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Children’s Museum of C.O. receives community input on plans for STEAM-based learning

(Update: Adding video, comments from board president and volunteer)

The goal is to open the museum in 2026

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Children's Museum of Central Oregon is a Bend nonprofit seeking to create a new museum for youth and families in the community. It wants your help and input in making the dream a reality.

The museum held a public forum Tuesday evening, inviting the community to 10 Barrel Brewing Company East Side. The board and design team listened to public comments and ideas about the museum.

The goal is to bring more STEAM-based learning options to Central Oregonians and visitors like. Its mission is to provide children with a fun place for hands-on learning and play.

Volunteer and parent Madeline Phillips is passionate about seeing such a museum come to life. 

"I have two young kids, and we are always looking for things to do," Phillips said Tuesday. "There's so much to do. But one thing that's definitely missing is a children's museum."

The Children's Museum of Central Oregon is entering the design phase with a company called Gyroscope Incorporated. Gyroscope is a design firm that offers architectural services for museums. 

Tim Phillips, Gyroscope's chief creative officer, said, "The only way to make them successful is to make them very specific to the place where they're going to be. We want to hear the voices of the community, what resonates with children of the area." 

The design period is expected to take five months. There'll be indoor and outdoor exhibits, a performing arts center and community science space. There are four possible locations under discussion -- one on the east side of bend, one on the west side, a central location and a fourth at the north end of town. 

Kenady Wilson, the museum board's president, said, "We're going to be kicking off a larger capital campaign this fall, after the design phase with Gyroscope is completed."

"We'll be looking at a pretty large capital campaign that involves both individual donors and sponsors, and also grant funding," Wilson added 

So far, organizers say the community has said it wants the museum to feature interactive and play-based learning. The goal is to open the museum to the public in 2026, and re-start offering summer camps in 2024.

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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