Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota
Mankato, MN | Government + Cultural
After 10 years of planning and design collaboration with ISG support, the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota (CMSM) opened its doors with authentic exhibits designed and constructed by local artists and industry experts.
The CMSM needed a local partner to strategically design a learning space that incorporates large exhibits and local materials, meets ambitious sustainability goals, and engages the community.
ISG designers integrated CMSM's exhibits to maximize the large, open floor plan of this former city transit garage facility. Transforming the industrial space into a bright and lively learning environment required maximizing natural light by uncovering original windows, and strategic placement of new windows, colors and materials. This allowed the facility to maintain an industrial feel with concrete floors and metal structures while also delivering a fun and inviting atmosphere.
ISG designers collaborated with exhibit planners to effectively phase construction to accommodate the heavy loads and exceptional size and weight of materials. Local industry exhibits include a quarry complete with giant slabs of limestone to create an arched entryway and walls so heavy they were installed before the museum flooring could be poured. The multistory Tree of Forts exhibit was placed through a hole cut in the roof and now extends beyond the roof line with lookouts to the surrounding neighborhood. Wood from different tree species make up each step leading to the top and include the name and the outline of each tree’s leaf shape. These large exhibits required extensive phasing and coordination for installation during construction. A second story mezzanine for the Cecil H. Jones Imagineering Loft overlooks the exhibit spaces. While the facility was designed around two very large permanent exhibits, the remaining space is open with the flexibility to accommodate traveling or new exhibits.
LEED certification for this adaptive reuse building was achieved through the use of concrete flooring, energy-efficient features (HVAC systems, LED lighting, and occupancy sensors), and fulfilling safe indoor air quality (IAQ) standards with limited use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paints and adhesives. Carpool and fuel-efficient vehicle parking provided additional credits in meeting sustainability goals.