With the building secured and the plans drawn, Busy Brains Childrens Museum is launching in earnest a campaign to raise funds for what it hopes will be a regional attraction in downtown Lake Villa.
"We've made some good progress, now we need the community's help," said Alison Price, executive director and co-founder with Kathy Goers of the not-for-profit organization established in 2003.
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The group for years has been taking nearly a dozen small exhibits on the road, but has been looking for a permanent site. Last June, the organization secured the 14,000-square-foot former Chrysler dealership at 130 Cedar Ave., and has been working with an exhibit designer in Virginia Beach.
"The design and floor plan are ready to go," Price said. That will consist of eight galleries with educational themes, such as Wiggle Room and World of Water, for example, aligned with Common Core learning standards.
"It's going to be completely hands-on. It won't be rote learning per se, it will be learning by play," according to Price.
The former dealership is included as part of the village's downtown redevelopment plans. Price said the closest similar facilities are in Glenview and Milwaukee.
But there is a way to go as the fundraising goal is $3.5 million. Half the money is targeted for building renovation and the design, fabrication and installation of the exhibits. The other half is for a three-year operating reserve, according to Price.
The museum also is seeking donations of material and labor. Visit www.busybrains.org or call (224) 381-0138.
The Constructing Curiosity capital campaign provides opportunities for corporations, small businesses and individuals to support what is described as the first children's museum in Lake County and a "world class educational destination" for parents, teachers and children.
"We're hoping to open in 18 to 24 months, but it's completely dependent on how fast the money comes in," Price said.