The Mountain Times

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Rutland Children’s Museum receives $20,000 grant from GMP

Green Mountain Power has donated $20,000 to help underwrite design work and a feasibility study for Rutland's proposed destination Children's Museum currently functioning as Wonderfeet Kids' Museum.

"Green Mountain Power's donation brings us to 80 percent of our fundraising goal for an important match that will help determine the future of the museum in Rutland," said Myra Peffer, co-chair of the Creative Economy Children's Museum Committee.

"This is a critical step forward in our effort to develop plans for the museum and a sound understanding of what those plans would cost to implement." "The Children's Museum will provide quality multi‐generational, hands‐on experiences for families, with an educational connection to GMP's EIC," said Paul Gallo, chairman of the Rutland Creative Economy.

"We hope GMP's contribution will be a catalyst for others to support the museum, which we feel will enhance the cultural ecosystem of the Rutland area and help rejuvenate downtown as a destination." The Children's Museum is an initiative of Rutland Creative Economy.

In partnership with the Rutland Redevelopment Authority, the group is seeking a $25,000 feasibility/planning grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which requires a one‐to‐one non‐federal match.

The RRA's research forecasts a cost of $15,000 for each of three architectural designs focused on specific potential sites in downtown Rutland, thus utilizing $45,000 of the grant/matching monies.

The remaining $5,000 would cover expenses related to mailings, sponsoring a community forum and advertising for Requests for Proposals.

"We see the Children's Museum as a wonderful cultural and economic addition to the continuing transformation of downtown Rutland," GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said.

"As we've developed plans for our new Energy Innovation Center, we've come to see the Children's Museum and the EIC as complementary assets to each other and the community at large." Steve Costello, GMP's vice president for generation and energy innovation, said he envisioned at least one display in the company's energy innovation center that would be connected to the children's museum.

"We are still in the early planning stages, but we support the museum concept and envision a direct link between the facilities' educational programs," Costello said.

The Children's Museum has already been tested on a smaller scale, having been well received by the community over the past two summers, when a temporary museum was open for limited hours.

During the museum's 30 hours of operation in 2011, it attracted more than 1,700 visitors, and more than 1,200 visited during 24 open hours in 2012.