Our Mission and History
Our mission: Inspire youth and families to discover more about themselves, their communities and their world through interactive learning.
Our Story: In May of 2014, Aaron and Karen Carlock purchased the old Mercantile Co-Op building in Black Earth. The goal was to start something in the building that would support a revitalization of downtown Black Earth. Two years later, the building was still empty but with an improved roof and exterior awning.
In June of 2016, Aaron and Karen set out on a road trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with their three children, Maya, Madeline and Max. One of the stop along the way was the Upper Peninsula Children's Museum in Marquette, Michigan. The kids had such a fantastic time in the space and the feel of the museum as a whole was comfortable with a home-made feel.
During that visit, an idea was born! Both Aaron and Karen came to the same conclusion during that visit and much of the driving time for the remainder of the trip was spent discussing how to make the idea into reality.
Although no other children's museum known to-date is located in a town as small as Black Earth, they believed the project could be successful through community support and by drawing visitors from the large numbers of out of area families who pass through Black Earth.
From left to right: Max, Aaron, Maya, Karen & Madeline - July 2019
Initial signs were placed on the building at the beginning of August 2016 to announce the plans for the children's museum. Immediately following, a Facebook page was set up and with community interest evident, the initial spark of an idea began to take on a life of its own. By October, Black Earth Children's Museum Inc. was legally created as a non-profit entity and a well-attended Community Input Open House was held where ideas and suggestions for exhibits and programs were collected from community members. With the help of generous sponsors, committed builders and over 100 volunteers, the museum opened with much excitement on June 12th, 2017. The success of the Black Earth Children's Museum has far exceeded our expectations , thanks to this wonderful community. Let's continue to grow together!