Children’s Museum permanently closes Fredericksburg location

Museum officials decided to permanently close the Fredericksburg branch due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Children’s Museum of Richmond)

As it waits to reopen its three outposts in the Richmond region, the Children’s Museum of Richmond announced Monday it will permanently shut down a satellite facility in Fredericksburg due to the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Museum officials decided to close the Fredericksburg location to cut costs, which have become more challenging to cover with the decrease in revenue due to the temporary closures caused by the pandemic.

The nonprofit does plan to reopen its flagship museum in the city of Richmond, as well as satellite locations in Short Pump and Chesterfield County when it is able to do so.

Once it does reopen, it expects to rethink its exhibit layout and embark on a more involved and frequent sanitation process, said Danielle Ripperton, Children’s Museum president and CEO.

“We’re going to have to do a significant revamp of physical spaces,” Ripperton said. “We have to be very mindful of those expenses.”

The museum’s facilities have been temporarily closed since mid-March, and the permanent shuttering of the Fredericksburg branch was announced Monday. Ripperton said the Fredericksburg location cost about $350,000 to operate annually. The Fredericksburg location’s two managers were laid off due to the closure. Part-time employees had previously been laid off.

It’s unclear when the Children’s Museum will reopen its remaining operations. Though Gov. Ralph Northam kicked off the state’s phased reopening plan in mid-May, state public health guidelines continue to require museums stay closed. Since its facilities closed, the museum has pivoted to online-based, at-home activities and programming.

CMOR’s Fredericksburg facility opened in 2014 at 1275 Jefferson Davis Highway. The museum leased a 12,000-square-foot space at Eagle Village, a mixed-use development. Some of the exhibits at the Fredericksburg museum will be relocated to the nonprofit’s other facilities. The Fredericksburg museum was the newest Children’s Museum satellite, following the Chesterfield location in 2012 and the Short Pump site in 2010.

The museum reported total revenues of $3.6 million and total expenses of $3.9 million in fiscal year 2018, according to tax filings.

The main Children’s Museum of Richmond location at 2626 W. Broad St. (BizSense file photo)

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