Barry Stephenson believes the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge is one of the city’s treasures.
The laboratory he leads, employee-owned Materials & Chemistry Laboratory Inc. (MCLinc), wants to make sure this treasure continues to serve children and families well. MCLinc recently made a $50,000 contribution to fund the final ramp needed to make the interior of the historic Children’s Museum building accessible for strollers and those with disabilities.
The ramp will meet standards of the Americans for Disabilities Act, which describes what is needed for a building to be physically accessible to persons with disabilities. The ramp will connect the Selma Shapiro Wing of the Museum to the next level housing the World of Trains exhibit.
“Visitors should be able to get from one place to another in the Museum safely,” said Stephenson, MCLinc president and chief executive officer. A ramp has linked the first and second levels for several years, and a recently completed ramp now links the second to the third level, the Selma Shapiro Wing. Later this year, the new ramp funded by MCLinc will join the third and fourth levels of the museum.
Michele Sanders, MCLinc executive vice president and laboratory manager, serves on the Children’s Museum Board of Directors, and she told Stephenson about the need for this ramp to help the Museum meet ADA standards.
“We’ve always had a leaning toward contributions that benefit future generations,” Stephenson said. “Certainly, the Children’s Museum has a unique place in educating individuals, as well being important in the preservation of history that youngsters can learn.”
Beth Shea, CMOR executive director, said she is thankful for the gift that will open the World of Trains exhibit to those in wheelchairs and make it easier to access for parents pushing strollers.
“When this kind of gift comes in, it means that people believe in what we are doing and trust us with their money,” Shea said. “I’m very grateful that Barry believes in the Children’s Museum and its mission so much that he would make this gift.”
She said there may be enough money remaining from the MCLinc contribution and an earlier contribution for the recently completed ramp to add a small ramp leading from the back of the Museum to the Flattop house exhibit area behind the Museum.
Stephenson and MCLinc have supported events at the Children’s Museum for more than a decade, including serving as a sponsor for the annual Gala.
“Our board of directors, which includes a lot of us who are also employees, designated that we will continue to be a good community citizen by making charitable contributions,” Stephenson said.
MCLinc, located at 161 Mitchell Road in Oak Ridge, provides consultation and specialty laboratory analyses in support of industrial forensics, materials characterization, environmental chemistry, uranium chemistry, mercury studies, carbon fiber, nanoparticles technology, and process optimization for commercial and government customers.
The Children’s Museum, located at 461 West Outer Drive, is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. It is located in an original Oak Ridge elementary school, renovated over the years as the Museum added exhibits and hands-on activities to offer fun and learning experiences for children and families.
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