Change is in the air for SF Children's Museum

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By April M. Brown

At the end of 2012, the Santa Fe Children’s Museum began their “Save the Museum” campaign with a lofty $200K goal to reach in only nine weeks.
While it seemed like a daunting task for the museum, the response was overwhelming. They received donations from across the country and from many local businesses and individuals.
In the end, they not only exceeded their financial goal, they also raised it all in seven weeks.
The funds raised by the campaign have allowed the museum to make some progressive changes and additions.
They have added additional board members with varying business backgrounds and are diligently focused on solidifying the future of the museum through new programs and partnerships, as well as efforts to lower facility costs.
They also recently appointed new Executive Director, Shannon Martin Roberts who officially took over the position on April 8.
Founding directors, Ellyn Feldman, Ellen Biderman and Susan McIntosh call Martin Roberts “the right leader at the right time for the museum.” Martin Roberts earned her MBA from McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin; and she has more than 15 years experience in strategic organizational growth, fundraising and nonprofit management focused on arts, advocacy and youth related causes.
She has been a part-time resident of Santa Fe for more than 20 years and has served as a board member for the museum.
Martin Roberts has fond memories of frequently visiting the museum with her daughter when she was young and has always admired the tactile nature of museum.
She drew inspiration from watching children of all ages learn through interacting with the various museum exhibits, all encouraging hands-on activity. This inspiration was a driving force in Martin Roberts’ decision to take over this position.
On May 10, the museum hosted a celebration to thank the community and their supporters, and to introduce them to the new executive director who was going to carry the museum into its 30th year.
During the celebration, they also unveiled several new exhibits born from a collaboration between the museum, Santa Fe Institute and New Mexico Highlands University, along with the Delle Foundation who provided funding for the project.
The actual exhibits were conceptualized and constructed by the Program in Interactive Technology, an intensive exhibit design class offered biannually by the New Mexico Highlands University Media Arts Department in partnership with the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.
The PICT team took on the project with passion and intensity, even helping with unrelated repairs and improvements throughout the facility.
The final product is a labor of love for everyone involved.
Visitors can now enjoy a series of new hands-on exhibits called “The Science of Cities.” These interactive exhibits encourage learning about cities through 3-D building forms, activity boxes, maps and more.
The “Santa Fe’s Sister Cities” features an outdoor, sailing adventure complete with a wheel and compass, sand drawing, garden beds themed to the agriculture and cuisines of the Sister City regions and games from around the world to both create and play.
As a further thank you to the community, the museum is will be holding “Magnificent Mondays” this June, July and August where kids admission is free all day.
They will have the next youth workshop on how to make Water Rockets, for youth ages 8-12, 1-4 p.m. Saturday (May 25). Kids will design, build and test their new rockets to see how far they will go.
For more information on events and workshops, visit santafechildrensmuseum.org.