Leslie D. Doles
Louisiana Children's Museum
504.266.2411 (t) or 504.442.8983 (m)
Peter Mayer Public Relations
504.210.1205 (t) or 504.444.7729 (m)
NEW ORLEANS (January 25, 2017) - The Louisiana Children's Museum (LCM) today announced the details of its plans to take the play and learning outside and build a dynamic new museum in New Orleans City Park for children and families in the region and beyond, adding another major educational and visitor attraction to the city's landscape in late 2018.
Child-centered, family-friendly and located in one of the region's most beautiful and accessible locations, LCM in City Park will have indoor and outdoor environmental elements, including decks, bridges, sensory and edible gardens, a floating classroom and a restored interpretive wetlands area. The museum grounds will be on an eight and one-half acre site. The LEED certified building will sit on less than one acre, overlooking a lagoon.
"We are thrilled that the educational exhibits - indoors and out - will take advantage of the natural park setting," said Julia Bland, chief executive officer of LCM. "This new facility will give us the environment, resources and tools to positively impact early learning and education - a critical need in Louisiana which regularly falls at the bottom of national educational rankings."
"The Louisiana Children's Museum's design for its new site in New Orleans City Park will offer families a wonderful way to play, learn and build essential life skills through hands-on, everyday experiences," said Ellen Galinsky, chief science officer and executive director, Mind in the Making, Bezos Family Foundation and author of ‘Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs.' "This distinctive resource will serve as a support for parents and caregivers alike, through exhibits and grounds that will combine joyful exploration with learning opportunities each family can master. I applaud their efforts and wish them continued success."
The new campus will include five new indoor exhibit galleries, as well as a literacy center, a parent/teacher resource center and a café. Other museum additions will include a life-sized interactive chess board which will teach children about New Orleans history, an experiential floating classroom on the lagoon's edge in the wetlands environment and a Mighty Mississippi exhibit which tells the story of the journey of the River from the Twin Cities, through St. Louis and Memphis, all the way to the Port of New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. "While we will have these wonderful new exhibits, LCM is not going to forget some of the much-loved features from Julia Street, including the grocery store and bubbles," added Bland. "Guests will enter through the ‘VestiBlue,' a nod to our iconic big blue doors."
"Tulane Pediatrics has been privileged to help shape and support the vision and ambitious plans for the Louisiana Children's Museum in its reimagined location in City Park. Together we will effectively share our knowledge around the important roles of parenting, development and child health in creating a thriving community," said Samir S. El-Dahr, M.D., professor and chair, Department of Pediatrics, Tulane University. "Families throughout our region will benefit from this unique partnership and the support and guidance from Tulane Pediatrics' doctors and staff, as we strive to become a healthier community."
Upon opening in 2018, more than 225,000 visitors per year are expected to play, learn and connect to nature.
Funding the Vision: The Launch of a Community Campaign
With the foresight that its current location presents limitations for growth and expansion, LCM has been planning and quietly raising funds for the City Park location since 2006. Through private donations, federal grants and support from the State of Louisiana, LCM has fulfilled its commitment with the community and secured the $45.5 million needed for the project to break ground in 2017. Major donors Boysie and Joy Bollinger, The Jaeger Foundation and Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, along with more than 330 other donors, have contributed so far to the capital campaign.
With an eye to the future, today LCM announced the launch of the public phase of its ongoing fundraising campaign. Funds raised in this phase will ensure that LCM in City Park opens its doors with robust programs that connect children to adults, communities, regional industries and the environment.
The capital campaign has been led by chair Lizette Terral, with co-chairs Nancy Marsiglia, Anne Milling and Poco Sloss.
Partners and Resources
Joining LCM to collaborate and provide on-site programs are Tulane Pediatrics, Tulane Institute of Early Childhood and Mental Health, LSU AgCenter, Grow Dat Youth Farm and Liberty's Kitchen.
"Having seen this ambitious community vision take shape in the early stages, I am delighted with the success of the project thus far, and excited about the resources that will be available for regional families," said Geoff Nagle, Ph.D., M.P.H., L.C.S.W., president and CEO of the Erikson Institute. "The Louisiana Children's Museum is breaking new ground in forming a multifaceted early childhood campus and environment that, together with many community partners and engaging programs, will offer essential experiences for young children and their families."
Architecture and Design
LCM selected Seattle-based Mithūn, a national leader in sustainable design, as its lead architect. Mithūn is supported locally by Waggonner & Ball. "LCM in New Orleans City Park is unique and will be a global leader by bringing together early childhood resources, a children's museum, environmental learning and landscapes - all within one highly sustainable environment," said Rich Franko, lead architect, Mithūn. "As designers, we work on projects all over the world that involve children, museums, environmental learning, and community places and consider it a tremendous honor to be part of such a transformational project."
With the goal of providing the healthiest environment for children and families to grow and learn, LCM will be the first LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified building in City Park with sustainable systems designed to be visible, engaging and playful. The anticipated designation is LEED Silver.
The new exhibits were designed by Gyroscope, Inc., an award-winning museum planning, architecture and exhibit design firm, located in Oakland, CA.
The Louisiana Children's Museum is the primary resource in the State of Louisiana developed specifically for young children and their families that is open to the public. Over three decades, the Museum has celebrated generations of childhood experiences, inspired numerous careers and made many joyous connections.
The Louisiana Children's Museum is currently located at 420 Julia Street in New Orleans' Warehouse District between Magazine and Tchoupitoulas Streets. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. General admission is $8.50 per person for adults and children 12 months and older. LCM members receive free general admission Visit www.lcm.org to learn more about the Louisiana Children's Museum or call 504-523-1357.