Expansion adds new depth for neighborhood museum

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Of all the activities children could be doing this summer to avoid the heat, the solution may lie right here in Harrisonburg, Virgina.

For 12 years now, the Explore More Discovery Museum has been inspiring children to create and discover new things in the world around them. The museum was created by a group of parents that continue to bring the museum to new heights.

Six years ago, the museum opened the doors to its new location on South Main Street, but just last month, it expanded on a new level when it added a new floor. The second floor of the museum opened a few weeks ago and still has more exhibits yet to come.

“It’s been exciting just to expand and have families come up here. We’ll get our exhibits up here, including the airplane and all the others. Additionally, we hope to expand up the to third floor and get that community space and expand our class outreach,” said Genevieve Cowardin, an employee at the museum.

The museum has attracted the attention of travelers from all over the country, yet it still manages to hold onto its local roots. Many of the exhibits in the museum were made and built by the Harrisonburg natives themselves.

“There are lots of different local businesses and individuals as well who donate and help the museum happen. About 60 percent of our budget comes from people paying admission and buying memberships, and the other 40 percent comes from donations,” said Caroline Shull, a receptionist at the museum.

The staff encourages its community to be active and volunteer in the museum. “Usually when I come, I’m the only one volunteering,” said Alex Verson, a volunteer at the museum. The minimum age to volunteer is 13, but anyone can get involved. Donors and volunteers are what keep the museum going. The museum offers classes and camps, and more information can be found on the museum’s website, http://www.iexploremore.com/.