museum musings

This Blog is written by Collette Michaud,

CEO and a Founder of the Children's

Museum of the Sonoma County.  


And Lauren Hodge, Program Manager

We want to hear from you. Suggestions, ideas, comments are all welcome!

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Construction Update
by Collette Michaud on 

We're happy to announce that construction has begun on the Museum!

Here's how the Museum looked on August 5th, the first day of construction.

Within minutes, the bulldozers started transforming things.

Team meeting with BASE Landscape Architecture, AE Nelson Construction Company, and Scientific Arts Studio

Lots of work has gone into...the ground over the past six weeks.  Storm drains, electrical and irrigation trenches have been dug and then covered up again.  You can see a blue storm drain pipe sticking up in the foreground.

Meanwhile, Western Builders started construction on Ella's Art Studio and Dow Event Center. 

Unfortunately, due to dry rot, not much of it could be saved. 
Firewood anyone?

Two weeks ago Romtek, out of Oregon, began work on the outdoor bathroom.  Starting work on a Saturday in the pouring rain, these guys have been nonstop ever since, only taking Sundays off.  Needless to say, it's tough keeping up with them!

The guy in charge is Al, dressed in the orange shirt, and the guy standing next to him is the electrician, Don, who also happens to be 79 years young and loves to Karaoke sing!  We will miss the wonderful attitude and great energy of all these guys when they leave. 

On the inside, our exhibit designers, Michael McGinnis and James Yonts, began work on the full-scale mock-up of the Science and Imagination Gallery.

Within just a month, these super talented artists turned a very boring room into a Sonoma County main street complete with train station, victorian, tree house, hardware store and ....

giant ROBOT!

We also held our first WONDERkids meeting to hear feedback and ideas from kids ranging in age from eight to fourteen.  Tons of great ideas came out of this meeting like making the robots feet magnetic and putting a periscope in the tree house.

For a minute by minute status on the construction, check out our live webcam!

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New Board Members!
by Collette Michaud on 

I'm thrilled to announce four new board members - Ninotchka Vicini, Josh Moore, Dr. George Bisbee and Jessica Sutton.  I am deeply grateful for their commitment and belief in the Children's Museum of Sonoma County. 

Please see the press release for more information about each new board member. 

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Museum Update
by Collette Michaud on 

Well, it's been a whole year since I updated the BLOG and lots has happened!  I'll do my best to update you on everything.

In May, we fully participated in the Human Race and raised over $18,000 for Museum operations!  I wore a feather in my cap for every person who donated at least $50 to my team!
M Studio Dance Company performed along the way with a delightful dance number.  We were so happy and proud to be a part of such a worthy fundraiser for the entire nonprofit community.  We even won "Best use of color" for our T-shirt Design.

On June 1st, we had our official Groundbreaking Festival at the Museum on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far. Even with the high temps, it was a great event with over 400 people in attendance.  Mayor Scott Bartely, Supervisor Efren Carrillo and Supervisor Shirlee Zane spoke on behalf of the Museum along with the past Board President Herb Williams.  Barry Friedman from Friedman's Home Improvement, Leslie Horak from Pacific Gas and Electric, Nate and Kate Bisbee and Gordon Dow also helped dig up the first bit of ground.  

On Thursday, July 4, we participated in the annual Red,White and Boom celebration at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. Once again, we brought the Museum-on-the-Go and launched another successful Mentos Explosion. Check out the video of it HERE.

A huge Thank You to the Active 20/30 Club of Santa Rosa for once again making the Museum the beneficiary of this wonderful community event.

Scientific Arts Studio and Base Land Architects have been hard at work on the wonderful exhibits in Mary's Garden. Here are just a few pictures from the work they are doing for the Museum.

Michael McGinnis and James Yonts, our interior exhibit designers have been hard at work designing the interior layout and exhibits for the main Science and Imagination Gallery.  Here are just a few images.  To see more click HERE.

We are excited to announce that the city of Santa Rosa approved permits for Mary's Garden and Ella's Arts Studio and Dow Event Center! 

And after an exhaustive process, we are closing in on signing a contract with a local landscape design firm to begin construction on the Mary's Garden by mid July. 
Western Builders of Santa Rosa has been working on Ella's Art Studio and Dow Event Center as a Design Build Contractor for the past several months.

And speaking of which, I'd like to thank Western Builders and BUR Promotions for the beautiful new sign we have in front of the Museum now!  Together they donated all the materials and labor for the sign. We are so grateful for their generosity!  And glad that people can now find the Museum much more easily!

With all the advances at the Museum, the Board elected new officers to carry us through the next stages in Museum development. Mark Dolan of Medtronic was elected President.  Heidi Friedman was elected Vice President. Jason Glazier from Ameriprise Financial Investmesnts was elected Treasurer. And stay tuned for announcements of new baord members as well in the next blog!  The Board is growing and changing right along with the Museum.

Finally, I'd like to talk about an upcoming super fun and delicious event:  The Wine Country Big Q on Saturday, July 13 from 1 - 5pm at the Sonoma Academy in Santa Rosa

The Children's Museum is the main beneficiary of this event so please click here to learn more and buy tickets.  You'll have the opportunity to eat all the BBQ you can and benefit a worth cause at the same time. 
we're also selling raffle tickets to win one of two baskets full of delectable sauces, rubs and a cooking lesson with award winning  Chef Jim Modesitt!  Each basket is valued at over $200! To buy raffle tickets, please call 546-4069 or email Eleanor.

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New Concept Illustration
by Collette Michaud on 

I'm excited about our new Mary's Garden Concept illustration done by Maren Van Duhn at Scientific Arts Studio with the help of BASE Land Architects. It's absolutely beautiful and really give you the feeling of actually being there!
So many exciting things are happening.  Check out the Plans for New Museum page to see more images including this one.

I want to once again thank the Active 20/30 Club of Santa Rosa for making us their primary beneficiary at last week's July 4th
celebration called Red, White and Boom!  It was a total Blast - literally and figuratively.  We did our first large scale Mentos explosion for a crowd of at least 2000 people.  Next year we plan on making it even bigger and more exciting.  Thanks to everyone who came out to see us that day!

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We LOVE being encumbered!
by Collette Michaud on 

I'm so happy to report that the Children's Museum of Sonoma County is now encumbered!  What does that mean?  After a year of very hard work, lots of surveys, inspections, and deft legal work, the children's museum has obtained a city permit and CEQA exemption.  And because of all this, the State Department of Parks and Recreation has now entitled us to the rest of the grant money ($1,800,000) we were awarded for Mary's Garden.
We are so excited and thank grateful to everyone who helped make this important day happen! 
Behind me is the Childrnen's Museum Board and Staff.
From left to right:
Theresa Giacomino, Douglas Kay, Brete Harrison, Bert Bangsberg, Jason Glazier, Collette Michaud, Mark Dolan, Ashle Crocker, Matt Williams, Diane Zimmerman, Eleanor Gorman and Julio Cacers

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PG&E donated $100,000 to CMOSC!
by Collette Michaud on 

PG&E donates $100,000!

I'm excited to let everyone know that PG&E has generously donated $100,000 to CMOSC!  I am so grateful and excited to have PG&E as a partner in the creation of a children's museum for Sonoma County! 

For more information, check out the Press Release!

And check out this sweet write up in the PG&E Newsletter!
Thank you to

Justin Real, Government Relations Representative
Jimi Harris, Manager, Community Engagement & Volunteerism

Leslie Horak, Community Relations  



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CMOSC named "Best Imagination Center"
by Collette Michaud on 

I found out last week that the Children's Museum of Sonoma County was named "Best Imagination Center" by the readers of the NorthBay Bohemian for the second year in a row!  Thank you to all the Boho readers for your support and encouragement.  And tank you to the CMOSC staff for all the hard work and love that they put into making CMOSC so WONDERful!

Be sure and pick up a copy of the Boho's "Best Of" issue coming out in April!

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Medical Mysteries at Children's Museum of Sonoma County
by Collette Michaud on 

Matt Villano, Healdsburg resident, father, and writer for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a great article about tomorrow's "Medical Mysteries" event. This is our third Lawrence Hall of Science Festival at the site - all of which have been fabulously attended.

Click Here to see SF Chronicle article.

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Site Plan Update!
by Collette Michaud on 

Last December 1, 2012, after an extensive RFP process, we hired XS|LA Land Design to develop Mary's Garden.  For the past two months, they have worked hard with input from our Site Committee to create a beautiful new site plan.  Check out the new site plan and elevations here!  And please let us know what you think.

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Wells Fargo Donation!
by Collette Michaud on 

The Children's Museum of Sonoma

County th

For more information click here. 

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