Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester is now Spark!

Purpose, Partnerships, Place, and Prosperity in Rochester
Heidi Mestad, Director of Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester
July 22, 2016

Strategic Planning at Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester

The museum is poised for growth. Over the next eighteen months, we will embark on a strategic impact planning process with purpose, partnerships, place, and prosperity as our guides.

Beginning with purpose and partners, the museum is discovering how we can best respond to the developing needs in our community and build a community of support. Using our discoveries, we can better plan what sort of place the museum will need to both serve that purpose and be supported by partners who will help the museum and our community prosper.

Experiential Learning & Workforce Readiness

One of our goals is to make the museum more meaningful for your family. As we explore expanding our purpose and move through this planning process, the museum is committed to remaining a trusted source of experiences that provide opportunities for your children to play and learn.

According to a recent study by the American Alliance of Museums, in addition to being economic assets in the communities where they exist, museums are an important educational tool for “experiential learning” outside of a traditional classroom setting.

Experiential learning is “learning by doing.“ This type of learning encompasses everything from learning to ride a bike to service learning, internships, and sophisticated training simulations. As it turns out, experiential learning also develops the “foundational” skills vital in developing a workforce ready for tomorrow‘s work. By empowering learners to innovate, question, create, and collaborate, experiential learning prepares a workforce better able to adapt to the new opportunities and challenges of jobs that have yet to be invented.

Play is an important form of experiential learning that is often over looked. You can be assured that the museum’s mission of providing for playful, experiential learning will continue. Even as we plan for our tomorrow, the museum will always remain a place committed to nurturing happy, healthy, and innovative children.

Rochester Community Needs

With experiential learning remaining at the core of the museum’s mission, we are also determining other important elements in our community that we may incorporate into our purpose:

  • Extend opportunities to older youth, intergenerational experiences, and “life-long” learning.
  • Adapt learning experiences to regional interests in science, health, and innovation.
  • Increase physical capacity to form these expanded opportunities and experiences.

As we explore incorporating these elements into our purpose, we are analyzing different business models to sustain the quality experiences the community wants while maximizing the impact of a museum in our area.

In addition to being economic assets in the communities where they exist, museums are an important educational tool for “experiential learning” outside of a traditional classroom setting.

American Alliance of Museums

Preparing for Tomorrow

To support our discovery and planning efforts, the museum has revised its local governing structure. The Community Board has been reorganized with enhanced local authority.

  • An Impact and Narrative committee will continue our work on purpose and discover how best share our story with the community.
  • An Events and Sponsorship committee will engage the community and local businesses and lay foundations for future partnerships.
  • Museum staff and volunteers are launching an awareness and outreach campaign around the “Power of Play” as an important form of experiential learning.
  • Finally, the museum has strengthened local partnerships with the Rochester Public Library, the Boys and Girls Club, and Olmsted County Public Health.
Minnesota Children's Museum of Rochester

Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester

You can Help!

  • Contribute to the strategic impact planning process by completing our annual survey where you will have the opportunity to participate in our discovery process.
  • Learn more about the museum‘s Power of Play movement.
  • Continue your much appreciated financial support of the museum by donating today.
JUMBOJenga in Rochester

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