(Santa Rosa, CA) – After monitoring government guidelines regarding a safe reopening, the Children’s Museum Board of Directors made the very difficult decision to keep the Children’s Museum closed until 2021. Our primary concern is the health and wellbeing of our children and families. Social distancing at an interactive museum remains difficult for all children’s museums.
Outgoing Board President, Jenny Levine-Smith said, “During this time, the Children’s Museum recognizes even more the importance of play and connection. Play, with all its exuberance and delighted togetherness, fosters closeness, confidence, and connection.” While the doors of the Museum are physically closed, we are continuing to work on many things to interest and inspire our members; our community involvement is more important than ever.
Samuel Lee, Area Pharmacy Director for Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa and incoming Board President of the Children’s Museum, said, “While it is a difficult decision to close the museum for the public, we knew it was the right decision to preserve the safety of our children, adult visitors, and the frontline team members. We understand the important role we play in the community and that is why we will continue to focus on our online content to support the families in our community.” New videos, articles, art and science projects, and educational resources for parents are available at no cost on the Children’s Museum’s PLAYology Playbook webpage.
While the Children’s Museum building is closed, the support of our donors remains strong. Collette Michaud, Founder and CEO, says, “We remain excited and hopeful for the future. We are using this time effectively to refresh exhibits, revamp programs, and incorporate new concepts.” Plans for the expansion of the Museum are moving forward as scheduled, including the completion of the Space Odyssey for Galactic Explorers.
Past research shows, as well as the overwhelmingly positive response to the Children’s Museum over the past six years, that joyful, transformative experiences like the ones uniquely and affordably offered through the Children’s Museum make a difference in the healthy development of children. When the Children’s Museum reopens, these experiences will continue to be accessible to all children and their loved ones.
The Children’s Museum sees over 140,000 annual visitors. This past fiscal year included 140 School Group visits, Spring and Summer Campers, Special Event visitors, Members-only Mornings, and free Sensory Friendly Afternoon groups. Access is critical to ensure all children can play. In the past year, the Children’s Museum saw 26,000 low income visitors through our “Museums for All” and other free partnership programs which subsidize admission prices. In addition, our open-door policy provides free access when needed. In addition to admissions, we have a growing online presence with over 14,000 newsletter subscribers and thousands of followers on social media channels.
For more information, visit www.cmosc.org.