By Sally Miskavige, Grand Forks Children’s Museum Board Member
One person continues to inspire us as our planning continues and we prepare to break ground on the Grand Forks Children’s Museum – and that is Mae Marie Blackmore. Over the last 30 years, there have been many efforts to bring a Children’s Museum to Grand Forks and we can credit much of our good fortune to the foundational work that was completed by long time Grand Forks resident, Mae Marie Blackmore. Mae Marie passed recently yet through her final days she was a strong proponent for our effort to build the Grand Forks Children’s Museum.
A tribute from her friend, Mr. Bruce Gjovig stated…
“Mae Marie became a pioneer and a national leader in early childhood education nationwide on college campuses and in North Dakota. From the start, Mae Marie advocated for a greatly expanded nursery program adding early childhood education to help children be successful.”
“Play-based learning was a strategy that Mae Marie utilized, a strategy focused on students learning on their own with the teacher as an observer and guide, but the teacher could move to the role of leader as needed. She emphasized that the importance of social and emotional lives of children came first, over pre-academics on the first rung on the educational ladder.”
“Mae Marie’s leadership led her to serve as a founding member of the Governor’s Task Force on Early Childhood Education in 1972. She was a leader in writing the Day Care Rules and Regulations for the State of North Dakota. She helped organize the North Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children, also serving as founding president. For many years she served as a validator for the National center accreditation program.”
Mae Marie was a visionary in early childhood education. She advocated building a Children’s Science Center twenty years ago but was thwarted by various challenges. Mae Marie recently stated, regarding the Grand Forks Children’s Museum, that “it was her greatest regret it never happened and was rooting for us”
Bruce Gjovig, started a dedication fund at the Grand Forks Children's Museum in Mae Marie’s honor. If you would like to contribute to this fund, please click here or send your check to:
Grand Forks Children’s Museum
P.O. Box 5126,
Grand Forks, ND 58206
Add a note that this donation supports the Mae Marie Blackmore fund. Once the museum is completed, we will have a special dedication to honor Mae Marie’s vision and her devotion to Grand Forks and children’s education.
Mae Marie Blackmore was a great woman, a visionary, an inspiration, a leader in childhood education, and a trusted teacher and friend to many of the Grand Forks residents. Single-handedly, she improved the lives and educational opportunities for many children in our Grand Forks area. Rest in peace, dear lady, knowing that your vision of a Children’s Museum is quickly becoming reality.