A new perspective on the Children’s Museum
I know – - you’re gaa gaa over the new Hands On Children’s Museum which just opened near the Port of Olympia. Everyone’s fawning over the building, the contents and the future it will bring to our children.
But, mark me in the column of “Not to terribly impressed.” OK – it’s hard not to be impressed by the building. It is attractive. But that’s not the reason I’m not excited about it.
I just think it was a great waste of taxpayer’s money. It’s that simple.
When all of the costs are added up this new Hands On Children’s Museum cost the taxpayers (that’s me and you) nearly $35 million dollars. That’s a lot of money for a children’s toy.
Supporters are touting the museum as a major tourist draw. I don’t see tourism in the cards. There are 27 other hands on children’s museums in our state alone. That hardly makes our museum unique.
The current estimate is that 212,000 people will visit the museum in the first year of operation. Perhaps the newness of it will attract locals for the first year, but I’d be surprised if it attracts anywhere near that number in the second year.
The museum did fairly well when it was located near the State Capitol Campus. The campus itself was a tourist draw and some families with kids stopped by the museum so they could keep them happy and satisfied.
But, its new location, on the waterfront next to the sewage plant doesn’t seem to me to be a draw.
I also question the contents of the museum. It’s designed to show children that government policies are best.
It has a section designed to encourage the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and even has a small farmer’s market to tout local grown food.
It has a large section on environmental stewardship and the need to protect our forest and streams. Is a large display on Global Warming caused by human activity just a short time away? It also encourages art and shows how important it is to have public art.
I’m not against any of those things. I just see them as the responsibility of the family.
Another slap against the museum is the need to raise large sums of money every year just to support continued activities. These fund-raising efforts will take money away from other needed social service agencies.
The Hands on Children’s Museum will not be a tourist draw – - is oriented to make children supportive of government activities – - cost too much – - and will need vast sums of money to survive thus taking private donations away from needy social service agencies.
There – - did that add some perspective to your fawning?