Explore & More Children's Museum announced the selection of David J. McNamara, managing partner for Phillips Lytle LLP, as chairman of the "Play It Forward" capital campaign. The initiative is raising $10 million for the new 40,000-square-foot children's museum to be built in the South Aud Block at Canalside.
"I am honored to be involved in this campaign, because I am inspired by Explore & More's plans, and I am impressed with the widespread community enthusiasm for this project," he said. "Buffalo has a history of getting it right when it comes to establishing venerated cultural institutions that benefit the community for generations. Those who came before us could have built any run-of-the-mill music hall, art gallery or theater. Instead, they left us with iconic cultural facilities that have been enduring sources of pride and economic benefit. It's clear to me that Explore & More will be the next iconic cultural institution to help define the outstanding character of this region."
"Like Explore & More, David and his partners at Phillips Lytle made a very early commitment to Canalside," said Nancy Montone, Explore & More's director of development. "Our shared goals for the community, and David's continuous efforts to bring together the best partnerships for the revitalization of Buffalo's waterfront make him the perfect choice to lead our campaign team."
Explore & More's history at Canalside dates back to 2007, when the institution was the first to offer summer programming on Canalside's lawns. In May 2012, Explore & More was selected by Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. for the site in the South Aud Block. In October 2013, the museum's master plan and campaign feasibility study were formally accepted by ECHDC.
Plans for the Canalside children's museum include seven placed-based educational play zones that each tie into the story of Buffalo, plus a special exhibits gallery that will be home to both local exhibits curated by community groups as well as traveling exhibits. The new museum, kitty corner to HARBORCENTER and adjacent to the new ice rinks, will offer multipurpose spaces for groups, meetings and celebrations.
The "Play It Forward" capital campaign has raised more than $4 million to date, with major gifts coming from Wegmans, Fisher-Price, The John R. Oishei Foundation, The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and The East Hill Foundation, among others.
Celebrating its 20th year in operation, Explore & More Children's Museum provides an environment for creative play and learning through hands-on exhibits, activities and programs that inspire creativity, curiosity and imagination.
Explore & More Children's Museum is currently located at 300 Gleed Ave., East Aurora. The South Aud Block site will debut on the Buffalo waterfront in 2016. For more information, visit www.exploreandmore.org or call 716-655-5131.