Kid's Museum Puts Out Call For Volunteers
Organizers behind the Cobblestone Children's Museum are looking for volunteers to help with the five-to-seven year push to create a permanent home.
Organizers behind the proposed Cobblestone Children's Museum held the first of two volunteer information meetings earlier today. Their goal was to update the community on their efforts and to solicit the help of volunteers as the group prepares to embark upon a multi-year process to bring an educational museum for kids to the Fredericksburg area.
Jessica Beringer, one of the founders of the group pushing for the museum, told a crowd of about 25 parents and a few toddlers that the museum is trying to develop into a cornerstone for local educational activities for parents and children. When fully realized, they museum hopes to be a year-round, hands-on learning environment for all members of the community. Before that, however, the group will need to take some baby steps.
First order of business, says Beringer, is to create a traveling exhibit which will give the public an idea of the type of exhibits a future children's museum might display. Right now, organizers are putting the finishing touches on an exhibit called Amazing Magnets. The exhibit is correlated with Virginia Standards of Learning expectatuions for children in kindergarden through fourth grade. The public will have an opportunity to see the exhibit in person at a multi-cultural fair at the University of Mary Washington on April 9. The exhibit will also be on display at upcoming Picnic in the Park events on May 24 and June 21.
Second order of business is to find volunteers to help guide the project to realization. Beringer says that a permanent location for the museum may be five to seven years away. To grow from a museum without walls to a museum with walls, organizers say they are looking for volunteers to help with exhibits, educational programing, fundraising, marketing and special events. Organizers say they are especially in need of people with experience in logo development, graphic design, grant writing, public relations accounting and event coordination.
"The people who came today realize there is a need for this here," said Beringer after the meeting. "We're looking to diversify and get as much support as we can."
One thing making it easier for organizers as they gather steam is that they aren't reinventing the wheel.
"We're not doing this 20 years ago when people didn't know what a children's museum was," said Christine Garman, one of the founders of the Cobblestone Children's Museum group. "Fundraising is going to be our largest challenge, really."
To that end, organizers are busy developing partnerships with local and national businesses and organizations which could provide support as the museum effort moves forward. Those efforts have resulted in some grant money from the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region, as well as collaboration with the UMW School of Business on a strategic plan and working with the UMW Education Department to prepare its traveling exhibit about magnets.
A second round of the volunteer information meeting will be held at 7 p.m. this evening in the theater at the Central Rappahannock Library. Volunteers interested in helping out with the effort but unable to attend either of today's meetings can email organizers for more information at email@example.com.