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Thursday, August 17, 2017

New Louisiana Children's Museum facility breaks ground in City Park this month

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 3:05 PM

click to enlarge An aerial rendering of the new Louisiana Children's Museum facility in City Park, which breaks ground this month. - IMAGE BY MITHUN
  • IMAGE BY MITHUN
  • An aerial rendering of the new Louisiana Children's Museum facility in City Park, which breaks ground this month.

This month, the Louisiana Children’s Museum (LCM) officially breaks ground on its new home in City Park, with ambitious plans to offer ground-breaking programming to improve child welfare in New Orleans.

“Our focus on interactive learning and play remains the same,” says Julia Bland, CEO of LCM. “Another big focus is on parent education. It’s the adults that make the decisions … and to be able to help parents in their most important role as their child’s first teacher is exciting.”

The museum is expanding from its 19,000-square-foot Downtown space to an 8.5-acre complex in the heart of City Park across from the New Orleans Botanical Garden and overlooking the park lagoon. The center, along with its expanded community partnerships, will feature five indoor exhibits and galleries, including the “Follow that Food” gallery, which focuses on Louisiana food resources from field and stream to table.

Outdoor attractions include a sensory garden and an edible garden, and Pelican’s Perch and the Floating Classroom, which offer interactive ways to experience and understand Louisiana’s wetlands and ecosystem. All exhibits provide learning opportunities for parents and kids, from ages four to 94, Bland says.

click to enlarge The "Follow that Food" exhibit of the new Louisiana Children's Museum will educate kids about how Louisiana food resources get from farm to table. - IMAGE BY MITHUN
  • IMAGE BY MITHUN
  • The "Follow that Food" exhibit of the new Louisiana Children's Museum will educate kids about how Louisiana food resources get from farm to table.

Emphasis on school readiness is a part of the museum’s updated philosophy, she says, since recent research has suggested that cognitive development begins at birth, and everyday experiences — especially those in the first 1,000 days — “help to build the architecture of the brain.”

“Louisiana children have been ranking so dismally — for nearly 25 years we’ve been in the lower three rankings for nearly every benchmark,” she says. “Children have enormous potential, and we want to be able to work more specifically and intentionally with (their caregivers) to have a healthier, safer, more robust community. … In terms of what is being done for children and their (advancement) in the expanded space, I think it’s unprecedented.”

The Julia Street location remains open throughout construction, and will host several New Orleans Tricentennial events in 2018. The Big Blue Doors in City Park are slated to open in summer 2019.

click to enlarge Rendering of the facade of the new Louisiana Children's Museum in City Park. - IMAGE BY MITHUN
  • IMAGE BY MITHUN
  • Rendering of the facade of the new Louisiana Children's Museum in City Park.

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