April 8, 2022
The morning of April 8, 2021 was marked by bright sunshine and deep blue skies. Inside Please Touch Museum, the staff were bustling about making sure everything was “just right” for our visitors. Outside the main doors was a line of children with their grownups. Some kids were jumping up and down, some were all dressed up like they were going to a party, and all of them were anxiously awaiting the moment when their favorite place in the world would reopen its doors.
The Museum had been closed for over a year due to the pandemic. During that year, we missed the joy of seeing children explore the Museum that was created just for them. It had been a year of no Carousel rides, no ducks floating in River Adventure, no art-making in the Creative Art Studio, no laughter when our mascot Squiggles strolled through Hamilton Hall. It had been a year of no rockets launching in the Rocket Room, no end of the day parade, no exploring nature in the Garden, and no Storytime or Strolling Science Carts.
Even though Please Touch Museum was closed to visitors for a long time, we never gave up on planning for the future. When the doors opened on that bright spring day in 2021, the Museum had two new exhibits waiting for children on the lower level, including a brand new Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace Studio and Centennial Innovations. Construction had begun for Food & Family; Mo Willems’ Pigeon Comes to Philadelphia traveling exhibit was on its way; and the Double Rainbow Pop-Up exhibit was installed in a newly reimagined Center Core.
With Carousel lights on, the River filled with water, art supplies placed, and props in the exhibits, the staff eagerly opened the doors. In that moment and every week since, the Museum was once again filled with joy and laughter of children and adults re-discovering learning through play together. We heard stories of children counting the days until the Museum would open again and of families creating mini-Museum exhibits in their homes and backyards. Parents told us they knew it was hard to stay closed for so long but how grateful they were that the Museum always kept the health and safety of their children as our highest priority.
This year has flown by. Each week, more and more visitors come through our doors. Seeing children and families engaging in Museum experiences has made each day and every moment magical. They say that “childhood is about playing, discovering and believing in dreams: the imagination and possibilities are endless.” We couldn’t agree more.
On behalf of Please Touch Museum’s Board of Trustees and employee community, thank you for your patience during our year of closure. Most importantly, thank you for coming back to Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia’s only children’s museum, a place where every child is welcome and encouraged to discover all of their potential. A place where families can create memories that will last a lifetime.
Yours In Play,
Patricia D. Wellenbach
President & CEO
Please Touch Museum