Soo Locks Children’s Museum wins $500,000 grant from Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan – February 29, 2024

Children in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, and the surrounding region are one step closer to enjoying a children’s museum thanks to a very generous $500,000 grant awarded to the Soo Locks Children’s Museum from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) Community Center Grant Program.

Community Center program funds were made available to Michigan municipalities and organizations to expand programming or work on capital projects.  These grants build on Gov. Whitmer’s ‘Make it in Michigan’ strategy to win projects, invest in people and revitalize places. The Soo Locks Children’s Museum is one of 100 grantees, selected from nearly 1000 applicants for funding across the state. 

“We are beyond grateful for this unprecedented and incredible gift,” said Raquel Fernandez-Earns, President of the Soo Locks Children’s Museum Board of Directors.  “We have worked tirelessly for over 7 years to get our doors open for the children in our community.  Thanks to the LEO Community Center Grant, we will be able to complete the necessary construction and install several exhibits. This will get us closer to opening our doors.”

The mission of the Soo Locks Children’s Museum is to create an interactive environment that facilitates children’s curiosity and learning in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. “Our vision is to place our communities’ children on a positive trajectory, as there are very few healthy and affordable recreational activities in which children can engage within our community.  With 11 stimulating exhibits and through healthy role-modeling through our community collaborators,  we have the potential to create future conservationists, stewards of the land, builders, and architects. We will offer an accurate representation of the true histories of this area and give them the ability to try out and develop their skills,”  said Fernandez-Earns.   

About The Soo Locks Children’s Museum

The Soo Locks Children’s Museum (SLCM) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2016 and based in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The effort to establish a children’s museum in Sault Ste. Marie was initiated based on the desire to make a difference in this underserved community and region by offering much needed and unique experiences for children aged 2 to 12 years. Our intermediate school district is the largest geographic district in Michigan, covers approximately 4000 square miles, and serves 3 counties and over 7,000 children.  This will be the primary population that Soo Locks Children’s Museum will serve. Located in the heart of our historic downtown, the SLCM will contribute greatly to our economic ecosystem. Visit for more information and/or to donate.

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