Little did Linnea DiBerardino know the bargain she would find while house-hunting in Findlay.
Not only did she find a house in her new city, she would eventually find a job through the connections of her real estate agent. It would turn out to be more than a job, however. It would become a mission on behalf of the children of Findlay.
DiBerardino, an Illinois native, is the new executive director of the Children’s Museum of Findlay, an interactive museum that offers hands-on displays and activities for children up to age 10. Currently housed in the Findlay Village Mall, the museum board hopes to eventually expand enough to open a 10,000-square-foot museum in the community. “I think there is so much opportunity for growth of the museum,” said DiBerardino. “It makes it exciting to come to work every day.”
It was that challenge that attracted DiBerardino, 31, when she moved here with her husband and two children about a year ago. Husband Louis had received a job offer to teach mechanical engineering at Ohio Northern University in Ada. Together with children Louis, 7, and Isla, 3, they started house-hunting in Findlay.
DiBerardino had worked in marketing and promotions with various organizations in Illinois, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Baroque Artists and other non-profits. While she was following her husband for his job, she hoped to continue her own career.
They found a house they loved. After learning about DiBerardino’s background in non-profit fundraising and marketing, her real estate agent introduced her to Erin Poling, the president of the board of the Children’s Museum of Findlay.
Soon enough, DiBerardino also found a job she loved. The Children’s Museum of Findlay, located next to the former Sears storefront in the Findlay Village Mall, offers interactive displays for children. Little Main Street, its main exhibit, features locally-sponsored exhibits including a small-scale fire station, a bank and auto shop. The busy events calendar (www.cmfindlay.com) also keeps families coming back.
DiBerardino’s would like to increase sponsorships and donations for the museum, with a goal to double the museum’s space within the next 6 to 12 months.
“It’s a place I want to bring my children,” she said. “I love that it’s bringing educational opportunities and play opportunities to children in Hancock County. You can do a lot of fun things here and interact with kids every day.”