EAU CLAIRE — On Tuesday the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire announced another large donation that will go toward construction of a new building.
The philanthropic arm of Royal Credit Union — RCU Foundation — is donating $250,000 toward construction of a new two-story, 26,000-square-foot museum slated for a vacant lot in downtown Eau Claire.
The latest contribution joins other large ones announced earlier this winter — $500,000 from the Pablo Foundation and $100,000 from Northwestern Bank.
“The Children’s Museum has inspired creativity, discovery, and a love of learning in the community since 2004,” said John Sackett, RCU Foundation board chairman, in a news release announcing the donation. “The new facility will provide additional opportunities to make a positive impact on families through the power of play for generations to come.”
Proceeds from the museum selling its former building at 220 S. Barstow St. this winter for $1.05 million will also be used to build the new facility.
Construction of the new museum is slated to begin this spring or early summer at the lot next to the city’s North Barstow Street parking ramp. The new building is scheduled to open next year.
The museum has been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, except during July when it opened but found that operating with limited attendance was draining its cash reserves and shut down again to conserve funds.
A smaller, temporary location for the museum is being established at the Pablo Center at the Confluence in space previously used for Visit Eau Claire’s Experience Center. “Play Street, A Children’s Museum Pop-up” will open soon and feature parts of its most popular exhibits. The mini-museum will be available for families to reserve times for visits and birthday parties.