A New Home for the Children’s Museum
2017 has brought uncertainty, followed by doubt, and then elation as the Children’s Museum has searched for a new home. When the situation was evaluated in April, 2017, three major obstacles loomed ahead in the future of the Children’s Museum: location for the museum, the money that would be needed for the transition to an existing building, and the time needed to make the necessary change.
Timeline of Events:
- January – Heating system in Children’s Museum building fails and cannot be repaired.
- February – Temporary heat is provided by TAMUC at cost of $18,000.
- March – Engineers study the heating and cooling systems in the building The system was purchased for building when the building was built in 1964.
- April – Texas A&M University Commerce decided it was not feasible to replace the heat in such an old building and the building would eventually be demolished.
- May, June, July – The Northeast Texas Children’s Museum searched for a building to purchase or one to refurbish. None was available.
- August – An exciting solution was discussed during lunch with Dr. Keck, TAMUC President; Colette Young, Children’s Museum Board Member; Sharline Freeman, Executive Director of the Children’s Museum; and Linda King, Executive Assistant for Dr. Keck. The Northeast Texas Children’s Museum Board of Directors voted to move forward with the concept of locating on the site of the former university President’ home. On that site TAMUC will construct a $30 – $40 million agricultural exposition center.
- September – TAMUC announced that the site of the former university president’s home would be constructed in phases. The construction of the Children’s Museum would be Phase 1. Being the first phase of the development is very exciting for us as it brings the construction date closer. After the cost of the building is determined, steps will begin toward a fundraising drive. We are very appreciative of the support of TAMUC.
Your support has never been more important to the Children’s Museum. There are still obstacles ahead. However, with your support the Children’s Museum can now look to a very bright future.
Design for New Building
Read the Texas A&M University-Commerce’s article:
University Partnership with Children’s Museum Moves Forward
by Scott Cason
The Board of Directors of the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum recently voted to move ahead on a unique partnership proposal offered by Texas A&M University-Commerce President Ray Keck. The vision Keck shared with the board members was for a new facility south of campus and on the grounds of the former university president’s home. This new complex would boast both a $30-$40 million agricultural exposition center and an adjoining new Northeast Texas Children’s Museum. The concept of a joint facility is one Dr. Randy Harp, the director of the university’s School of Agriculture, began formulating as a candidate for his current position. According to Dr. Harp, “This university’s farm and laboratory complex is a valuable asset in East Texas. I recognized immediately the tremendous opportunities we might have for sharing our research, technology, best practices and hands-on learning approach to sustainable agriculture with students and educators of all ages.”
According to Dr. Keck, “We are extremely grateful to the Board of the Children’s Museum for agreeing to partner with the University. We together dream of a new museum which will incorporate all the activities of our School of Agriculture, soon to be “College of Agriculture.” I am confident we can achieve the goal of locating the museum in the new agricultural exposition center complex. Children will experience a full introduction to life with animals, on a farm or ranch, and to how we imagine sustainable food production. We are living in a moment when visions and actions, pursued wisely, can transform our environment.”
Since the Museum’s current lease agreement with the University will expire sometime in September 2018, a desire to find a solution to keep this valued resource in Commerce, Texas became a priority. This need in conjunction with the University’s long term plan to replace the current agricultural facility provided a mutually beneficial solution. According to Sharline Freeman, the director of the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum, “The Children’s Museum is very excited about being located adjacent to the School of Agriculture. Not only will the Children’s Museum continue delivering hands-on imaginative play, but we will soon be able to offer an enriched curriculum that includes animals and agriculture. This new Northeast Texas Children’s Museum will be a one-of-a-kind resource in northeast Texas, attracting visitors to a new facility, the university, and the City of Commerce.”