Amount Requested: $7,500 for Exhibit Support
Mission: To engage young minds through interactive, multi-sensory learning experiences that promote greater understanding of themselves and their world. Explore More provides an environment that promotes early literacy, creativity and critical thinking skills, nurtures childhood and family, supports the school learning standards and reaches out to serve children of all backgrounds and abilities.
Constituents Served: Explore More is a place for all children and their families. With the lowest admission for a children’s museum in the state of Virginia at $6, we strive to be accessible for all. Scholarship opportunities exist to ensure that every child has access to Explore More’s rich learning environment. About one in seven visitors (15%) attends through sponsored admission programs such as First Fridays Free, when Explore More opens free of charge to the public.
Explore More hosts 58,000 visitors annually, focusing primarily on families with children ages one to twelve. Approximately 5,000 of these visitors, including 35% of all school field trips, are from the region served by the Community Foundation. 75% of museum visitors come from over 100 different municipalities throughout Virginia; 25% of visitors come from 42 different states and countries including Germany, Canada, China and England.
Program Overview: The museum features 11 interactive, play-based exhibit galleries that are designed to encourage children to explore at their own developmental levels. Play, often referred to as the “work of childhood,” is vital to a child’s healthy development and Explore More strives to provide a rich environment that fosters children’s natural curiosity and creativity. Realistic settings allow children to use their imaginations. They explore a real ambulance, a child-sized automotive center, a farmers market, theater, science lab, art studio and more in a safe, accessible environment. A sensory-rich early childhood area provides a separate space for children under 3 years of age to learn with their families.
Explore More Discovery Museum is requesting $7,500 towards exhibit support. These funds will ensure that exhibits areas are enhanced, refreshed and maintained at the highest level. Expenses vary from $300 for microscopes and slides to $800 for puppets to $2,300 for art supplies. These movable pieces and consumable supplies are essential to the interactive learning experience.
Comprehensive needs include program support, sponsored (free) admissions, and technology upgrades. 250 programs each year, like hands-on classes and camps, engage children in fun activities as they explore science, technology, engineering, art, math, and more.
The museum currently occupies the first floor of a 3-story building, and our 18-member board has recognized the need to expand. The future Arts and Innovation Level on the 2nd floor will feature hands-on exhibits and a Makerspace. The 3rd floor Community Education Center will provide much needed space for field trips, after-school programs and community-wide events. As of March, 2016, the Campaign Committee has reached 50% of its goal.
Current Operating Budget: $450,000
Program Budget: $25,000