London Children’s Museum gets $2 million from feds to assist in moving to new home

London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos speaks at 100 Kellog Lane as London Children's Museum executive director Kate Ledgley, Mayor Josh Morgan and London Children's Museum board of directors chair Emily Schinbein listen on Aug. 17, 2023. Marshall Healey/980 CFPL

The federal government announced a $2-million investment Thursday morning to help assist the London Children’s Museum with its transition to a new and larger location.

The announcement was made at 100 Kellogg Lane, where the museum plans to be operational by the fall of next year.

Making the announcement on behalf of the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos said the new space will ensure the museum can continue focusing on entertaining and teaching area children.

“This is something that allows for more kids to come in, enjoy and really understand more about the world around them,” Fragiskatos told Global News.

The investment will come from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund program and will be made over two years: $780,000 in 2023-24 and $1.22 million in 2024-25. The federal dollars, which match a city contribution made in 2019, bring the total raised to $18 million out of a $23-million budget.

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Kate Ledgley, the museum’s executive director, says the museum hopes grants and community contributions will secure the final $5 million in time for the fall 2024 opening.

Speaking after the announcement, Ledgley says the new location on the fourth floor of the old Kellogg Canada factory will double the museum’s space to 36,000 square feet.

“We’re going to be able to take some of the favourites from our existing locations, but we are also going to have brand new exhibits that have been designed by children,” Ledgley said.

A blueprint of the plans for the London Children’s Museum once it opens at 100 Kellogg Lane next fall. London Children's Museum

The brainchild of Carol Johnston, the London Children’s Museum opened in late 1976 at London Towers as Canada’s first children’s museum. It moved soon after, in 1982, to its current home on Wharncliffe Road.

And while the central location has served the museum well in the decades that followed, officials say that with London continuing to be the fastest-growing city in the province, the bigger space is vital.

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“Our new home at 100 Kellogg will provide families from London and beyond with meaningful access to the arts, culture and history for many years to come,” Ledgley said.

The museum says the 100 Kellogg Lane location was designed with the input of more than 500 children, families and community members. Eight exhibits will range from dinosaur digs and a treehouse village to themes touching on outer space and the local farming community.

An illustration of one of eight exhibits planned for the London Children’s Museum once open at 100 Kellog Lane in the fall of 2024. London Children's Museum

Also on hand for the announcement were Mayor Josh Morgan and several city councillors. As fathers to young children, both Morgan and Fragiskatos said they look forward to bringing their families to the museum’s new space once open.

“It’s not just great to be mayor for these funding announcements, it’s great as a father to see investments in the types of things I know will build my children’s future, their capacity to learn and their desire to explore,” Morgan said.

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— with files from Devon Peacock

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