Closed for 13 months: What will look different at the Betty Brinn Children's Museum re-opening

Betty Brinn Children's Museum
Posted at 5:32 AM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 16:40:02-04

If you can believe it, the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum has been closed for 13 months.


More than 30 employees will finally get back to work next month, when the museum officially re-opens on May 20.

We spoke to the Museum’s director about what to expect the next time you head in.

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Executive Director Brian King shares what he misses most, “The noise of learning, discovery and exploration.”

All of those noises came to a halt during the Museum’s 25th year.

“A children’s museum without children kind of loses its soul”

“A children’s museum without children kind of loses its soul,” King says poignantly.

But there was no other choice left by June but to remain closed and slim down staff by two-thirds. King says shrunk from 45 full and part time employees to about 14, adding it was, “An incredibly traumatic thing for any organization to do.”

As one of the last museums to reopen, staff are slowly being hired back.

CDC guidance and the City’s reopening guidelines allowed leaders to make the May 20 reopening announcement with some modifications, “We will likely not have every one of these props out here were going to have smaller numbers but things like the flowers we have to think about.”

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Staff will also close off small areas to deep clean throughout visitor hours, which will be slimmed down to morning and afternoon reservations.

Betty Brinn Children's Museum prepares for reopening on May 20

There will be some familiar pop-up exhibits on its first day back open, including “Lets Play Railway” and “Cardboard City.”

King shares more future missions the museum hopes to roll out soon.

Betty Brinn Children's Museum prepares for reopening on May 20

In a normal year, King says the Betty Brinn Children’s museum sees about 200,000 visitors a year. They make about $2.5 to 3.5 million a year.

This past year, their ledger fell to $2 million. Most of the money came from fundraising and grant money.

In five to seven years, Betty Brinn Children's museum plans to move with the Public Museum to the growing Deer District in Downtown Milwaukee.

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