The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota (CMSM) is temporarily furloughing most employees in an effort to reduce expenditures and maintain the long-term viability of the organization. 

Following guidance from Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health, the Museum closed doors to the public on March 15 to help slow the spread of COVID-19. CMSM will remain closed until it is safe to resume operations. 

CMSM is a cultural nonprofit organization that relies on revenue from admissions and memberships, which have diminished during the closure. “Our employees make the Museum experience outstanding for all of our visitors and members and we hope to be able to bring them back as soon as possible. These are certainly unprecedented times and we had to take this drastic step for the long-term success of the organization,” stated Louise Dickmey- er, CEO. “CMSM is an important regional asset and we will do all we can to regroup and come out of this stronger than ever before.” 

CMSM employees will be compensated through April 5th, at which point they will become eligible to apply for unemployment. CMSM will continue to pay medical benefits for eligible employees. 

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on all museums – especially the staff who deliver these vital resources to their communities. Every children’s museum across the nation has closed it’s doors, contributing to an estimated $33 million per day loss across the entire museum industry. Last week, the Association of Children’s Museums joined seven other associations to request relief funding and economic stimulus for museums. CMSM is request- ing donors to continue their financial support and contact their state and federal legislators to ensure cultural institutions are included in this vital legislation. 

Despite being closed, CMSM has continued to provide quality educational content through online channels. This new initiative, titled CMSMatHome, includes activities families can do at home while practicing social distancing. New content is added daily on and via social media channels.