Caribou children’s museum seeks sponsors

Posted Jan. 21, 2011, at 11:31 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 02, 2011, at 11:52 a.m.

CARIBOU, Maine — Supporters of the proposed Caribou Children’s Discovery Museum are looking for individual and business sponsors to help raise the estimated $1.6 million needed to buy a building and set up exhibits.

“The Caribou Children’s Discovery Museum will fulfill the needs of many organizations, families and individuals who are seeking an engaging, interactive learning environment designed for children to explore and discover their world,” stated Nancy Chandler, president of the CCDM board. “We have been given an opportunity to purchase an 8,400-square-foot building located in the downtown area of Caribou, and the master floor plan, designed by Roto Studio of Ohio, is complete.”

Chandler noted that the Caribou Fire Department has committed to sponsor an exhibit along with Lancaster Funeral Home and Northern Prosthetics. The museum board is looking for others to sponsor individual exhibits or donate to the cause.

“We definitely look to use local talent and in-kind donations to construct some of the exhibits ourselves instead of buying them outright,” Chandler said recently. “And much of the work that would need to be completed at the building such as painting, etcetra, hopefully would be tasks that our board members and other volunteers would take care of. There is a lot of natural talent in Aroostook County. Being able to complete a big part of this project ourselves is a huge benefit.”

In 2006, Chandler and others began organizing to fulfill the dream of creating a children’s discovery museum and in the spring of 2007, began fundraising activities.

Recently Chandler stated that to make the museum become a featured spot in Caribou, the CCDM is looking at a $1.6 million budget, which would include purchasing the building and setting up the exhibits.

According to Chandler, plans call for the museum to be reminiscent of the early days of northern Maine by featuring forestry and agricultural exhibits, with an interactive town complete with a supermarket, bank, fire department, hospital and a town square.

The Tot Spot exhibit will have brightly colored toys, games and discovery exhibits designed for toddlers. Interactive discovery and learning centers throughout the new museum will provide opportunities to explore culture, history, art, math, health and science-related fields.

The discovery museum will have a strong commitment to learning by discovery, placing an emphasis on imagination and role-playing, she said.

Hands-on activities and programs will use real material from the area donor collection whenever possible. The museum’s diverse exhibits and programs will attract large numbers of youngsters, their parents and families from the community, and will allow tourists to spend part of their vacation exploring, learning and having fun, Chandler said.

She also stressed that the CCDM volunteer board of directors is enthusiastic about this project and eager to launch it in an effort to be the most inclusive and culturally competent center for all children and their families in Maine and those traveling through the area.

CCDM board members are: Nancy Chandler, president; Jennifer Espling, vice president; Tim Poitras, treasurer; Debbie Blanchette, secretary; Doug Hunter, Cory LaPlante, Tanya Belanger, Jane Kilcollins-White, Carol McElwee, Ken Murchison and Robert White.

The Caribou Children’s Discovery Museum board meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Thursday of every month at the Northern Maine Development Commission on the West Presque Isle Road.

For information contact Chandler at 764-9241 or go to www.cariboudiscovery.org.

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