Explore & More – The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Children’s Museum has opened at Canalside. After a couple of decades of hard visionary work, an idea that developed among a small number of mothers in East Aurora has emerged as a first-class children’s museum.
It was not an easy journey and succeeded largely by the dedicated work of creative staff, volunteers, contributions of time and effort by board members and parents of children who found Explore & More a valued addition to their child’s development.
As is often the case, one person stood above all others in bringing the museum to where it is today, and that was Barbara Leggett.
She saw what Explore & More could become more clearly than most and was tireless in seeing that vision realized. The museum and board of directors from the beginning was more a collection of worker bees than policy makers, but it was Leggett who held the group together.
When it was time to seek a new location for the museum, she led the way. When it was essential to create new and challenging exhibits, Leggett sought out artists and brought them to the museum.
In the beginning, Explore & More was a volunteer organization and there were inadequate funds to hire staff. In time, adequate money had been raised and a search for a director started but ended without success. The board was convinced that full-time leadership was needed but was unsure where to turn. It was decided to ask Leggett to take that position. For more than a decade she provided both the guidance and the perseverance to bring the museum to the point where the possibility of a place in Buffalo became a reality. The rest, as we say, is history.