Explore & More Children's Museum Receives $6 Million "Challenge Grant"

Grant gives Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation Naming Rights

Mike Baggerman
February 14, 2018 - 1:08 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Canalside's Explore & More Children's Museum announced another major step on Wednesday. The developing museum received a $6 million "challenge grant" from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, meaning it will match future contributions made by public, private, and individual contributions.

The grant also means the museum, which will hold a soft opening later this year, will be renamed into the "Explore & More - The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children's Museum".

"This soon-to-be newest children's museum in North America will bring families of diverse cultures and backgrounds together in an amazing, exciting, and welcoming space," David Egner, President & CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation said. "And it's especially appropriate we are making this announcement on Valentine's Day because it really illustrates in many respects Mr. Wilson's 54-year love affair with this community."


Groundbreaking for Explore & More Children's Museum

Explore & More Children's Museum Completes Steel Structure

$3 million of the grant will be used for the museum's capital campaign and the remainder in an endowment fund.

"This touches our hearts," New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "It says that Ralph, who loved this community for so many decades...the love was always reciprocated. The love was always returned. His faith in us when we were a minor league city put us on the map for literally decades and decades, creating a source of pride in all of us through the Buffalo Bills organization."

LISTEN: Explore & More receives $6 million Challenge Grant

Explore & More - Announcement RAW.mp3

Michelle Urbanczyk is the new CEO of the Explore & More Children's Museum. She replaced Douglas Love, who announced his departure from his position last year.

"I'm excited because I get to be at the construction site and the construction meetings," Urbanczyk said. "I love it. Today as I was coming in I had to stare at it and went 'Wow'...Right now it's still a steel shell and its covered but I'm visualizing every floor...We're getting there. We're closer to the finish line."

Construction of the museum will finish later this year and museum officials will conduct a soft opening of the building. They estimate that by early-2019 the programs will be up and running at full capacity.

LISTEN: Michelle Urbanczyk, CEO of Explore & More Children's Museum

Explore & More - Michelle Urbanczyk RAW.mp3


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