Midwest Children’s Museum
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why a children’s museum in St. Charles County?
The children’s museum will address an unmet need in the community. It is the next step in fulfilling our mission; United Services is a leader in preparing children of all abilities to reach their full potential. For 42 years, we have accomplished this through our pediatric therapy and developmental education preschool centers. But the community’s needs have evolved, and so must United Services.
Our families have told us that they do not have a place where the entire family can have a recreational experience that is fun for both children with special needs and typically developing children. We want to give all children the opportunity to learn and play in a fully-accessible environment.
Our museum will be designed for universal access. People of any physical or intellectual ability will be able to use the museum throughout its normal operating hours, without having to wait for special days or allotted times. This fully accessible design extends not just to children, but also adults. For instance, a father who uses a wheelchair will be able to roll up to an exhibit and interact with his children just like any other parent.
By offering an immersive, educational, fun experience that is accessible to people of all abilities, all of the time, our children’s museum will make our community a better place to live.
2. Don’t we already have children’s museums in the area? (Magic House, City Museum)
The St. Louis area is fortunate to have many outstanding facilities that offer a fun environment for exploration and learning. Our children’s museum will complement these great facilities. We are looking forward to working together to create opportunities that will enhance the region.
Population growth is moving westward. Community feedback indicates a strong desire for increased experiential opportunities in the western part of our region.
Our children’s museum will be unique in the industry. While other museums across the nation are retrofitting their facilities in an effort to move toward greater accessibility, our museum will be designed from the ground up to be all-inclusive. The principle of universal accessibility will guide the architectural design and program development.
3. Where will it be? How big? When will it open?
The location, size and timeline will be determined during the coming months.
We are working with consultants with expertise in master planning, capital fundraising, and marketing of children’s museums. Based on consultation with these consultants and conversations with the community and key constituents, we will build a timeline for fundraising, site procurement and construction.
4. What will be inside this museum?
Children’s museums are places where children learn through play and exploration in environments designed just for them. They provide enlightening, interactive learning experiences.
In developing our museum, we will apply our 42 years of experience in therapy and education for children of all abilities. Our exhibits will address all educational categories, including literacy, history and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math).
The exhibits will be immersive, experiential and universally accessible. Anyone who walks through the door will be able to use every part of the museum, all the time. Children will not realize that the museum was designed to be universally accessible. They will only know that they are having fun.
In addition to the museum exhibits, the facility will include a pediatric therapy and preschool center, continuing the tradition of care established by United Services. The therapy/preschool programs will utilize the museum exhibits, though the program classrooms will be in a separate part of the building.
5. How much will it cost? How are you going to pay for it?
United Services for Children has partnered with the City of Lake Saint Louis and New York-based Cohen Equities to lay the groundwork for the project. To make the museum a reality, significant private contributions must be secured. United Services representatives are meeting with key stakeholders to determine whether sufficient interest and financial support exists to begin moving forward with a capital campaign and construction. The estimated project cost is $25 million.
6. When does the campaign begin?
The capital campaign consultants will help us develop a fundraising schedule, once we have decided to move forward with the project.
7. I would like to support this project. How can I help?
In what way would you like to help? We’ll make a note and keep you up to date on our progress. We’ll be sure to contact you when we are ready to move forward with the project. Email Denise Liebel or call her at 636-926-2700.