Friends of Please Touch Museum,
On Thursday, April 8, we will reopen the doors of Memorial Hall and begin welcoming visitors back to Please Touch Museum.
The pause on playing together for more than a year has been surreal, and unexpected when we closed on March 14, 2020. During our closure, we heard from children like 5-year-old Dylan, who sent a handwritten note asking us to reopen, and witnessed the creativity of our community learning through play at home, like our member family the Behringer’s, who recreated PTM’s exhibits in their home because they missed the Museum. In the quiet moments, it was hearing from children and families that sustained us, inspired us, and encouraged us to find the path to reopening for the community of families we so proudly serve.
Over the past year, a small team of employees were hard at work creating the future of play. We have designed and constructed a new 1,700 sq. ft. Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace Studio which encourages hands-on tinkering and asks children to think of themselves as “inventors.” We completed a $1.75 million new Centennial Innovations exhibit, exploring how creativity and critical-thinking skills can inspire children to develop solutions to problems they see in their own world, asking kids to consider: If you could change the world… What would you create? Who would you become? What would new world look like? When we planned for these two spaces, we could have never imagined how important these would be as we navigate a post-pandemic world.
We have also been active in engaging with children living in West Philadelphia’s Parkside neighborhood. Through a lead gift from the PNC Foundation through its Grow Up Great initiative, in July we created and distributed 1,000 Summer Discovery Backpacks, filled with learning activities to build social and emotional skills that families could do at home together. In September, we partnered with The GIANT Company and distributed 2,000 backpacks filled with food as part of Hunger Action Awareness Month. And in January 2021, we opened two of our classrooms in the Museum to a Remote Access Learning Center for 44 School District of Philadelphia students who needed a place to learn during virtual school. It’s initiatives like these, along with our virtual programs with members and reimagined New Year’s Eve Countdown from Home celebration, that kept us connected and rooted in our mission.
There is much to recover from, some of which we may not fully understand for some time. By reopening our doors, we hope to provide moments of joy, laughter, and new opportunities for discovery and connection as we all learn to play together again. We can’t wait to see you at Please Touch Museum.
Your in Play,
Patricia D. Wellenbach
President & CEO
Please Touch Museum
Come Play at Please Touch Museum!
We have reviewed every aspect of our operation in order to welcome members, visitors and staff back to the Museum. We have created several web pages to learn more about what is new, what to expect, and how to make a reservation for your next visit. Please click one of the buttons below to learn more.