Mission: The mission of the Blue Ridge Children’s Museum (BRCM) is to provide families with an affordable, fun, dynamic and hands-on activity center for them to explore local natural, historical and cultural resources through the arts, sciences, and humanities.
Community Need: Since there is a lack of interactive learning experiences for families of young children in the Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro area, families often leave the immediate area to find activities for their young children. Historically, the area has been working class socioeconomic group with limited financial resources to support educational extracurricular activities. There has been a recent increase in interest in affordable, high quality, interactive learning experiences for families in the area and they are becoming an increasing priority for families.
According to the United States Census’ American Community Survey, in 2016, there was a total of 15,551 children between the ages of 0 to 9 living in the Staunton, Augusta, Waynesboro area. The number of young families living in the area is The BRCM will be a hub of opportunity for the growing population of children and families. They have already had a large interest in and attendance at community meetings. Many of the school systems, libraries, and business owners in the area have reached out to us with interest in the BRCM. They have a large number of people sign up to volunteer with us at festivals and have had a large number of children engage with them at all of their previous events, most recently, the Fall Foliage Art Festival and the Cool Breeze Fall Fling Festival. They have also experienced significant media coverage.
Constituents Served: To date, the BRCM served 150 children ages 0-9 and their families in the Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro area. They plan to draw visitors from the Harrisonburg and Western Albemarle areas as well. In 2018, they hope to serve up to 200 children through their partnership with local businesses during the “Museum without Walls” spring programming and through their partnership with the Waynesboro Library for their summer reading series. They also plan to grow their number of children and adults served when they move into their physical location through their professional development programming.
Primary Activities: The Blue Ridge Children’s Museum (BRCM) will provide a range of exhibits for children and families to explore together. Exhibits will be closely tied to the local natural history and cultural experiences in the Waynesboro/Staunton area. Exhibits will focus on environmental sciences including the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park, and South River. Art, music, physical activity, literature, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics will all be incorporated in exhibits throughout the museum, and there will be a theater exhibit that includes a Shakespearean focus. Weekly children’s programs will be offered as well as regularly scheduled parent trainings and professional development programs for educators. The BRCM is eager to partner with area schools and homeschool families to provide young learners with interactive educational experiences both in the classroom, at the museum and through field trip experiences in the community.
Amount Requested: $10,000
Operating Budget: $99,910