The Kidzeum of Health and Science in Springfield - a children’s museum promoting science education through exhibits -- will temporarily close, just two years after opening.
The temporary closure stems from a lack of revenue and strict reopening guidelines caused by COVID-19.
With a significant drop in fundraising, and no money coming in from ticket sales, regular admissions, and birthday parties, the museum has struggled.
Executive Director Leah Wilson said children’s museums are being hit harder than others.
“It could be difficult for children's museums to navigate and survive if they’re not able to open to the public in a way that allows them to maintain sufficient revenue streams,” Wilson said.
The Kidzeum received funding from the Paycheck Protection Program - a part of the coronavirus relief package designed for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll, but funding ends June 30.
Wilson said seven employees will be laid off, she will take a salary reduction, and their accountant will work only five hours a week.
She is working with the Illinois Association of Museums to show how vital museums are to their local economies, and ask for additional financial relief.
While some online activities remain available, Wilson said it is impossible to open the museum with the current public safety guidelines prohibiting hands-on exhibits.
“We have specifically designed our museum to be hands on and interactive from start to finish,” she said. “So it would be very difficult for us to reimagine the visitor experience without some kind of interactivity.”
The children’s museum is offering an online camp with the Illinois Math and Science Academy, as well as an outdoor camp with the Springfield Park District. More details regarding dates and registration can be found here.
Wilson said the closure is not permanent, and those who hold a membership with the Kidzeum will have benefits extended when they reopen.
The Children’s Museum of Illinois in Decatur also remains closed.