July 23, 2015
Dee Dee McDevitt, Director of Marketing & Sales
(630) 637-8000 ext. 2600
DuPage Children’s Museum to Reopen on September 19, 2015
From Lemons to Lemonade: We’re coming back better than ever!
(Naperville, IL) Back in January, DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM) experienced the “Great Flood,” which damaged all three floors, causing the Museum to temporarily close. That was the bad news. But now it is time for the long-awaited good news... DuPage Children’s Museum will officially reopen its doors to the public on Saturday, September 19, 2015.
In almost eight months following the flood, a lot has happened. From drying out and cleaning up, designing and building a temporary mini-museum, meeting with countless parties to plan the destruction and re-imagination of the building and exhibits, to converting what would have been field trips to the Museum into Learning Labs held in the schools, planning Summer Camps, staying present in the community with off-site events, fundraising, and finally, the reopening of a Museum that will surprise and delight everyone. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, and that is exactly what the Museum has done.
“The hard reality of rebuilding an entire museum is that there are so many moving pieces, timelines can fluctuate almost daily. One day you’re ahead of schedule, the next day you’re a week behind,” said Kimberly Stull, Director of Exhibits and Operations. Folks who have had remodeling done in their homes can likely relate. The building construction is actually just a small piece of the timeline to reopen. The larger, more time consuming part of the Museum re-imagination is the building and repair of the custom exhibits. Almost every exhibit in the Museum is custom made. The process of making a new exhibit typically takes upwards of two years from concept to installation. DCM is managing to shorten that timeline down to mere months.
As one of the fastest growing cultural industries in the world, children’s museums have expanded exponentially in the past two decades. DCM is experiencing similar traction, as it now serves over 300,000 visitors annually, from all 50 states and from 575 zip codes just in Illinois. DCM’s reach, support and impact goes well beyond the Chicagoland area. More than a building, the Museum’s impact extends across all cultures, it breaches the boundaries of financial abilities and educational background. It touches the lives of children, families and communities, creating the building blocks for success in school and life.
“We did not arrive at this day without tremendous support from our friends, including loyal DCM members, business community, Westfield Fox Valley Mall, museum friends, government officials, media partners, relentless dedication and hard work of DCM staff, Board of Directors, volunteers and the leadership of Sarah Orleans, President/CEO,” Dee Dee McDevitt, Director of Marketing & Sales, DuPage Children’s Museum explained.
The temporary location, DCM@The Mall, continues to draw large crowds and reach new audiences. It has been a platform for fundraising, delivering programs and activities, selling memberships to a Museum that is soon to reopen along with unique toys that foster learning. “The Mall site has truly been a gift to us, our members, and the community thanks to Scott Samson, General Manager, Westfield Fox Valley Mall. Since opening, I have had many discussions about the possibility of us sustaining a longer presence and unfortunately, given the financial and human resources needed, we have concluded that it is not feasible. The temporary location will remain open at least through Labor Day weekend, 2015 and may be open a bit longer. We are making plans to thank and celebrate with our many supporters before we head back to 301 N. Washington St. We hope to see so many of our new friends on reopening day and throughout the year,” said Sarah Orleans.
Many followers may be wondering what to expect when the Museum reopens and DCM shared a tiny snippet of “inside” information. During their closure, DCM has been listening and will be incorporating many comments and suggestions that have been made. Upon reopening, The Studio will be open more hours and the Museum hours are being extended to stay open until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday nights during the school year to accommodate the schedules of more families. A new lobby will welcome members and visitors, and they will see new flooring and fresh paint colors throughout the building. Museum “Neighborhoods” including Creativity Connections, Make It Move, Build It, and The Studio, will still be part of the experience but will include fun new features alongside familiar favorites. To peak curiosity without giving away too much detail now, there will be a brand new innovative exhibit in the shadow area that uses unique technology allowing visitors to interact with virtual sand...viewers become participants and art is both playful and thought provoking. There will be other new “show stoppers” for visitors to enjoy but for now, DCM is keeping them under wraps.
An exciting line-up of events are planned for the reopening kick-off celebration week. Stay tuned for more details as “the big day” gets closer. Check DCM’s website for updates at www.dupagechildrensmuseum.org and follow DCM on Facebook and Twitter.
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About DuPage Children’s Museum
DuPage Children’s Museum is more than a Museum...we’re a force for early learning! Via interactive exhibits and programs that make learning fun for children and adults playing together, DuPage Children’s Museum helps develop curiosity, creativity, thinking, and problem solving in young children. The Museum is located at 301 N. Washington Street in Naperville, www.dupagechildrensmuseum.org or call (630) 637-8000.