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THEMUSEUM Reaches 70 Per cent of its $600,000 Campaign to Open The Underground Studio in Downtown Kitchener

Appeals to community for final $150,000 to ensure three years of robust programming 

Kitchener, ONTHEMUSEUM announced today that it has successfully secured 70 per cent of its $600,000 campaign goal to build and open The Underground Studio at its King Street location this fall. The traditional MakerSpace and Digital Media Lab hybrid will allow the six teachers on staff to expand on S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) programs, camps and related activities. The Underground Studio is being programmed for ages six to seventeen, but programs for all ages will be offered. It will feature a variety of hands-on activities including woodworking, sewing, soldering as well as 3D printers, laser cutter, virtual and augmented reality, wearable technologies, hacking and upcycling used electronics.  
THEMUSEUM has successfully raised more than $400,000 for the project and is urging the business community and general public to support this start-up project in downtown Kitchener with the remaining $150,000, gifts of materials and volunteers time, plus collaborations with like-minded organizations are essential.  
“It all begins here,” said David Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM. “We are responding to a community need as our Maker Club programs have reached capacity. If students are introduced to new, hands-on activities through guided exploration and experiential learning there is a higher propensity for them to take S.T.E.A.M. courses in high school, stay in the community for university or college and create their own inventions and companies under the guidance of organizations like Accelerator Centre and Communitech. As Kitchener-Waterloo leads Canada’s Innovation and Quantum industry this project provides an opportunity for youth to transition into the workplace obtaining careers in high-demand sectors.”   
“There is no question that if technology based companies invest in these types of initiatives they will benefit from a skilled work force, a more innovative community and will enjoy the positive economic impact,” said Gerry Remers, President of Christie Digital, and Chair of the Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation, who invested in the project.
THEMUSEUM has already received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario, City of Kitchener’s Economic Development Fund, Christie Digital, Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation Musagetes Fund, Lyle S. Hallman Foundation and the Google Community Grants Fund of Tides Foundation. The fundraising initiative will be directed towards community leaders and individuals, tech-companies, foundations, members of THEMUSEUM and the general public.   
“The City of Kitchener is pleased to be able to support the development of The Underground Studio and THEMUSEUM’s expanded S.T.E.A.M. programming,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “The City’s new Economic Development Strategy – Make it Kitchener – is focused on our local maker ecosystem and the creation of The Underground Studio is the perfect extension of this strategy, introducing our youngest citizens to the maker experience.” 
“For every dollar invested two to one will be leveraged through government investment and foundation grants,” Marskell added.  
The Underground Studio is a key initiative to further THEMUSEUM’s vision to awe, inspire and enlighten people of all ages, and become the cultural hub of Southwestern Ontario.
THEMUSEUM continues to serve almost 100,000 people annually and attracts thousands of visitors to the region through exhibitions such as Terry Fox -- Running to the Heart of Canada and the soon to be announced QUANTUM: The Exhibition.   
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