 general operating support grant that will allow operations to move in a direction that would support planning efforts. At this time, it’s not a question of “if”, it’s a question of “when”.
The museum has stated that it intends to open in May of 2016. “Explore & More is coming to Canalside, located in the Aud Block near the canals,” said Barbara Park Leggett, the museum’s Director. “We have been working with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation for many years, and in May, we were chosen by their Board to be the children’s museum operator. The coming year is going to be very exciting as we focus on detailed plans for a phenomenal children’s museum reflecting Buffalo. We’re reaching out to the community to create a museum for the people of Western New York. In September, we’ll begin our Master Planning process – which will look at exhibits, programs and operations.
“Once the Master Plan and the complementary Capital Campaign Plan are complete and approved, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation will begin the design and construction of the building. Like museums and attractions around the region and throughout the country, the building will be government-owned, and Explore & More will be responsible for the build-out and exhibits,” noted Leggett.
Once open, the 20 year old museum is anticipating on drawing crowds of over 130,000 visitors per year. “We are truly grateful for the John R. Oishei Foundation for making this strategic investment in the museum’s future,” noted Leggett. “Explore & More is at a pivotal time of planning, with many unique opportunities for alliances, collaborations and funding partnerships — opportunities that may not come again.”
In coming months Explore and More will finalize its selection of a master-planning firm – as of this point nineteen firms from around the world have thrown a hat into the ring. The hope is to come up with a completely unique museum concept that would be a major draw in the region.