In 2014, CMC was at a crossroad when the lease on its University Circle building was non-renewed. No feasibility study was needed to tell that re-opening the museum at a new location would be a steep hill to climb. Through hard work, leadership, and the generosity of many donors, CMC was able to reach its capital goal of $10.7 million.
“The CMC capital campaign was one of faith that Cleveland, who cares so deeply for its youngest learners, would support a new home for the museum,” says Executive Director Maria Campanelli.
On November 6, 2017, CMC opened the doors at the new location – the transformed historic Stager Beckwith mansion on Cleveland’s “Millionaire’s Row.” The museum is now home to 40,000 square feet of exhibit space, featuring seven exhibits that promote educational development for children ages birth through 8.
CMC’s first two years in its new home have exceeded expectations, seeing more than double the attendance and five times the membership of the museum’s prior location. This growth has ignited CMC to continue to find ways to be an even greater resource for the community.
Since opening, CMC’s Museum For All program, which lowers the cost of admission from $12 to $2 per person for families receiving government assistance, has grown dramatically in participation. The Museum now welcomes over 14,000 visitors annually through this program — more than four times as many as its prior location. To further increase accessibility within the local community, CMC launched a free Family Pass program for families in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood. The program provides family memberships for underserved families in the adjoining neighborhood.
CMC has also expanded to include sensory-friendly programs and resources that make experiencing the museum more accessible to families with developmental disabilities and special needs. CMC offers Sensory Friendly Time once monthly,
where attendance and sensory input are limited to create a more accommodating atmosphere for these families. The museum also has a permanent Sensory-Friendly Room that provides a private space for families with calming light, sound, and sensory resources. In addition, CMC partners with A Special Wish CLE once monthly to welcome a family with a child living with a life-threatening illness on a day where the museum is closed to the public.
Through a grant from the George Gund Foundation, CMC has completed the process of making improvements to the building and daily operations to reduce its environmental impact, earning the museum a USGBC Platinum LEED certification. The museum has also received support from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to add permeable pavers to its parking lot. This effort will support a healthier rainwater filtration system for the City of Cleveland.