© 2017 Sarkeys Foundation, a Nonprofit Organization.
All rights reserved.
530 East Main St. • Norman, OK 73071
405 • 364 • 3703
IN STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA
Discouraged about driving 100 miles to participate in children’s educational and entertaining activities, two average Stillwater families began to ask, “Why don’t we have something here?” Thus began a grassroots effort to quantify the need, educate the community and surrounding region, and then build a premier, state of the art, interactive science and discovery Museum. They were soon called Stillwater Children’s Museum because the founder families live in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
From 2001 to 2006, the all-volunteer organization designed, built and presented educational displays at community and social events. In 2006, the Museum without Walls education program was formalized with the hiring of an executive director and the formation of a committee composed of educators. In three years of operation, this effort has reached more than 11,000 area children through five inquiry-based programs focused on science and literacy.
Museum without Walls programs fulfill Oklahoma PASS (Priority Academic Student Skills) objectives, can be easily integrated into a classroom teacher’s lesson plans, and are provided to schools and child care facilities at no charge. The museum staff pursues funding for the continuation of this program on an on-going basis through grant proposals and private donations.
With the enthusiastic response to Museum without Walls programming and the realization that the community lacked affordable, family-friendly and youth-oriented educational and recreational activities, the museum staff, the Board of Directors and committees recognized the need to establish a permanent facility. Late in 2007, these same groups worked to define and refine their vision recognizing the abundance of academic resources in Stillwater, and the potential of utilizing these resources in a facility design.
A $59,624 two-year grant from Sarkeys Foundation awarded in 2008 allowed the Museum to hire a programs director. The grant provided salary funds for this position, allowing the executive director to devote more time to the capital campaign to build a permanent facility.
The Board of Directors engaged an exhibit design company to create renderings of the future exhibits and learning environments housed in a permanent facility. They are working in the “silent phase” of their capital campaign to raise half of the projected, final construction and exhibit estimates of $6 million.
Oklahoma WONDERtorium’s vision of a successful and impactful operation means hosting groups of children every day that eagerly explore and interact with the exhibits and activities encountered during their visit. Bursts of energy, noise, chatter and laughter will be a welcome condition and partial evidence that the programming of the museum is having a positive effect on the lives of visiting children. They will continue, and expand, their Museum without Walls program so they can impact the lives of children who may not have the ability to travel to Stillwater.
For more about WONDERtorium visit: http://www.okwondertorium.org/