Children's museum no longer considering Armory building for new location
Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester announced Wednesday that it will not submit a proposal for the downtown Armory building.
The museum had previously expressed strong interest in moving into the Armory (or the "Castle"). The building, which is owned by the city, will soon become vacant when the seniors move into their new facility.
According to a memo sent out by Heidi Mestad, the museum's new director, the decision was made after an initial feasibility study that included interviews with over 20 civic leaders, community partners and key funders.
"The potential growth and opportunity of the Museum is larger than originally anticipated," said Mestad. "With that in mind, the museum’s goal shifted to defining our long-term vision and maximizing our impact in the community, not searching for a specific space or location."
The museum will instead embark on a "strategic impact planning process" to help identify community needs. The museum intends to complete the process by the end of 2016. A 2015 survey found that 88 percent of visitors feel the museum's current location in a strip mall is too small.
"During the next nine months, we’ll do a lot of listening and will collectively build the museum for the future," said Mestad. She added, "It won’t be long before we’ll be in a better position to evaluate what type of space and which location would best serve our visitors and the entire community."
The Rochester Arts and Culture Collaborative, a grassroots arts advocacy group, plans to submit a proposal before the March 31 deadline. City Clerk Aaron Reeves said Tuesday that no other proposals have been submitted.
(Cover photo: Bruce Silcox / Minnesota Children's Museum)