GREAT FALLS – The future of the Children’s Museum of Montana in Great Falls is uncertain right now as their lease is coming to an end.
For 20 years, they have been paying the city one dollar per year to lease the building, but with the lease ending in the fall, their future is up in the air.
“It has an automatic renewal clause to it, so they’re able to lease it with some discussion with the commission for another five years,” said Greg Doyon, Great Falls city manager.
Until those discussions happen, the museum is working to raise enough money to purchase, renovate, and relocate into a permanent home.
“We know at some point we’re going to need a permanent building, whether that’s this one or another one, we know it’s coming. We just want to get out in front of that because we understand that the Great Falls community really needs us here,” said Morgan Mitchell, the executive director of the museum.
They’re asking for 3.5 million dollars.
“Unfortunately with the closure of the Natatorium, and the possibility of us losing our building, the family-friendly options in Great Falls are just dwindling. We really are fighting as hard as we can to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Mitchell.
But, if the museum loses the building, the city is looking to take over that extra space.
“We’re short on office space, and safe court space in the Civic Center and we’re looking at our options and obviously having that building on campus makes sense, logistically, in terms of using the facility that we already have. Of course, that means that they would need to look for another spot,” said Doyon.
And now, the museum is looking to the community for help.
“If you can’t donate large chunks of money, come in and see us. Buy a coffee, we need support. We need people coming in our doors. We love seeing the kiddos,” said Mitchell.
The museum will be hosting a spaghetti dinner on September 23 from 4 to 9 p.m., at $10 a plate.
Reporting by Kaley Collins for MTN News