MISSOULA - The Children’s Museum in Missoula remains closed after tests deemed the air quality as unhealthy.
The facility, which sits above a private cigar club, is waiting on further testing to determine if the poor air quality is coming from tobacco.
"First and foremost, no one should walk into a public space and be confronted by tobacco odor in 2018. It’s unacceptable. We have to find the source of this. Logic will tell us one thing, but data’s going to tell us another," said Families First Children's Museum Executive Director Nick Roberts
Museum patrons began sending complaints of tobacco smell to the Missoula City-County Health Department, which has led to the Health Board filing a lawsuit against the Fool’s End Cigar Club.
The museum elected to close at the beginning of December due to the possibility of poor air quality. Roberts said roughly 2,000 people visit the museum a month and with this change it's been hard to plan and it’s been tough financially.
“Revenue streams have been challenging and so has our operations at large. We do have family education and curricular workshops that we lead that can still happen, but they have to happen off sight," Roberts said.
"It’s a real challenging logistical circumstance right now. But the reality is until we fully understand what the source of the problem is and how to permanently solve it….we are not going to let guests back in here," he added.
Roberts is hoping the tobacco-specific tests will bring a conclusion to this problem.
"I just want to get back to a safe place," he said. "The public can invite their families and invite their babies to crawl around on our floors without any worry."
The Missoula City-County Health Department declined to comment on the issue stating they were unable to respond as they are currently in litigation with the owners of the cigar club.