EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – A popular family attraction in the Metro East is struggling to stay open.

To keep admission fees affordable, the Edwardsville Children’s Museum in the historic Leclaire neighborhood has been dipping into its savings every year since the Great Recession began.

“A lot of our donors and funders kind of backed away from giving as much to the museum. A lot of the cuts with the field trips and the school districts have really taken its toll on the Children’s Museum because that was one of our revenue sources,” Museum Board President McKenzie Breihan explains.

The museum operates on a modest $90,000 annual budget. The museum board has launched a $100,000 campaign to meet immediate needs this year and provide a long-term cushion.

“So it’s not like we are really far off from our budget but it is depleting our savings account so if we were to raise that $100,000, I would foresee that we would be around for a good eight to ten years,” Breihan said.

The museum has raised about 11 percent of the goal in the first few weeks of the campaign, thanks to individuals and organization. It hopes to have the full amount by the spring.

The museum board is also hoping to attract sponsors to cover expenses of specific exhibits, such as the cafe and market where kids can shop for play food and serve their parents and grandparents.

“That exhibit takes a lot of money from our bottom line just because we have to sanitize, we have to disinfect all the toys that are in that area,” Breihan added. “We want to make sure that that food stays nice for those kids to play with and that they have the plates and they have the blenders and they have the refrigerators and everything that feels like real life.”


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