POTSDAM Plans to construct a childrens museum are moving full steam ahead as exhibit curricula are finalized and fundraising efforts continue.
The North Country Childrens Museum plans to open the doors of a physical location in fall 2015.
A site has not yet been determined, but board members are eyeing Old Snell Hall, a building between Elm and Main streets that once was occupied by Clarkson University.
The board already rents office space in Old Snell Hall, and organizers are determined the museum should be in a historic building in downtown Potsdam.
Meanwhile, the Museum Without Walls program continues to expand.
The traveling exhibit appears at area festivals and will begin weekly activities at the Clarkson University Bookstore in the fall. Soon, it will start visiting area schools.
The mobile exhibits are a testing ground for the full-fledged versions that one day will occupy the permanent museum.
Its a chance for us to test our curriculum, to test out the programming we are developing, said Sharon V. Williams, museum co-founder and president.
The museum will have 10 permanent exhibits, three of which have been fully funded.
It will take $750,000 to develop all the exhibits; $192,000 has been raised so far.
The level of support has been extraordinary, said Melissa Wagner Telford, who oversees the museums fund development and is its only paid employee.
Exhibits include the Akwesasne Mohawk Longhouse, an interactive look at Native American culture, and Kid Power, a fitness-based series of games and activities.
Robot Zone, an art studio and an invention center also are in the works, as is a two-story maple tree climbing sculpture that will link all of the exhibits.
Area schoolteachers and professors have been tapped to help design exhibit curricula in their areas of expertise.
The current focus is finding high-level donors those looking to join the founders circle by chipping in $1,000 or more to make the plan happen on schedule.
Board members did not reveal the estimated cost of renovating a building to suit the museums needs.
Ms. Williams said the museum aims to fill an educational-entertainment niche in St. Lawrence County.
Theres a real need for families to have other kinds of activities for their kids, she said.
By partnering with influential organizations like the countys four colleges and Canton-Potsdam Hospital, as well as providing fun, educational activities for families, the board hopes to create an institution that will be sustainable enough to last for generations.
Our strategic plan isnt five years, our strategic plan isnt 10 years, Ms. Telford said. Our strategic plan is 50 years. Were trying to create a center of connectivity here.