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Please Touch Museum facts for kids

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Please Touch Museum
Memorial Hall
Memorial Hall in 2010
Established 2 October 1976 (1976-10-02)
Location Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park
4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Type Children's museum
Accreditation American Alliance of Museums
Visitors 566,000 (2011)
Founder Portia Sperr
Public transit access Bus transport SEPTA.svg SEPTA bus: 38, 40
Bus transport Philly PHLASH

The Please Touch Museum is a children's museum located in the Centennial District of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The museum focuses on teaching children through interactive exhibits and special events, mostly aimed at children seven years old and younger.

History

The museum originally opened at the Academy of Natural Sciences on October 2, 1976, in a 2,200-square-foot (200 m2) space, and moved to another location on nearby Cherry Street two years later. In 1983, the museum moved to 21st Street near the Franklin Institute. On February 14, 2005, the museum received an 80-year lease for Memorial Hall (in Fairmount Park), the last major building left from the 1876 Centennial Exposition. This came after plans to relocate the museum to a location at Penn's Landing fell through. Renovations at Memorial Hall began on December 15, 2005, and the museum closed its 21st Street location on September 1, 2008. On October 18, 2008, the museum opened at its current location with a larger facility and more exhibits.

The museum's financial projections related to its move to Memorial Hall proved to be over-optimistic and it was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2015. It emerged from bankruptcy in 2016 and, with the help of new major donations, was able to announce that it was now debt-free.

In September 2018 the Philadelphia Flyers introduced their new mascot, Gritty, at a ceremony at the museum.

Exhibits

  • Adventure Camp
  • Centennial Innovations
  • Cents and Sensibility
  • Happy Camper
  • Healthy Me
  • Imagination Playground
  • Please Touch Garden
  • River Adventures
  • Roadside Attractions
  • Rocket Room
  • Storytime Cabin
  • Wonderland

Other

  • Garden Grille Cafe
  • Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel
  • The Kids Shop

Programs

  • Playhouse Theater - As a component of the museum experience, Playhouse performances by in-house performers present opportunities for playful learning, imagination, innovation and audience interaction featuring music, movement, folklore and/or puppetry, all while introducing children to live arts.
  • Creative Arts Studio - Each month, there is a new set of art experiences, which include a studio art experience, a sensory art experience and a manipulative art experience. The Creative Arts Studio provides a setting for parent-child interaction.

Great Friend to Kids (GFTK) Awards

The Association of Children's Museums initiated the Great Friend to Kids Award in 1991, to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions toward strengthening education for children. National Great Friend to Kids Award winners include Fred Rogers ("Mister Rogers") and Marian Wright Edelman (president and founder of the Children's Defense Fund).

In 1996, the Please Touch Museum began presenting its own GFTK award, to coincide with the museum's 20th birthday. The awards honor individuals and organizations making outstanding contributions to enriching the lives of children. The 2009 awards were designed by Philadelphia artist Leo Sewell, creator of Please Touch Museum's own "Artie the Elephant" and the Statue of Liberty Arm & Torch created entirely from discarded toys.

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