A HISTORY OF PROVIDING A FUN AND ACTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN THE MAGIC CITY
Wendy Keller Executive Director
It was an on-going concern when area residents and visitors would state that there was nothing to do in the winter for children. Tired of being cooped up and inactive, parents and business leaders decided to make a change.
In 2013, the Minot Area Community Foundation (MACF) launched a two-year community listening program, where staff and board visited with nearly 200 community members and 19 area businesses. The purpose of the community listening sessions was to gather what Minot area residents believed to be the most pressing, emerging community needs. It was throughout this process that the MACF heard over and over again: There is nothing to do in the winter for our children, and stay-at-home moms/dads are going crazy having kids cooped up inside for months.
Many different ideas were offered about how to create indoor activities for children and families, but none of the ideas gained the type of momentum surrounding the concept of starting a children’s museum for the Minot area. Give360, a giving circle under the Minot Are Community Foundation, took a lead role in the children’s museum initiative. They made an agreement with the Dakota Territory Air Museum to share their space during the winter months (when they are typically closed) and developed a plan to open a small children’s museum – Phase I. This small passionate team of volunteers successfully organized and managed this phase of the Magic City Discovery Center – Museum Without Walls for 4 years from Fall of 2014 to Spring of 2018. We have had approximately 20,000 visitors in the 4 partial years and expect 45,000 visitors once we are open year-round. In addition to the Discovery Center, we have offered many fabulous STEAM events, 3 Color Dash events, Noon Year’s Eve celebrations and Touch a Truck to give our community a taste of the fun and education we will offer year-round. We have successfully educated our community about what a children's museum is and how wonderful it would be for North Dakota.
In 2014, the Children’s Museum of Minot, Inc. (doing business as Magic City Discovery Center) was created and obtained its 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization status. The dedicated board of directors has worked with several consultants to refine the need, analyze feasibility and develop a plan for the permanent facility. In July 2017, we were awarded $1,000,000 from the City of Minot Community Facilities Funds and plan to build on a spectacular North Hill site owned by Minot Parks. We hired our first full time employee in October 2017 and are proceeding with our full dream. We believe our children deserve a Magic City Discovery Center not only in the winter but all year long.