Impression 5 Unveils Promising New Attraction Center
After a summer filled with anticipation and construction on downtown Lansing’s Museum Drive, Impression 5 has finally lifted the veil on the museum’s long-awaited renovations. Lansing’s science and education center, a favorite among area schools and children’s groups with a rich local history, underwent a facelift this year in an effort to both increase the educational value of its facilities and to help make the city more appealing to visitors.
At an onsite press conference this past Thursday, Sept. 8, Impression 5 unveiled its new 4,500 square foot space, dubbed the Dart Hall of Science, which was named after the project’s primary funder, The Dart Foundation.
“We didn’t have the space we needed to provide the exhibits and activities that are required to educate the way we wanted to in the 21st century. Adding the space and technology is a way we can bring these activities to modern families,” said Noah Smith, Board of Directors chair at Impression 5. “We’ve taken it from a quaint space to a huge center that has regional attraction…” The new space is equipped to become a hot-spot for traveling exhibits such as its first installation, Hot Wheel’sTM:Race to WinTM. . The exhibit, created by Mattel in collaboration with the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, is an interactive exhibit which will be open to the public from Sept. 10 to Jan. 6.
“Only a handful of organizations around the country will have the opportunity to showcase the new Hot Wheels: Race to Win exhibit, so we jumped at the opportunity,” said Erik Larson, executive director at Impression 5. “We can’t wait to have everyone join us for the opening of future attractions – there is so much to come.”
The new project has long been in the works, and the Impression 5 team attributes the success of it to the hard work and graciousness of its contributing partners. The acquisition and maintenance of strong partner relationships with The Dart Foundation, Auto-Owners Insurance, MSU Federal Credit Union, Team Schostak: Applebee’s and the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau were essential to not only obtaining funding but building a team dedicated to advancing education opportunities for children and adults alike. The group believes that this addition will make a huge impact on the local economy and tourism which, in turn, has the potential to be attributed to success within their own organizations down the road. “We look forward to welcoming families from around the region and hope that we can showcase this destination to people that haven’t been here in a while, or at all. We hope that they’ll say – wow, there is a lot going on in Lansing,” said Jack Schripsema, president and CEO of the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Last year tourism created 4.8 million visitors, thus contributing $6 million in spending. Eleven thousand jobs in our community are created by our city attractions.”
April Clobes, president and CEO of MSU Federal Credit Union, expressed a similar sentiment regarding the benefit that attractions, such as the new Dart Hall of Science, have on the job market, families and economy. She explained that the new center also served as a great way for the credit union to connect even further with its existing members, and beyond. “We’re an employer in this town, so this was a very natural extension for us to create experiences for our members and employees’ families right here in our community,” said Clobes. “Traveling exhibits will create change that will attract people to visit on a more regular basis.”
While the new attraction may have cost a pretty penny, Impression 5 is taking steps to keep admission prices low, to ensure its accessibility to families that are on tight budgets. In an effort to generate additional funding and attract new visitors, the Team Schostak: Applebee’s restaurant locations on South Cedar Street and West Saginaw Highway will be donating 10 percent of their revenue of designated promotional nights, while also offering discounts towards museum admission to patrons throughout the year.