BUFFALO, N.Y. — Months before the Explore & More Children’s Museum is set to open, a sizeable donation from a beloved source is prompting a name change.
Officials with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation announced Wednesday it is providing a $6 million challenge grant to the museum. In return, the facility will be known as the Explore & More Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Children’s Museum.
Half of the money will support the ongoing construction while the other half will be allocated for an endowment fund to help keep the facility going for years to come.
Elected leaders on hand say the state has already invested about $11 million in the project designed to boost the economy and help bolster the region as a destination for families from across the region.
Museum leaders say the challenge grant will allow the foundation to match future contributions from public, private and individual contributors.
"[It] will bring families and diverse cultures and backgrounds together in an amazing, inviting and welcoming space. It is especially appropriate that we are making this announcement on Valentine's Day which really illustrates in many respects Mr. Wilson's 54-year-old love affair with this community," said David Egner, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation president and CEO.
"The kids. This is who we do it for, right. I mean, we talk about a children's museum, we're adults. We're excited about it, but it's really about those kids and what we're trying to do with those kids," said Michelle Urbanczyk, Explore & More CEO.
The museum’s leadership is hoping for a ribbon cutting and soft opening later this year.