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EverWonder Receiving $300,000 State Bonding Commission Grant



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State Representative Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) along with State Rep Martin Foncello (R-107) and State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) on December 15 announced that EverWonder Children’s Museum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Newtown, will be the recipient of a $300,000 state grant being awarded by the State Bond Commission.

The funds will help support the museum’s recent relocation and expansion. The announcement followed a special meeting of the commission on Friday.

Bolinsky said he was “very grateful to Governor Lamont, [Office of Police and Management] Secretary Beckham, House Leadership and members of the State Bond Commission for this grant award. “EverWonder is a local family treasure,” Bolinsky added. “From its founding in 2011, when a group of local ‘children’s museum-loving moms’ dreamed of creating a comparable experience closer to home for local and neighboring families to enjoy, to this day, their growth has been remarkable, having accelerated beyond the original dream.”

In June 2018, the museum hired Merredith Christos as the museum’s first full-time director.

“Under her leadership, and to support the growth, innovation, and expansion of programming, the museum relocated to a new ‘forever home’ at 11 Mile Hill Road in June 2023, doubling its original space, and providing easy access … for the growing base of visitors coming from far and wide to experience the museum’s special, fun brand of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics magic,” Bolinsky added.

“Together with her team of supporters, EverWonder doubled not only their space but also its visitors,” Bolinsky further noted.

Foncello also called the museum “such a treasure for Newtown and the surrounding area.

“I want to thank Rep Bolinsky for advocating for this state funding to help with their new, greatly expanded forever home,” he added. “EverWonder has something for everyone now that they have space for expanded hands-on learning experiences for additional age groups.”

Hwang called the grant announcement good news.

“Through its hands-on exhibits and programming to spark imagination in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, the museum encourages children from Newtown and throughout our region to ask questions about the world around them,” he said. “Rep Bolinsky deserves credit for spearheading the effort to get this funding passed. Along with Rep Foncello, we continue to work collaboratively to improve Newtown’s quality of life.”

EverWonder’s Executive Director offered her thanks to the state bonding commission this week.

“On behalf of the EverWonder Board of Directors and the many families, schools, and communities that we serve, we would like to extend a thank you to the State of CT Bonding Commission for their support,” Christos said in a statement to The Newtown Bee. “Having relocated to a bigger space this year, EverWonder has already seen growth in visitorship from Newtown, the greater Danbury region, and across the state of Connecticut and beyond.

“This funding from the state enables us to carry on our mission of inspiring curiosity and fostering a love for learning among children,” she added. “It will also enhance the economic strength of Newtown significantly, as well as provide for increasing programs for the increasingly diverse population that we serve. We look forward to our continued partnership with the State in helping EverWonder continue to grow.”

Future expansion and renovation will frame EverWonder to be one of Connecticut’s largest children’s museums. As the only children’s museum in Connecticut to have grown beyond pre-pandemic levels last year, it is poised in its new forever home to support continued growth and will have the potential to add a second story of museum space to its new footprint.

With the State Bond Commission grant, the State is recognizing EverWonder as a regional visitor attraction with room to grow, benefitting young minds, and strengthening families in an intergenerational, nurturing, safe space, while reinforcing current practices of public school social-emotional learning (SEL) practices.

State Representative Mitch Bolinsky, on the left, attends the December 15 State Bond Commission special meeting, when a $300,000 grant for EverWonder Children’s Museum was among the items approved. Among those also attending the meeting were Rep John Piscopo (R-Thomaston) and Rep Michelle Cook (D-Torrington).
State Senator Tony Hwang and EverWonder Children’s Museum Director Merredith Christos prepare, with guests looking on, to cut the ribbon during the formal opening of the museum’s new permanent home on Mile Hill Road in June. —Bee file photo
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