The Museum is preparing to open at its new location on the Capitol Square. Its executive director Ruth Shelly says the award-winning museum takes pride in its effort to recycle, repurpose, reclaim and restore. They have emphasized sustainability since 1999.
“Since then we’ve expanded that to focus on local people, local products, and local processes that involve the community so that we can take the best care of our visitors but also the planet.”
Shelly says they use local materials that come from within 100 miles of Madison — making purchases such as old gym flooring, bleachers, cleaning supplies, old beauty parlor benches, and the building itself, which is an old Montgomery Wards store. That leadership, and their eco-friendly exhibits, has earned the museum the MetLife Foundation and Association of Children’s Museums “Promising Practice” award. Shelly says they believe in going beyond green.
“In the past people felt ‘Oh, if a product is natural, it’s green,’ and it is green to a certain extent. But if you use bamboo and you use fossil fuels to ship it over from Asia it really mitigates the green intent of the product. We feel that using a natural product that was produced locally is the most green, the deepest green of all.”
Shelly says using local talent gives them a great sense of pride, with over 15-thousand people having been involved in some way in the construction of the new museum. She says local people also offer a great flavor of local community and sense of ownership. The grand opening is set for the 14th.
NOTE: The new location at 100 N. Hamilton St. is just a couple blocks away from the old location.
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