The Westchester Children’s Museum recently completed Phase I of its construction plan, which expanded the exhibit and program space from 4,000 square feet to 6,500 square feet. This expansion included additional exhibit and program space; new family restrooms, and upgraded heating and ventilation systems that will enable the museum to stay open year round and be a fully operational facility.
Prior to this Phase of construction, the Museum offered a preview of its exhibitry in its Boardwalk Galleries only during the spring and summer months of 2014 and 2015, receiving almost 18,000 visitors over those two summers. Now that the Museum has been transformed into a full-time, fully operational museum (the museum will eventually occupy the full 22,000 of the North Bathhouse), the Museum expects its annual visitation number to be approximately 30,000 this year and annual growth each year after, as exhibit space is expanded. The Museum’s visitors have hailed from throughout the greater Westchester/Fairfield region as well families visiting from throughout the U.S., Canada and beyond.
“The significance of this moment in the Museum’s long trajectory cannot be understated,” said Tracy R. Kay, Executive Director of the Westchester Children’s Museum. “In order to get to this point, we must acknowledge the critical and longstanding support of our Board of Directors, our growing community of donors in the private, public, and corporate sectors, the schools and community centers that recognize the need for the valuable out of school enrichment this museum provides, and our partner – the County of Westchester. We look forward to further growing and serving the children and families of this region for generations to come.”
The official Museum opening is April 13th, a day after the Museum will host its “Doors Open” Celebration honoring long-time supporters Lisina Hoch and The Laager family.
The Museum experience will now include:
• KEVA Planks Construction and Design Zone
• Build Your Own Roller Coaster in the Con Edison Energy Gallery
• The Toddler Zone in the Curry Automotive Gallery
• Take and Leave Library, sponsored by the Make a Difference with Loukoumi Foundation
• Two Makerspaces exploring science, technology, engineering, art, design, and mathematics
• Wind Tunnel
• Shadow and Light Play
• Multipurpose Activity and Birthday Party Room
• Four new family restrooms
Hours of operation will be 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Wednesdays through Sunday. Admission will cost $7 per person, $6 for seniors, and free for children under 1 year, members, and households with active-duty military personnel.
For further information about the Westchester Children’s Museum and our education programs, visit www.discoverWCM.org
About the Westchester Children’s Museum:
The Westchester Children’s Museum is a vibrant, interactive learning space providing children, families and school groups the opportunity to nurture curiosity, enhance knowledge and ignite imagination through creative hands-on exploration. The museum is committed to broadening knowledge of the arts, the environment, multiculturalism, and the local and global communities in an educational and recreational atmosphere for children in Westchester County and the greater New York metropolitan-area.
Founded in 2003, the creation of the Westchester Children’s Museum has been a true grass roots initiative by individuals, businesses, and public officials who came together with a goal of providing enriching educational experiences for children particularly for those in underserved communities. They sought a site that would be accessible to the broadest range of audiences by public transportation and major roadways, coupled with ample space for vibrant programming. The North Bathhouse at Rye Playland, out of use for over fifty years, was identified as a site that met these requirements and offered an opportunity for architectural renewal and adaptive reuse in a location that lent itself to environmental awareness on the shores of the Long Island Sound.
The museum opened in the Summer of 2014 for 3 months with 2,000 square feet of exhibits and then again in the Summer of 2015 for 3 months with 4,000 square feet of exhibits. It has now been expanded to 6,500 square feet and is open full time as a fully functional, year-round facility. Eventually the museum will occupy the building’s full 22,000 square feet. In addition to onsite exhibits and activities, museum educators provide interactive science, art, and cultural programming to children across Westchester County through the Museum Without Walls educational outreach program. The museum now works with more than 50 community organizations and have administered nearly 300 programs per year since the program’s 2010 inception.
The Museum is in the midst of a $6.4 million capital campaign to complete construction and exhibit design and installation for the entire 22,000 square feet of the Bathhouses. The next phases in the Museum’s development will include construction of a performance theater; water play exhibits, and a one of a kind climbing structure that will wind its way through the length of the museum space and up into the clerestories above. The Museum will continue to build out new exhibit and program space, as funds are available.