The National Children’s Museum will be reopening this November on a 33,000-square foot space in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest.
“When we reopen, we will really be a science center and a children’s museum in one,” said Crystal Bowyer, the museum’s president and CEO.
The museum will have a 50-foot slide and climbing structure that can be used by children for entry. “I knew that we needed something magical at the point of entry,” said Bowyer who was given a go-ahead last year to build a two-story contraption in a major section of the floor that previously hosted a steakhouse.
“Through interactive exhibitions exploring science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM), National Children’s Museum is uniquely poised to develop young minds and ignite curiosity in these core competencies,” notes the museum website.
The museum will be designed with an emphasis on digital and hands-on learning, focusing on children up to the age of 12. The museum will also feature an interactive exhibit allowing kids to control the weather from a green screen and a slime-themed area sponsored by children’s television network Nickelodeon.
A Data Science Alley is also planned where children can learn about data collection and social media. In the Engineering, Games and Play section of the museum, older children can design cars and engage in a design-building challenge. The museum will also have quiet rooms for children, as well as private rooms for breastfeeding mothers, and a bubble room.
Bowyer has to raise about $15 million required to open the museum, a goal which she said she’s “very close” to. Money has come in from individual donors, corporations, and philanthropies. The D.C. government has also contributed $1 million in grant funding. In addition, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation promised to sponsor 80 field trips for children coming from low-income schools.