The Schoolhouse Children’s Museum and Learning Center
Boynton Beach, FL: A FASTSIGNS 2011 MetamorphoSIGN $10,000 Makeover Winner
For some not-for-profit organizations, outfitting their facility with new signs and graphics can sometimes feel like a pipedream amid budget cuts and funding issues. Such was the case when Lindsey Nuzzo, Marketing and Development Coordinator for the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum and Learning Center in Boynton Beach, Florida entered the organization into 2011 FASTSIGNS® MetamorphoSIGN Makeover Contest.
Her entry read:
Despite its bland, colorless façade, the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum & Learning Center is anything but boring. Located in the heart of Palm Beach County, Florida, nearly 25,000 children and families per year take part in a colorful learning adventure featuring interactive exhibits and hands-on education. Recent cuts in funding for arts & cultural institutions, education and non-profits have kept us from making any aesthetic changes or improvements to our exterior. With the lack of visual communication, countless passersby per day don’t recognize the purpose of our facility and the tremendous potential for learning that is awaiting them inside. A MetamorphoSIGN Makeover is CRUCIAL to help visually illuminate our Children’s Museum, inside and out!
Out of almost 600 MetamorphoSIGN entries, the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum was chosen as one of the two winners by a panel of judges* from the FASTSIGNS International corporate office. Suddenly, what once seemed like an impossible undertaking became a reality for the beloved city fixture.
*One winner chosen through a social media vote; one winner chosen by FASTSIGNS International.
Once selected, the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum team began outlining the goals they wanted to accomplish with their new signs and graphics.
Ken Baxter, owner of FASTSIGNS of Lake Worth, met with the museum’s Executive Director, Amy Hever, and several city officials and soon realized that the project presented several challenges. The first came in the form of three royal palm trees that sat directly in front of the museum, obscuring its visibility from the road. Second, the building itself was set back significantly from Ocean Avenue. Finally, and most notably, the museum is housed within a designated historical landmark that is owned by the city and simply rented out to the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum. Because of its historical significance, the building could not be perforated in any way, making it impossible to hang signs on the structure itself.
After reviewing the challenges, FASTSIGNS devised solutions for each situation. To address the obstructive palm trees, a landscaping company relocated the three trees elsewhere on the property. The resulting hole at the front of the property would be house a monument sign at the entrance of the property. This would solve the issue of the museum being difficult to locate due to its recessed position in relation to the road. Now, passersby would have a visual invitation to visit sitting right next to the road.
The FASTSIGNS team also decided to place two new banner poles on either side of the museum’s entrance to provide a space to advertise programs and events. An audio visual display and a sign with changeable space inside the museum would be installed to deliver a variety of messages. Finally, posters would be hung in the museum’s higher windows to add color and visual interest without affecting the façade of the building.
The FASTSIGNS team began by putting up the banner poles on either side of the entrance. Once the poles had been placed, banners with party and rental information were affixed to both sets of poles. The team then installed avenue banners onto the existing light poles on the property and then they put PVC posters into the second floor windows that faced out to Ocean Avenue.
After all the other signs and graphics had been set up, it was time to install the monument sign at the entrance to the museum. After workers had removed the three large palm trees that sat on the island where the sign would be placed, the FASTSIGNS team readied the hole with planks of wood to hold the sign where it needed to be. The sign was then balanced on the planks of wood while the concrete was poured into the pit. After letting it set around the poles that stabilize the monument sign, the concrete was covered and landscaping was planted around the sign.
In addition to the new signs and graphics, the museum staff received an additional surprise along the way. After the project was underway, several city officials found additional revenue to use for to pressure wash, and repaint of the front of the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum. This city-granted makeover was done out of appreciation for the sign package and, as stated by one official, “to do this whole job right.”
On May 24, 2012, the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum staff, with the help of the FASTSIGNS Lake Worth team, unveiled the museum’s new look to the community. More than 40 people attended the event, including the Mayor, several commissioners, executives of corporations that had contributed, members of the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum’s board of directors, dignitaries and city officials.
“The FASTSIGNS team was very patient, accommodating and understanding as we went through the entire process, particularly the franchise partner, Ken Baxter, who was working with both us and the City of Boynton Beach to move the project along. We’ve received numerous compliments about our new look from visitors and community members,” said Nuzzo.
As a result of the makeover, the museum has enhanced its marketing and communications efforts by having consistently branded signage on the exterior of the building. Additionally, the museum reported seeing 40% more visitors during the makeover year as compared to the previous year, and a 127% increase in general operations compared to the same time the prior year (due to the combination of new educational programming, stronger marketing and rebranding efforts, and stronger visual communications via the new signage.)
“FASTSIGNS is very excited to have had the opportunity to be involved with this unique and positive organization and to have an impact on it, as well as on the city of Boynton Beach,” commented Baxter. “We’re glad that we were able to provide this historic community landmark with the right combination of signs and graphics to not only engage and draw in more visitors but also to ignite added support to help develop the rest of Ocean Avenue as a main downtown corridor.”