Water-damaged Naperville museum lays off employees

  • Spectrum Restoration Services of Aurora is working to remove excess moisture from DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville, which suffered water damage when a pipe burst overnight Jan. 8. The museum laid off an unspecified number of employees, but hopes to "have many of them back with us as soon as possible," spokeswoman Dee Dee McDevitt said.

      Spectrum Restoration Services of Aurora is working to remove excess moisture from DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville, which suffered water damage when a pipe burst overnight Jan. 8. The museum laid off an unspecified number of employees, but hopes to "have many of them back with us as soon as possible," spokeswoman Dee Dee McDevitt said. Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

  • The DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville has laid off some staff members while it is closed to repair damage caused by a broken water main. The museum is expected to reopen in April.

      The DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville has laid off some staff members while it is closed to repair damage caused by a broken water main. The museum is expected to reopen in April. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/23/2015 5:46 PM

Some staff members have been laid off from the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville while the facility is closed as crews repair flood damage caused by a broken water main.

The temporary closure began Jan. 9 and is expected to last until April, officials said.

 

So while the museum is asking for donations and forming partnerships to give its members other places to play, spokeswoman Dee Dee McDevitt said officials also had to make staffing cuts and difficult financial decisions.

"Sarah Orleans, who is our president and CEO, and the board have had to make some thoughtful business decisions regarding facility services and staff that are needed to get us back open, stronger and better than ever before," McDevitt said Friday. "The next point is that we have told staff at this time while we are closed to please take care of themselves and their families while we are preparing to reopen and hope to have many of them back with us as soon as possible."

McDevitt did not say how many museum employees were let go or what positions they held.

"We are very hopeful to have many of the talented, passionate and amazing staff back at the museum as soon as possible," she said. "Everyone at the museum is working so hard, spirits are good, we are ramping up, cleaning up, and building up with plans to surprise and delights families when we reopen."

The museum needs donations now more than ever, McDevitt said, and people can contribute by calling Susan Stellmacher, director of development at (630) 637-8000, ext. 2400, or by visiting dupagechildrensmuseum.org and clicking the "shower us with your support" button.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

DuPage Children's Museum had been struggling financially for several years in 2010 when the city of Naperville bought its building and property at 301 N. Washington St. The state, DuPage County, a bank and private investors combined to make the deal possible, and then the city began leasing the property back to the museum.

Since the lease began in early 2011, the museum has been operating rent-free. But in 2016 and for the rest of the 20-year agreement, it will owe annual rent to the city of at least $62,056.

The city council recently changed the terms of the lease to allow the museum to apply for grants from Naperville's Special Events and Cultural Amenities fund. When Orleans requested the change in October, she said the museum was operating in the black, but could use a boost from city grant money to help install two new exhibits in 2015. AWEsome Air was slated to open in the spring and AWEsome Water in the fall.

Museum officials have said the closure likely will delay those exhibit installations. Officials have not provided a damage estimate or specified the cost of repairs.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.