Children's Museum of Walla Walla still on track to close

Board still open to groups with 'workable plan.'

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WALLA WALLA — The doors of the Children’s Museum of Walla Walla are still on track to close Friday, but hope is in the air.

Board members met Tuesday and voted to proceed with the original plan to shut down the struggling organization, said Damien Sinnott, board president.

“However, we are allowing any group that is interested in trying to reopen the museum to present a workable plan to us by the end of September. If a group is going to step forward, they need to have a business plan that gives them a chance of success.”

Sinnott met with a group interested in that option this morning and explained the board’s decision, he said. “I told them, in no uncertain terms, I am rooting for them to come forward with a workable plan to save the museum.”

If no viable ideas are presented by the end of September, it will be his and the board’s obligation to wrap up the organization, Sinnott added.

The museum opened in 2004 and has suffered in recent years from an economy that inhibits attendance and the ability to pay for staff and fresh exhibits, board members have said.

Tara Crain was certain today closure won’t be necessary. Speaking on behalf of the group that met with Sinnott, Crain said they are hoping to give present board members just what they are asking for by the end of next week and minimize the number of days the museum is shuttered.

“People are coming out of the woodwork so far. We’re so excited the community is backing us up. Until today, we weren’t sure exactly what to tell them.”

Today’s meeting clarified what needs to be fully developed to go forward, she explained. “Volunteers, exhibits and grant writing for sustainability.”

The group’s draft plan included those elements and, with direction from Sinnott, it will be able to fine-tune details, Crain said.

Whatever the outcome of that effort, Sinnott and his board members are planning one last bash. The organization will host a free day on Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. to celebrate the eight years of children’s play, Sinnott said. “We would love to see as many folks as have enjoyed the museum in those years.”

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