Legislators overrode Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto of $1 million in state funds for the Children’s Museum of the Upstate last week, allowing the money to go to the museum for marketing and updates to disability accommodations.
State Rep. Phyllis Henderson, a Greer Republican, said that the funding for the museum showed equality in funding from the state budget, which often gives funds to other museums. Haley vetoed multiple budget lines for museums, but did not strike $4 million in funding for the International African-American Museum in Charleston.
“Every year we see millions of dollars going to Charleston and the Lowcountry. I’m glad to finally see the Upstate getting some money from the budget,” said Henderson, who’s also a member of the Children’s Museum of the Upstate board of directors.
With the $1 million in state funding, the museum will change its front doors to a sliding model to be more accessible to people with physical disabilities. A lift will be added to the Bib’s World outdoor exhibit, allowing children in wheelchairs to access the second level play area. The museum also will advertise in magazines and use outdoor advertising to attract out-of-state visitors.
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Nancy Halverson, the museum’s president and CEO, said the state funds would allow the museum to continue making an economic impact on South Carolina and the Upstate.
“Being able to demonstrate that we are a driver of tourism and have had an economic impact of over $75 million to South Carolina since opening our doors just six years ago, meant that from a business and economic development perspective, a continued investment in the future of the Children’s Museum makes sense,” Halverson said. “It’s not often you can find that kind of return on the dollar and have a lasting impact on the lives of children. I’m humbled to say that these funds will allow us to do both."
The museum also received $150,000 from the state in 2014. That was initially vetoed by Haley and was overridden.