Creative Learning Alliance makes progress on capital campaign for science museum

Oct. 26—The Creative Learning Alliance has already received contributions toward a $6.5 million capital campaign to repair, remodel and equip the former Joplin library building on Main Street into a STEAM-based science museum.

Donations amounting to $1.5 million have been received so far, said executive director Neely Myers in addressing the Murphysburg Historic District's annual meeting Tuesday night at the Cornell Complex, 212 W. Seventh St.

"We just started our capital campaign, so I'd say that's not bad," Myers said of contributions so far.

Of the campaign total, the organization spent $1 million to buy the library building from the city, she said. There is $1 million needed to fix the heat and air conditioning systems in the building and $1 million for renovations. In addition, $2 million will be spent for exhibits to fill the building and $1.5 million will be devoted to the first year of operations in the new location.

Contributions may be made using a link on the organization's webpage at

Audie Dennis, president of the alliance board of directors, announced the campaign Sept. 6 when the organization took the keys to the former public library building in the 300 block of Main Street from Mayor Doug Lawson during an afternoon ceremony in front of the building.

Dennis said then the plan is to have the museum equipped and operating in 2025. That goal can be met with the participation and contributions of people in the Joplin area, who "love our children and want the best for them," he said.

When the building is completed, it will offer interactive exhibits and activities to stimulate STEAM curiosity, exploration and creativity and even future career choices for young people. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

The permanent location for the museum is only blocks from a rental space the alliance is using at 905 S. Main St. for its learning activities now.

The Creative Learning Alliance formed in 2017 when community volunteers and leaders worked on a grassroots effort to create a strategic plan for community improvement, Vision 2022. That involved community discussions to develop ideas and goals that could foster community growth and development.

A feasibility study conducted for the organization after it was formed projected a science museum or discovery center could generate 80,000 regional visitors a year.