Family Life Development Nonprofits

TIMBER! Donation of Forest Products Will Give Museum a Northwoods Look

new Children’s Museum of Eau Claire will be built with timber elements

Tom Giffey |

WOOD-N'T IT BE NICE? An artist's conception of the inside of the new Children's Museum of Eau Claire. (Submitted image)
WOOD-N'T IT BE NICE? An artist's conception of the inside of the new Children's Museum of Eau Claire. (Submitted image)

When it opens next year, the new Children’s Museum of Eau Claire on North Barstow Street will include some unique architectural elements, including $425,000 worth of structural round timber. That timber – known as SRT – is being donated by Madison-based WholeTrees Structures, and will add a northwoods vibe to the new space.

So what is SRT? It’s solid, unmilled timber – essentially whole trees – used as support systems in buildings, replacing steel columns, trusses, and girders. “WholeTrees provides an incentive for healthy forest management by taking what would otherwise be forest waste and transforming it into a highly valued construction material,” a press release stated.

The donation will help the museum achieve its goal of being environmentally sustainable and energy efficient, Executive Director Mike McHorney said. “The Children’s Museum is honored to receive this funding support from Whole Trees Structures,” he said. “Their commitment not only helps us reach our evolving goal of being a good steward of the environment, but also combines with support from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to equal over $900,000 in funding coming from outside our community or the Chippewa Valley region towards the building of a new children’s museum.”

While the museum hasn’t officially broken ground yet on its new 26,000-square-foot home, it is operating out of a temporary location called Play Space at 40 S. Barstow St. Learn more online at childrensmuseumec.com.