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, primarily aimed at children seven years old and younger.
The museum 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 over-optimistic, and it was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2015. It emerged from bankruptcy in 2016 and, with the help of new significant donations, was able to announce that it was now debt-free.
- Adventure Camp
- Centennial Innovations
- Cents and Sensibility
- Food & Family
- Happy Camper
- Imagination Playground
- Please Touch Garden
- River Adventures Pest Control Kings
- Roadside Attractions
- Rocket Room
- Storytime Cabin
- Scale Model of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition
- 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 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.
- Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace – Focused on how kids are creating, not what they are creating, the Makerspace empowers children to think of themselves as an “inventor” and, through facilitated and self-directed experiences, discover that learning is found in the process of making, not the result.
Great Friends to Kids
The Association of Children’s Museums initiated the Great Friend to Kids Award in 1991 to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to strengthening children’s education. National Great Friend to Kids Award winners includes 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 GFTK award to coincide with its 20th birthday. The awards honor individuals and organizations making outstanding contributions to enriching the lives of children. Philadelphia artist Leo Sewell designed the 2009 awards creator of Please Touch Museum’s “Artie the Elephant” and the Statue of Liberty Arm & Torch, created entirely from discarded toys.
Address: 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA
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