Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum moving up the streetBy Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | April 23,2013The Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum is moving up the street.
The museum, a project of the Rutland Creative Economy group, announced Monday it will relocate to the former Art and Antiques on Center location at 17 Center St.
“Gus Louras approached us and offered us a great deal on the space, so we’ll be moving this summer,” organizer Chris Ettori said, adding that the museum only has to pay for the utilities on the space. “I guess it’s a lease — it’s rather informal.”
Ettori said they had similar arrangement at the location they have used during the last two summers, half a block down in a former furniture store.
“The difference is, that was an understanding we would just be there during Friday Night Live,” he said. “Here, we intend to be there three to four days a week.”
The announcement comes as the group gears up for its first major fundraiser of the year, a pig roast from 4 to 10 p.m. April 30 that Roots the Restaurant will host.
“There’ll be food, drinks, music and, of course, kids’ entertainment,” Ettori said.
The museum, which until now has only operated one or two days a week seasonally, is working toward opening a permanent facility organizers hope will become a regional destination, similar to the Montshire Museum of Science.
“We’re excited they’re going to have a semi-permanent home,” said Michael Coppinger, executive director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership. “We hope they’re going to be there three or so years as they get bigger and better. This is exactly the demographic we wish to attract to downtown — families.”
The new location is smaller by about 500 square feet, so Ettori said they expect to rotate exhibits more. The museum will be staffed by volunteers, so the schedule will be dictated by volunteer availability. Ettori said they are still recruiting volunteers.
The group also needs to come up with an exact fundraising goal. Ettori said they hoped that with money they have raised previously, he hopes the pig roast will bring cash on hand to about $12,000.
“I don’t know exactly where we are right now, but we’ve done some work already,” he said. “We’re hoping the pig roast will put us over the top.”
In the short run, Ettori said the group wants to pay for the space and “the next level of exhibit.” One notion is to have a sort of model marble quarry.
“Kids could dig out the marble, put it on the train from the quarry,” he said.
Organizers also expect to sit down in the next month with GE and Advanced Animation, a company that makes museum exhibits, to discuss some sort of display on robotics.
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