By Jan Worth-Nelson
A new $400,000 grant from the Flint-based Hagerman Foundation to the Sloan Museum of Discovery will provide funding for a new early childhood gallery, and brings the Flint science and history museum to within $2 million of its $27.6 million fundraising goal, Sloan Executive Director Todd Slisher announced today.
The latest donation brings the Hagerman Foundation’s contributions to the museum to a total of $1 million, according to marketing director Caitie O’Neill.
The museum broke ground for a $26 million renovation in June, 2019, and expects to reopen at its Kearsley Street location in the Flint Cultural Center in 2022. In the meantime, it is offering programs and exhibits at the Courtland Center Mall, though access has been limited by the pandemic.
“We are very grateful for the Hagerman Foundation’s faith in the positive impact that the Sloan Museum of Discovery will have on our community,” Slisher said.
The new gallery, to be called “Hagerman Street,” is being developed in collaboration with Genesee County Head Start as “a state of the art resource for play-based learning for ages 0 to 6–and designed to prepare children for kindergarten,” according to a press release describing the plan.
The gallery will allow young visitors to “explore, play and learn in their own kid-sized community.” Push carts will provide transportation down Hagerman Street where “kids can shop for healthy food choices in the deli and grocery store,” prepare meals, care for family members, do chores in the house, garden and garage. There will be a life-sized ambulance and a “pocket park.”
Construction of the building continues with many new exhibits in development, according to Sloan officials. In process are a hands-on Science Discovery Hall, a Vehicle City Gallery exhibiting historic vehicles formerly housed at Buick Gallery.
Three new learning lab classrooms will increase capacity for field trip programs from about 60,000 students a year to about 90,000. More information is available at 810-237-3450 or at sloanlongway.org.
The Hagerman Foundation was founded in 2014 “to brighten and improve the lives of future generations,” and “to revitalize the city of Flint and surrounding communities by partnering with organizations, programs and projects that support the growth of individuals and culture,” according to its website.
EVM Editor Jan Worth-Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.