New Children’s Museum
Originally built in La Jolla in 1983, The Children’s Museum was eventually relocated to downtown where it was closed a few years later to reimagine the facility for a new generation (though the organization remained open to continue its outreach programs). It took six years of planning and development and the New Children’s Museum opened in May of 2008 to resounding praise. Since that time, the museum has since served nearly 650,000 children and families, while providing numerous education, outreach, and artistic programs to the county.
The museum continually hosts a series of specific exhibitions focusing on teaching children how to think and create, as well as how to live life in the most productive way possible. Last year’s exhibit, Trash, taught children the importance of recycling by transforming refuse into art. The current focus is food, featuring the exhibit Feast: The Art of Playing with Your Food, utilizing 13 artists and 8 installations to teach children not just the importance of eating and living healthy, but how food is seen as an art form around the globe. Outside of art exhibits, the museum offers daily hands-on workshops including everything from paper art and gardening, to clay and pottery, and much more.
The construction of the New Children’s Museum was made possible by donations from the community, and to give back, the museum offers several outreach programs for children, families and educators — such as Educators Night Out, a free event that helps teachers come up with art-making programs for the classroom. Other events include Target Free Second Sundays (free admission to the museum every second Sunday, sponsored by Target), Title 1 School Visits program, Check Out NCM library program, Blue Star Museums, Mass Creativity Day, and their pARTners in Creativity enrichment program, all of which allow thousands of children to visit for free. For modest fees, the Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra concerts bring classic music to visitors, and summer camps featuring professional artists entertain children during the summer. For private use, the museum eagerly rents out its artistic space for weddings, birthday parties, and other fundraising events.
There is something to see and learn every day at the museum, and a schedule of events can be found on the organization’s Web site. (619.233.8792 thinkplaycreate.org) RYAN THOMAS