Before March 2020, the Bowman family was quite content living in North Kansas City in a wonderful neighborhood, Lorina Bowman said. “I accidentally came across the Beaux-Arts Centre on Zillow ( a real estate website) and saw a lot of potential. “
The Beaux-Arts Centre, 102 S. National Ave, is next door to the post office.
“When my husband saw it, he was also excited,” she said.
They set up several appointments with the owners to view the property.
” We tried to talk ourselves out of it because the building needs to be updated quite a bit, but every con was able to be twisted into a pro,” she said. They prayed and feel God led them to purchase the property.
The family plans to open a museum with interactive components and call it Exploratorium.
“It’s always been a dream of ours to open a business that would incorporate all of my family’s hobbies and talents,” Lorina said. “The fact that my family is able to live on the top floor while we build the museum is the only way our vision is possible.”
“We will have fun, unique exhibits that all ages will enjoy, such as; Barbie, Model Trains, Lego, and more,” Lorina said. “We will have play structures and other hands-on activities. The building will also include a gift shop and eventually a snack bar. We are most excited about our classroom which is where we will host workshops and clubs to really get the community involved in teaching, learning and exploring new hobbies and talents.”
The Bowman Family is comprised of Johnathan, a computer programmer who works from home since leaving California in June 2017. “He is excited to learn new handyman skills as he tackles different projects in the building,” Lorina said.
Lorina is a stay-at-home mom but loves to make crafts to sell at fairs and is excited to have a full-time gift shop to sell all the creations she’s made over the years, she said.
She’s also happy she can put on events to “appease her overzealous party planning passion,” she said.
Marshall is 15 years old and enjoys creating Electonic Dance Music on the computer and building weapons out of polyvinyl chloride pipe.
Vivian is 13 and loves Harry Potter, Legos, and reading.
Theodore is almost 11 and a master at creating obstacle courses and unique games for his siblings to play, Lorina said.
Lawrence is 9 and can fold origami for hours and keep his family laughing with his humor, she said.
Adelaide is 4 and does her best to keep up with the rest of the family, she said.
The youngest is Harriet, 2, who has the cutest smile and curls, Lorina said.
The timeline for the project is undetermined.
“The timeline really depends on the community,” Lorina said. ” My husband and my dad have been doing a lot of the projects tackled so far. If left to our own devices we could eventually open our doors to the public but it would be years in the making. Why wait that long? “
“With enough community support through funding and volunteer labor we could open as early as next spring and then ALL generations could come together to enjoy our Exploratorium,” she said.
Follow the project on Facebook @ Fort Scott Exploratorium to find out how you can help and see what they have accomplished and what currently working on.