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Dec. 9, 2018
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INK seeks donations to reopen

By Pamela A. Keene
 
Gainesville’s INK Children’s Museum suffered water damage from its sprinkler system when it was activated during a small fire in its pottery studio in early September. Clean-up is ongoing, and museum officials are seeking in-kind and financial donations to reconstruct exhibits.
 
“About half of the exhibits were damaged from the water, including the train and airplane exhibits,” said Mandy Volpe, executive director of the museum, who was interviewed at the end of September. “At this point, we’re still doing clean-up, but we know from the extent of the damage, that we will need in-kind and financial donations to make it possible for us to reopen.” 
 
INK, the brainchild of founder Sherri Hooper, was started in 2002, first occupying space in the First Methodist Church of Gainesville, which is now owned by the Arts Council. Several years later, the museum moved to the former Warren Featherbone building near I-958 on E.E. Butler Parkway, occupying more than 12,000 square feet of space.
 
Over the years, the museum has expanded beyond interactive exhibits to include hands-on learning about careers, from bankers to physicians, airline workers to legal and law enforcement. Visitation from school field trips, church groups, home-school students and initials has surpassed 75,000 per year. 
 
INK recently began a $2 million capital campaign to build a 50,000-square-foot facility on donated land.
 
“We hope to be re-open soon, but it will depend on how soon we can replace the exhibits,” Volpe said. “Our website includes more information about what is needed.”
 
For more information, visit www.inkfun.org/donate or call the museum at 770 536-1900.

Posted online 9/28/18
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