Fredericksburg Parent

March 2014

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12 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • March 2014 T wenty years ago, Fredericksburg resident doris Ann Sullivan had a dream: a children's museum in Fredericksburg for her grandchildren. "doris Ann worked tirelessly on getting the ball rolling," says Mindi Webster, past president of the Fredericksburg Area Service League (FASL), an early supporter of Sullivan's plan. "We had an American Girl doll tea, an outdoor program on flight and put on the children's portion of the 225th anniversary celebration of Fredericksburg's founding," remembers Webster. Children's Museum Coming to Town Twenty Years and Many Moms Make Dream a Reality A Dream Deferred Sullivan partnered with local organizations (FASL—in its first year at the time) and raised funds, which she eventually donated to the Fredericksburg Area Museum in hopes of a continued children's program. However, she was never able to secure a bricks and mortar location. Without a permanent location, the children's museum dream went on hold. A New Vision In 2010, a new group of moms picked up the vision. Childhood friends Jessica Halberg Beringer, Jenny kelsey dePuy, Christine Palumbo Garman and Emily Williams had several girls-night dinners that led to the founding of the Explore It! Children's Museum board. Shortly thereafter, kate duMont, Brooke kingsley and kirsten Snead added their talents to the group. The women did extensive research around the state and eventually created a series of Museum on the Go! exhibits that traveled to many area events. After several years of fundraising and location research, the committee found a new partner with the resources to make their dream a reality: The Children's Museum of Richmond An Amazing Journey In the next few months, the Children's Museum of Richmond will open the first Fredericksburg area children's museum facility in Eagle Village. Fredericksburg Explore It! moms, Jessica Halberg Beringer, Christine Palumbo Garman, kirsten Snead, and Emily Williams sat down with Fredericksburg Parent and Family last month and shared their amazing journey with us. Q: When you started with the original concept, what was the vision? Williams: What inspired me originally were my extensive travels around the u.S. with my husband, musician keller Williams, and our two young children. For many years, before our kids were in school, we would travel together for weeks at a time on rented tour buses and we would wake up in various cities around the country looking for things to do with our kids during the day. We visited over 40 children's museums during that time frame. Garman: My vision really came from wanting a place for all families and all children to learn and play together. As an early childhood special educator, I see a huge gap in safe, fun places for families of all types and children of all skill levels to play. Young children learn through play and I just felt that Fredericksburg needed a place for children to explore safely with their families BY LEIGH AnnE VAn dOREn

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