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Giving Thanks and Feeling Grateful…

By Sally Miskavige, Grand Forks Children’s Museum Board Member

As the holiday approaches and we gather with family and friends, I am reminded of how thankful I am for this community, our many volunteers and donors and all those unsung heroes who simply show up when needed and pitch in to help make this project a success.

As I look back over the last year, I am both grateful and amazed at the progress that we’ve made…

  • Raised over $21 million, nearly half of the projected money needed to build the Children’s Museum, thanks to our dedicated donors, the great state of North Dakota, numerous grants, and our local Grand Forks City Council.

  • Hired two outstanding employees for the museum and have settled into our new offices.

  • Selected local construction companies who are in the process of creating timelines and ordering materials to begin building (hopefully in 2024).

  • Hired the exhibit design company to create exhibits for the museum.

  • Held a successful second annual Full STEAM Ahead with over 8,000 visitors.

  • Visited multiple children’s museums around the country, obtaining the ‘best of’ ideas, and establishing collaboration with the entire network of children’s museums.

  • Brought our messaging to the surrounding communities, as this museum will serve Grand Forks and all the surrounding communities.

  • Held several successful fundraisers including the Tom Brousseau concert, TAG – the Art of Giving, and the Oxford Realty Annual Golf outing.

  • Added new Board members Meredith Quinn and Alexandria Quanrud, who are leading our newly formed Building and Exhibit committees, respectively.

There are so many who have contributed this last year, too many to name… yet some stand out for their exceptional efforts: Dean Opp – whose indefatigable spirit, vision and leadership has made this project both fun, exciting and successful; Kim Woods and Maura Tanabe – for their fundraising genius and work to represent the museum across so many regions; Karna Loyland for her genius ability to provide great consulting advice on finances, scheduling and tying everything together, Mike Opp for his ongoing support and donations and his successful golf outing to benefit the museum; Carmen Wald for her work to draft and submit grants; Hillary Kempenich- for her vision and artistic contributions; the entire board of the Grand Forks Children’s Museum for their dedication, expertise and wisdom; and so many more: our Local Legislators, City Leadership, Adam Kemp, Hanna, Mrs. Robin, Sarah Dingnan, Spaced Out Boone, Sheila Dalgliesh, Katrina Pettis, the UND faculty who assists us with our vision and with STEAM-oriented projects, Dakota Science, Minot Discovery Center, Bismarck’s Gateway to Science…and so many more.

As I begin preparations for our holiday meal, I am both grateful and thankful for the support of this community, our museum friends, the many supporters of this project and those who have silently contributed to our success. I am also grateful for my family, who give me both patience and the courage to move forward. They are truly the light of my life.

Today and every day I am thankful for the many blessings in my life… Wishing everyone a joyous and blessed holiday.

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