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Grants – Essential to our Community Projects

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

Over the past few weeks, the board members of the Grand Forks Children’s Museum have applied for three financial grants from local organizations: Iseminger Endowment of the Arts, the Women’s Foundation Grant and 2023 Community Opportunity Grant, with a fourth grant due to the state for Destination Development (tourism) in late August.

Grants are typically monies provided by a charitable organization, private foundation, state, local or federal departments to aid or further a cause or ideology that is important to the granting organization’s fundamental premise, or to provide a public service or in some cases, to stimulate the economy.

It is both amazing and gratifying to see board members and volunteers who have come together to complete these grants for the Grand Forks Children’s Museum, as it takes a truly valiant effort. I applaud all the local organizations who have dedicated staff who seek out and complete these grant opportunities, as this work often goes underappreciated. Our team has a lot of volunteers and board members who assist in our day-to-day needs, yet in this case, special thanks to: Carmen, Karna, Maura, and the entire grant team for taking the lead on these important grant requests.

We are excited about these grant requests and are grateful to the sponsoring organizations for their consideration. Approval of these grant requests will provide our community with the opportunity to learn, discover, have fun, and stimulate the imagination.

Here is a brief overview of the grants that have submitted:

Iseminger Endowment of the Arts - Grant Request (Music)

“See a Performer, Be a Performer”

(an exhibit at 2023 Full STEAM Ahead)

As part of our Full Steam Ahead (FSA) event, ‘See a Performer, Be a Performer’ will create an opportunity for participants to experience the joy of music through their own self-discovery. This is a unique opportunity to learn to play an instrument, under the trained guidance of a professional. Music is a universal art form, as every society and culture has music in some form. Music can express an emotion and is one of the ultimate forms of creativity. This program will be free to the public and will serve as an opportunity to try a musical instrument. For children, music can be a pivotal and essential part of their education. Our goal is to create the magical spark of interest in a simple, fun, and non-judgmental environment. Mrs. Riveland, the leader of the Airoso Music Academy, has chosen an instrument and song that will create a simplified means of both learning a musical instrument and playing a song. While there is a learning curve, each participant will learn in their own way and at their own pace, and this exhibit is structured to create a successful conclusion, while instilling individual pride. By exposing children to music at an early age, the ‘See a Performer, Be a Performer’ station hopes to spark interest in music education and further a child’s music exploration.

Women’s Foundation Grant

“Picturing Girls in STEAM”

(an exhibit at 2023 Full STEAM Ahead)

This proposed project is to develop an exhibit called "Picturing Women in STEAM" at the upcoming Full STEAM Ahead event. This grant is requested to assist in creating an exhibit to empower, engage and excite girls to pursue STEAM. We have already ordered the Smithsonian Museum series “Picturing Women Inventors,” a series of eight posters that explore the inventions of nineteen highly accomplished American women. Astronauts, computer pioneers, and businesswomen join athletes, engineers and even teenagers are in this remarkable group of inventors. We will staff this area with qualified women to engage with the visitors and conduct both the curriculum and mission of this exhibit.

This event will provide a hands-on experience for women and girls to be able to get an idea of what it is like to be involved in a STEAM related area. One of the main goals with this project is to inform women and girls about what different STEAM careers are available, where to find resources to further a career in a STEAM field, and to create an interest in young minds to STEAM opportunities. Our goal is to further breakdown that stigma that women and girls are not found in STEAM careers.

2023 Community Opportunity Grant

Full STEAM Ahead

(2023 Full STEAM Ahead)

The Grand Forks Children’s Museum is hosting a fun, interactive learning fair or “pop-up” Children’s Museum for one week, called Full STEAM Ahead (FSA). We plan to have “Learning Stations” that will be always open, as well as “Special Programs” that will be available during scheduled times. Some of the learning stations that we plan to have will include our Imagination Playground Blue Blocks, as well as a new addition called Imagination Dinosaur Bones. We also have rented an exhibit, Motion Mania, from Ontario Science Center. We also plan to include an artistic cardboard maze, new in 2023.

We are still working on our learning station plans, with some potential examples being the Soil Tunnel Stations, Train Station, Tongue Drum Garden Area, Paper Airplane/Rocket Launch Zone, Thaumatrope Play Area, Paleontologist Dig Station, Women Inventors Area, and an art exhibit brought to you by NDMOA Summer Camp. Another learning station concept is the Quiet Learning Station, in partnership with the GF, EGF and GFAFB libraries.

Our Special Programs are ones that could really be enhanced by the help of this grant. We would like to include musical art. Arioso Music Academy will participate and we plan to add Lifesong Family Music. Potentially, with some assistance and partnership, we could organize some musical performances from groups in our area during special times. We are serious about the A in STEAM. In addition to the special art programming, we also have programming planned with NDSU Extension.

We will carry this out under the expertise of Dean Opp, Arioso Music Academy, the entire Grand Forks Children’s Museum Board of Directors & our hundreds of volunteers. With our experience from 2022 we feel well prepared to organize another amazing event. The opportunities for discovery, enjoyment, learning, and fun are endless. Full STEAM Ahead is free to all participants. With the planned STEAM exhibits, pop-ups and special programming, the attendees will have the opportunity to explore, try new things, learn, experience hands-on events and will have the chance to enjoy the endless fun of self-exploration.

Destination Development

(Tourism grant request)

The Destination Development grant is still being developed, however, is a request for financial support from the state for the capital campaign to build the Grand Forks Children’s Museum. This is a tourism request, as this museum will draw tourists from the region, state, and surrounding areas.


We are grateful to the private and public organizations, as well as the government agencies. Their support will assist in the campaign to build the Grand Forks Children’s Museum.


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