An outpouring of community support for Above & Beyond Children’s Museum in downtown Sheboygan has expedited its reopening timeline following a shutdown brought on by extreme water and ice damage.
On Dec. 25, the museum closed indefinitely due to damage from bursting water pipes and sprinkler system valves that affected all four floors of the museum. Following a recent inspection, damage is estimated at $150,000. The museum sustained extensive damage due to the heating and cooling system failing when temperatures plummeted for several days over the holidays.
The basement, which houses staff offices, storage space and event, exhibit and program supplies, sustained the most significant property damage. The first and third floors also had extensive damage. The museum will remain closed until further notice for clean-up and restoration. Memberships have been paused for current members and will resume once the museum reopens.
Although insurance is covering the cost of repairs, the museum is actively seeking donations for general operations due to lost revenue from admissions.
Volunteers will be needed to move furniture, exhibits and supplies once the building and spaces are fully repaired. An anticipated reopening date has yet to be determined but staff and the museum’s board of directors are hoping to have the museum reopened in February.
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“The community support for our beloved museum at this time instills us with the drive and hope needed to reopen the museum as soon as possible,” said Jackie Erdman, the museum’s executive director. “The local support has been outstanding from area businesses and volunteers. The winter months are some of the busiest and we look forward to reopening our doors to local and visiting families for indoor fun.”
To help with museum reopening efforts, Sheboygan’s 3 Sheeps Brewing Co. has chosen the museum as its monthly non-profit partner and will host a family-friendly fundraiser at its taproom. The community is encouraged to attend the Above & Beyond Children’s Museum Taproom Takeover on Jan. 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The festival-style event will feature museum-hosted interactive activities, local vendors, a raffle and volunteer information. The brewery will donate $1 for every pint of 3 Sheeps Pilsner sold during the event and throughout January.
“Above & Beyond Children’s Museum is a huge part of our community, and we are trying to do our part to get them back up and running,” 3 Sheeps Brewing Co. founder and head brewmaster Grant Pauly said. “My family has been a member for years and we know firsthand how important the space is to the children and families of our community.”
The Taproom Takeover is a three-hour event that will feature interactive stations, including a tile decorating activity, sheep-themed story time, handmade ice cream, children’s games and raffles.
Above & Beyond Children’s Museum 30th Anniversary T-shirts will also be available for purchase with proceeds benefiting the museum.
This event is hosted in partnership with community organizations and volunteers including 3 Sheeps Brewing Co. and Play is Healing. Admission is free.
“We wish to extend deep gratitude to the community partners, organizations, businesses and volunteers who have offered their support and assistance as the team navigates this situation,” Erdman said.
Individuals and groups of volunteers have shown their support assisting the staff and board members in various ways. Recently, a group of students from Sheboygan Christian School’s business education class assisted staff in cleaning the museum.
Financial contributions for ABCM can be made online at abkids.org or direct link:abkids.org/get-involved/donate. The Children’s Museum can also accept checks by mail to Above & Beyond Children’s Museum, 902 N. 8th Street, Sheboygan, WI 53081.
Currently, most of the museum’ programming is on hold until further notice. However, some programs are being hosted offsite. The Bring Your Own Baby program – an interactive play experience for children ages two and younger – has been relocated to the Mead Public Library. The public and members are encouraged to follow the museum on social media and visit the website abkids.org for updates and information.