the little museum that thought BIG
The vision to bring this children’s museum downtown was long the hope of the small group of dedicated parents, educators and toy designers who first started Explore & More 25 years ago. The 500 sq. ft. room in a school basement in East Aurora had 1,000 visitors that first year. These volunteers were dedicated to helping children to see their unlimited potential.
it’s a new day for play in buffalo
Having raised $29 million to bring this signature communal gathering space to our bustling waterfront, Explore & More – The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum has made a triumphant arrival at Canalside. This fully interactive space for and about Buffalo pays homage to the very attributes that make us so proud to be from Western New York. The four-story, 43,000 square foot museum features hands-on exhibits that tell the unique story of our community’s waterways, cultures, traditions, architecture, agriculture, sports, industries and innovations. There’s no better way for children to get to know Buffalo than on its resurgent waterfront with Explore & More serving as a key anchor.
the right formula for our future
According to a comprehensive ConsultEcon study, Explore & More is expected to have a $200 million local economic impact over the next 10 years.
Explore & More is committed to creating a place where all feel welcome to play, investing significant resources to ensure a positive experience for children of all abilities. We have developed multiple supports throughout the museum – from quiet kits and sensory-friendly spaces, to social narratives, and a special needs changing table as well as programming such as our Au-Some Evenings for children with autism spectrum other developmental disorders.
Studies have shown children who visit a museum like ours by the age of five test higher in third grade than children who have not.
Our exhibits are designed to foster social-emotional skill development in a welcoming environment, bringing families from all walks of life together in a communal gathering space that encourages collaboration, cooperation and multi-generational conversation. Social-emotional skills are critical to child development, impacting a child’s ability to communicate, resolve conflict, self-regulate and cope with challenges.
special thanks to our endowment committee:
Jon Dandes, Endowment Chair
making a difference for children
the power of an endowment meets the power of play
Now that this world-class children’s museum is open and a success story for Buffalo on multiple levels, we who cherish it are turning our attention toward ensuring its future. An endowment creates a solid foundation for Explore & More to keep the play going for years to come. That this is a matched endowment only doubles the impact of your gift, garnering “two thumbs up” for donors determined to make a difference in the lives of children across our region.
what will my endowment gift do?
A growing and stable source of funding will allow Explore & More to expand programs and offerings, as well as care for exhibits. The Play Forever Endowment strengthens Explore & More and ensures future generations of children will be able to play forever.
who wants to double their impact?
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has committed $3 million to the endowment fund, pending the museum raising an additional $3 million. This means that every donor’s contribution to the Play Forever Endowment is matched through the support of the Wilson Challenge.