21 January 2021 // Announcements

JRA to Design New Children’s Museum of Eau Claire

JRA is honored to provide master planning and design for the new Children’s Museum of Eau Claire (CMEC). The museum’s Downtown Eau Claire location will increase the museum’s footprint, open doors for new partnerships in STEAM education, and further its mission of inspiring children and grown-ups to learn through play.

Groundbreaking for the 26,000-square-foot museum will take place in late spring or early summer in preparation for a 2022 opening. JRA’s master plan and design for the new Children’s Museum of Eau Claire includes state-of-the-art exhibits, programming, and outdoor space, with exhibit fabrication provided by Chicago Scenic Studios. The site will also feature a preschool.

Design Children's Museum of Eau Claire

Rendering of Itty Bitty City area

Last week, Children’s Museum of Eau Claire received its largest capital campaign gift to-date: $500,000 from the Pablo Foundation. Pablo Foundation’s Executive Director, MaiVue Xiong, comments, “We believe education comes in all forms, from traditional classrooms to learning through play. We are excited to partner with the CMEC to not only build upon its success in creating educational experiences through play, but to extend these types of learning experiences to as many people in our community as possible, regardless of their socioeconomic status.”

CMEC is a leader in serving low to moderate income families. More than 1,400 children from low to moderate income households participate in CMEC’s Play for All membership program. Since the launch of this program in 2015, and because of generous private philanthropy, CMEC gave back $217,482 to the community through subsidizing these Play for All memberships.

Design Children's Museum of Eau Claire

Rendering of Body Smarts area

MaiVue further comments, “While education is the focal point of the Children’s Museum, we are excited that it will be incorporating other major focus areas of the Foundation, such as health and the arts, into its projects, exhibit, programs, and events.”

“In a short period of time, Pablo Foundation has established itself as a philanthropic leader in our community, and we’re so grateful to have this support for our project,” said Michael McHorney, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire. McHorney further shared, “The vision and approach of the Pablo Foundation board of directors is inspiring and enhances philanthropy in our community.”

In addition to JRA and Chicago Scenic Studios, members of the team include lead architect, Malcolm Holzman of Steinberg Hart. Malcolm’s work is world renowned and he is viewed as a pioneer in architecture. Steinberg Hart will partner with all local engineers on the planning of the project including: Erickson Roed & Associates for structural engineering, MEP Associates for mechanical engineering, and Ayres Associates for civil engineering. Local firm, River Valley Architects, will also provide consultation and support to the project, with Market & Johnson and Hoeft Builders forming a joint venture to serve as general contractors.

While planning of the project continues during the next six months, CMEC will continue focusing on forging new partnerships and building more support across the community – from individuals, volunteers, businesses and foundations.

For more information, visit Children’s Museum of Eau Claire’s website, www.ChildrensMuseumEC.com.

Design Children's Museum of Eau Claire

Featured image: rendering of Explore and Discover area.