About the Museum
Above & Beyond Children’s Museum (ABCM) is a non-profit organization servicing children and families of Sheboygan County and its out of town visitors. Located in downtown Sheboygan, it has enjoyed 17 years of community service enhancing the lives and experiences of children and their families. From its humble beginning as a traveling road show featuring interactive children’s exhibits, it quickly outgrew its first location open only one day a month, to become an established community treasure offering service 6 days a week. It has been operating from its three-story historic location at 902 N. 8th Street since 1999 enriching thousands of children’s lives.
Our Development in the Community
1992 Board of Directors formed; Kubala Washatko and Jacobson Rost donated services to develop building and logo, respectively.
1993 Incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) corporation. Assoc. of Youth Museums membership approved. First five hands-on exhibits constructed and displayed at various locations in Sheboygan County.
1994 Business Plan professionally prepared. M&I Bank donated storefront for exhibit demonstration site. School groups and birthday parties were accommodated by appointment.
1995 Additional exhibits constructed and displayed. Road America contracted with Above & Beyond volunteers to sell programs as a fundraiser.
1996 Readiness study completed; Board approved location of downtown Sheboygan and former People’s building purchased. Founder’s Circle established with contributors of $1,000 or more.
1997 Renovations began at 902 N. 8th Street, the museum’s permanent home. Developed long-range plan and kicked off Building Campaign.
1998 Above & Beyond recognized in USA Today for “Make a Difference Day”. Museum expands hours and offers more time slots for group tours and birthday parties. Renovation is near completion at 902 N. 8th Street.
1999 Above & Beyond opens its doors full-time and offers major exhibits such as the Seigl Circus, Giant Pin Screen, Sky Crawl, Totally Toddlers and Tree House Adventure.
2000 Above & Beyond continues to offer hands-on learning fun to families, school groups, day cares, scouting groups and special-needs groups.
2005 Offered bi-weekly Science Day Camps and membership reached 100.
2006 Contracted staff exhibits for hire resulting with Camp Jeep at Road America. Membership increased to 400.
2007 General Admission increased to $5.00. Began working with Curative Senior Services to fill employment positions.
2008 Hired Melissa Niedfeldt as Executive Director. Closed ABCM for 30 days to implement business plan and rebuild community relationships. October 1, 2008 – Grand Re-Opening. A few original exhibits were refurbished including the Seigl Circus, Switch Exhibit, Magnet Table, Radiometer and Rachel’s Favorite. Lion’s Club sponsors the Toddler Rainforest.
2009 Hired Jeff L. Mehn as Executive Director. Received matching grant from the Efroymson Family Fund in Indiana.
January 2010 $25,000 Challenge Grant from Efroymson Family Foundation in Indianapolis is reached.
January 2010 Hands Across Sheboygan Project is developed. Children from schools throughout Sheboygan Participate by decorating their hand which becomes a mural in the Children’s Museum.
August 2010 Grand Opening of Efroymson Grocery Store.
Sept. 2010 Opening of traveling exhibit Roawrrr Exhibit in collaboration with Wisconsin Book Festival.
October 2010 “Port of Sheboygan” concept presented to Efroymson Family Fund of Indianapolis and request for funds for USS Efroymson submitted. Grant approved at $100,000.
January 2011 Rachel’s Favorite Exhibit named after the late Rachel Jorgensen of Sheboygan receives a facelift. Sounds, lights and signage are added to exhibit.
May 2011 Museum partners with G.R.O.W. (Gardening Reshapes Our World) to convert vacant lot north of museum into community/children’s garden.
June 2011 Museum’s first year as a Blue Star Museum, giving free museum access to active military families.
January 2012 City approves USS Efroymson project to have ship built into building and serves as anchor for Port of Sheboygan Project.
April 2012 Grand Opening of the USS Efroymson making the children’s museum the first and only building in the area with a ship traveling through it.
August 2012 Richard Bemis of Bemis Manufacturing and “Crew” build a shed for garden supplies and outdoor classroom. Appropriately named ‘Charlies Market’ after a downtown grocery store in Sheboygan’s history which sat on that site with same name.
Sept. 2012 Museum is the beneficiary of a portion of Ms. Leona Schoen’s estate. A large portion is used to replace the museum’s roof. Duralast roof installed.
June 2013 Museum hosts “Tour of America’s Dairyland” Bike Race in downtown Sheboygan.
July 2013 Lighthouse is gifted to museum by Blue Harbor Resort. Installed as exhibit in Port of Sheboygan.
August 2013 Fire Truck Cab is moved into third floor of museum via hole (created and window installed) in museum’s north wall.
Sept. 2013 Engine Company #1 opens on third floor of museum thanks to Firefighters Union Local 483.
October 2013 Fish Shanty constructed on third floor and stands at the entrance of the Port of Sheboygan thanks to Carpenters Union Local 731 and Tim Osterman. Shanty was salvaged from last of the original Fish Shanty’s torn down on Sheboygan’s Riverfront and houses Ms. Schoen’s classroom as a memorial to her support of organization.
October 2013 Above & Beyond hosts the Wisconsin State Association of Children’s Museum’s conference.
March 2014 First Special Needs Night is held. Goes on to become a monthly night for families with special needs children.
August 2014 Observation Bee Hive is built (Dennis Wettstein) and installed on second floor. Honeyland Farms provide bees and Sheboygan County Beekeepers Association pledge their support in maintenance and education.
Sept. 2014 Physics Tree, a project of Christian High School is erected in museum. A Rube Goldberg type contraption exhibiting Newton’s Laws of Physics was completely designed and built by Christian High students.
October 2014 Grand Opening of STEAM Lab held in conjunction of Wisconsin Science Festival.
February 2015 Museum signs agreement with NISE Network to take ownership of Nano Exhibit. A $50,000 exhibit gifted to the museum and only 1 of 50 in the country and 2 in the State of Wisconsin. Exhibit educates about Nano Technology.
February 2015 Jay Christopher makes Capital Campaign Challenge Grant of $100,000.
June 2015 Nano Exhibit opens on the third floor of Children’s Museum.
July 2015 Much anticipated “Just Kids Dental Recording Studio” and Music Mezzanine Exhibit Opens.
Nov. 2015 Party Room receives a facelift. Graffiti artist Lucas Begamehl creates a new look for the party room and hallway.
By Dec. 2015 $100,000 Challenge grant from Jay Christopher is reached. In total, $331,000 is raised to pay off over 60% of mortgaged debt and make capital improvements to building.
Feb. 2016 Grand Opening of Flight Site Exhibit and Contraptions Exhibit on first floor of museum.
June 2016 Christening of the “Imagination” takes place. A sailboat designed, constructed and installed by SEAS. Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan. Knot tying exhibit follows.
July 2016 Request submitted to Christopher Family Foundation for $75,000 for Capital Improvements. Grant approved.
Fall of 2016 Through financial support from The Christopher Family Foundation and Sargento Foods, extensive work is done to the exterior of the museum. North Wall, Façade, windows and miscellaneous items are addressed bringing a whole new look to the museum.
August 2016 150 LED track light fixtures are donated to museum by Ohyama Lighting of Kenosha and installed throughout museum. Not only a huge cost savings but new lighting totally transforms museum aesthetics.
Sept. 2016 Grand Opening of the Just Orthodontics “Human Shadow and Mystic Glow Room Exhibit” opens in conjunction with the Sheboygan Shebang Event.
October 2016 After a year in the Children’s Museum Nano Exhibit is gifted to Spaceport Sheboygan.
October 2016 Tastefully Childish takes place as museums new fund raising event.
September 2017 Emily Rendall-Araujo is hired as Executive Director.
September 2017 Revealed new Circus Expansion on the second floor of the museum.
A special place for children and their families where play and education connect through exploration and discovery.
We want to provide a positive learning environment through community partnership with interactive programs and captivating exhibits that exceed our children’s wildest dreams and imagination.