Plans are underway for The Children’s Museum of Cleveland’s Renovation

Plans are underway for The Children’s Museum of Cleveland’s Renovation

- in Parenting

Plans are underway for The Children’s Museum of Cleveland’s renovation of the historic Stager Beckwith mansion in Midtown.  Since purchasing the property in December 2014, the Museum has collaborated with exhibit designers and early childhood stakeholders to create a Museum that brings children and adults together in innovative ways to learn through play.  Due to an upcoming commercial redevelopment on its current property, the Museum’s lease is not being renewed. As such, the Museum will close its University Circle facility on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016 and begin to serve the community through a dynamic series of programs held throughout the community until the time when the renovation in Midtown is complete and the Museum is ready to open its new home to visitors.

“The future is very bright for The Children’s Museum of Cleveland and we’re excited to be taking an important next step forward in our plans toward a fully realized new home in Cleveland,” said Maria Cashy, Chairwoman of the Board of The Children’s Museum of Cleveland.

 An Inside Look at the Future Children’s Museum

The Museum serves 100,000 visitors annually and is experiencing a record high summer attendance in 2015.  It is the only cultural institution in Northeast Ohio focused exclusively on the education of children birth to 8 years of age, a formative time when learning happens through play and social interactions.  Families from all parts of Northeast Ohio seek out the Museum – the Museum has one of the most diverse bases of visitors in both ethnicity and household income in the local museum community.

Through an imaginative and creative style of design focused on whole child development, the Museum will turn the mansion’s spaces into areas filled with laughter and play based learning. Twelve thousand square feet of brightly-lit exhibit spaces will cover all forms of play and are designed to support the development of 21st century skills: creativity, problem solving, communication and collaboration. On the ground floor the large ballroom will brim with a complex system of kid-sized buildings, allowing children opportunities to build, work, and live in a dynamic adventure city exhibit. This exhibit will combine physical activity, imaginative play, and free explorations. Adjacent to the ballroom, the commercial kitchen will be transformed into a wonder lab where children will become scientists as they explore with water, experiment with air and create with magnetic gears.  First floor exhibits will include an early childhood room focusing on birth to 3 years of age and arts & parts room where children can tinker, innovate, create and build.

“We’ve experienced an overwhelming amount of support from our community,” said Maria Campanelli, Executive Director of The Children’s Museum of Cleveland. “Initial funders and early childhood stakeholders are excited about the vision of the Museum in our new location.”

What Visitors Can Expect Between Now and the New Year

Museum operations, programming and exhibits will continue at the current University Circle facility through Jan. 3, 2016.  Young Architects:  Designing the Future opens Sept. 12, 2015. This special exhibit highlights famous architects as inspiration and uses various block building media for a hands-on interactive learning experience for young children.  In addition, visitors will enjoy daily programs that celebrate the fun, learning, and early childhood development that has been experienced in the current building by three generations of children since 1986.

Until the end of 2015, The Museum will continue offering its Sensory Friendly Times, the second Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and third Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. of each month when families with children with special needs can enter the Museum free of charge.  During Sensory Friendly Times, lights are dimmed, music is turned off and attendance is controlled so that children with special needs can explore the Museum at their own pace while parents can connect with each other.

Continuing Service to the Community, Without Walls

As a vital part of the community’s education ecosystem, the Museum will continue to provide learning through play experiences for children birth to 8 years old during the renovation of and transition to the new Midtown facility.  Starting in 2016, Museum Without Walls will bring the Museum’s educational and entertaining programs to Northeast Ohio’s communities and will reflect the design and learning principles of the coming exhibits and future programs in the new facility.

Museum Without Walls is made possible through collaborations with community organizations. Its partnership with Cleveland Public Library will provide Museum programs in branches throughout the city.  The Museum will partner with TIES Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM to design and launch an Early Childhood Mobile Fab Lab.  This mobile digital fabrication lab will enable children 3 to 8 years old to design, tinker and play using digital platforms and materials of the 21st century.  This Early Childhood Fab Lab will be the first in the nation. The community also will be able to connect with the Museum and enjoy special Museum programs at festivals throughout the region.

“We recognize the value the Museum brings to our community’s youngest children and the unique resource we are to parents and caregivers. We are committed to serving these families during this transition to a new home for the Museum,” said Campanelli.

To keep the community informed of the Museum Without Walls community programming, updates on the future Museum, and fun ideas for at-home activities with children, the Museum will launch The Little Builders Club.  All families who have subscribed to The Children’s Museum of Cleveland eNewsletter will be enrolled in this club automatically when the current facility closes and the Museum Without Walls launches.  Visitors to Museum Without Walls’ programs also can sign up for this free information resource.




About the author

Angela Gartner has been the editor at Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine since 2014. She has won local and national awards for her features, columns and photography over the years. Previously, her work appeared in publications including The News-Herald, Sun Newspapers and The Chicago Tribune. She grew up in Northeast Ohio and is a mom of two boys. The whole family is busy every weekend with sports and finding new happenings around the region. She is also a board member and past president at the Cleveland Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She loves reading, writing poetry and taking the family's Scottish Terrier on walks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.