Construction Continues On Children’s Museum Expansion
Construction continues on the Children Museum of Houston’s expansion, which is scheduled for completion in March of next year. The $35 million project will double the museum’s size to 83,000 sq. ft.
The museum sees about 600,000 annually, and the original space was designed for just 350,000.
According to Executive Director Tammie Kahn, every one in three days the Museum is beyond capacity. Free Family Nights every Thursday often draw more than 2,000 people in just a three hour span.
The expansion will create an additional 39,000 square feet and renovate existing facilities increasing the quality, scope and reach of the museum’s bilingual (English/Spanish) exhibits and programs. Architecture firm Jackson & Ryan developed plans for the new three-level building, which will join the current Mary Gibbs Jones Building, designed by architect Robert Venturi. The new building will house seven new bilingual exhibit galleries designed to provide families with interactive learning experiences.
Additionally, five existing galleries will be fully renovated and the Museum’s Houston Public Library branch will double in size. Each exhibit will be created with the support of external research partners, including national advisors and universities such as: Rice; Baylor College of Medicine; M.I.T.; Lawrence Hall of Science at Berkeley; Mt. Holyoke College; TERC at Cambridge, MA; and the University of Houston. Each of the museum’s current and future exhibits are aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills guidelines that structure public school education in Texas and guidelines set by national teaching organizations.
“The focus for the exhibits in the new space are to be inquiry-based, serving as living learning labs for children, parents, teachers and caregivers,” said Children’s Museum of Houston Board President Lee Lahourcade. “Using learning principles drawn from national education standards and learning theories, the exhibits will enable parents to serve as their children’s first teachers and improve their readiness for school.”