Children's Museum receives its biggest donation yet

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Fairbanks Children's Museum received a generous gift from the Usibelli Coal Mine. For almost eight years the Fairbanks Children's Museum has provided kids in the community a way to play and learn in a fun environment. Now they have the opportunity to expand their teaching tools. Thanks to a 75 thousand dollar gift from the Usibelli Coal Mine the museum will be able to add a new climbing exhibit.

Fairbanks Children's Museum Executive, Director Brenda Riley, and Usibelli Vice-President of Public Relations, Lisa Herbert, both say this is the largest monetary donation the museum has yet to receive. Riley says the gift was a pleasant surprise.

"I'm actually still a little bit in disbelief and it makes such a huge difference for an organization that's really just, has been operating for about eight years now. And we started with a 500 dollar budget and here we are receiving such a huge gift that's going to really allow us to churn our exhibits around," Riley said.

Herbert explains the exhibit will challenge kids to think outside the box, much like the workers at the coal mine.

"I thought, well this would be a really unique partnership between the children's museum and the coal mine because where can kids think creatively as they are climbing through these spatial configurations, how do they get from point A to point B, and so it's just a really great tie between both of our organizations," Herbert said.

Riley says the museum is still in the early planning stages for the new climbing exhibit which will incorporate ceiling space and feature local materials that highlight botanical, industrial, and cultural concepts.

The Fairbanks Children's Museum hopes to begin building the new exhibit in 2019.