Eugene children's museum excited for limited reopening

The museum is looking for donations to help operations kick back into gear.

Posted: Mar 8, 2021 1:36 PM
Updated: Mar 9, 2021 5:11 PM

EUGENE, Ore. — Throughout the pandemic, businesses have had to shut down left and right. Others are left with difficult decisions to make about the cost of reopening doors with tight restrictions.

KEZI 9 News talked to Amelia Reising, the Founding Director of Adventure! Children’s Museum in Eugene. Their doors have been closed for nearly a year.

The museum will be celebrating its fourth anniversary at the end of the month. In 2019, the museum saw more than 60,000 visitors.

“We’ve heard from a lot of families who are just at the end of their ropes and want someplace to go,” Reising said. “It’s been rainy. Where do they go in the rain when their kids are jumping off the wall? We are so eager to be able to reopen and in whatever capacity that we're able to do so safely.”

They’re planning for a limited reopening on March 14 for membership families, one family at a time, to test cleaning procedures.

“We’ve actually already booked out appointments around from the 14th through the 28th,” Reising said.

A fundraiser has been created by the museum’s Board of Directors with a goal of $75,000 to ensure salaries for the staff after several layoffs -- two thirds of staff members to be exact. They hope to raise the money by April 22.

“After the first few days, the fundraising kind of dropped off,” Reising said. “There are a lot of contributing factors to that. The families are stressed for money and a lot of cases that people are out of work and a lot of cases. We wouldn't want to ask anybody to give more than they can afford to give. Obviously, we're just hoping that there are people out there who are not in that position who can help us survive the pandemic so that we can be here for families like we have been for the last four years doing support groups, play groups and all that good stuff.”

Emily Panko and Rylie Gryczko are floor managers at the museum.

“We have families who come almost every single day,” Gryczko said. “Being closed has definitely been hard on us because we can't see them and they can't come here and enjoy our space.”

She said the museum needs the community’s help.

“We’re a community-based nonprofit project, so we definitely want to be able to open and have the opportunity to be here for our community in the long-run --not just in the next few months but in the next few years,” Gryczko said.

Panko agreed, sharing what she’s missed since doors closed.

“Definitely all the smiles, the kids running around and seeing them excited about all of the exhibits,” Panko said.

She said people find community at the museum.

“Being here in Eugene, we are a place people can come when it’s rainy and when the weather isn't always able to go to the parks -- also for young moms and early moms looking for friends,” Panko said.

KEZI 9 News spoke to several other businesses, some who have chosen to reopen doors. Stay with KEZI 9 News for updates.

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