Children's Museum of Alamance County
The Children's Museum of Alamance County was created by a group of community members who felt Alamance County needed a place for their children to learn and grow. It was inspired by the Alamance County-based Hayden-Harman Foundation, which created a challenge grant of one million dollars. The museum was conceptualized in 2007, followed by a strategic planning process that included market research, budgeting, and creativity groups. Nationally recognized designers were hired, and public interest polls were conducted. After a large community effort and a five-year planning process, the museum held its grand opening on Saturday, October 6, from 2p.m.-5p.m.
The museum's grand opening was packed with young children and their families. Kids from ages two to twelve scattered the entire area, scurrying from place to place in search of the next enticing exhibit, dragging along their parents by the hand. The most popular hangout among the younger age group was the Building Zone, in which children use their logic and creativity skills to produce structures out of foam connectors and card board blocks of various shapes.
Beyond the Building Zone is the Health Center, sponsored by the Alamance Regional Medical Center. Within the health center are different sections intended to represent the various areas of medicine. The orthodontist area includes a dentist chair and set of large teeth in which teeth can be removed and replaced in order to discover types, as well as foster an understanding of shape and size. Next to the orthodontist area is a light up table that mimics the way in which an x-ray reader operates, in addition to plush germ toys and removable velcro organs on a skeleton. The mini LapCorp, appropriately sponsored by LabCorp, allows children to use their own microscope and slides.
In an area of the museum that encourages an understanding of the past is the Then and Now section that explores the history of Alamance county. It includes a play house from the nineteenth century Alamance County, complete with rocking chairs for the parents' convenience. Beside the miniature house is a room containing the very popular classic train set. Adjacent to the train room is the Post Office, in which kids can transport boxes and envelopes to the various areas of the museum, to gain an appreciating of how snail mail works. Jane's Cafe acts as a play-diner where plastic meals are concocted and tables are learned to be set.
The Science and Adventure section explores the age of the dinosaurs and the future of space exploration. The astronaut room is particularly popular among the young boys who one day hope to travel to the moon themselves. Plastic dinosaurs scatter the ground when not being played with by children approximately ages two to eight.
The most popular exhibit of all, however, is the Art Room. In the Art Room, there are different crafts lead by CMOAC volunteers as well as simple coloring pages for those of younger age. The glory fo the Art Room resides in the Artist Workshop, which is a a pentagonal shaped plexi-glass structure on which children can paint, accompanied by parent-friendly smocks.
The museum is a space intended for children in the Alamnce area to explore their curiosity and develop themselves in a positive environment. The initial idea was brought about with the underprivelaged kids of Alamance county in mind. According to statistics from Alamance Partnership for children, forty-six% of children in the county are considered low income. (maybe add more here about background and statistics concerning the kids of Alamance.) Similar statistics show that over 430,000 reside within one hour of the museum, making it a fairly accessible resource. In addition to providing for those who are underprivileged, the museum also desires to provide an area encouraging the exploration of ethnic diversity and acceptance, especially with Alamance County being rich in both African American and Hispanic Heritage. Special exhibits will be crafted to help highlight the uniqueness of various ethnic groups, as well as their similarities.
Located: 217 South Main Street Graham, NC 27253
Hours: Sat 10am-5pm Sun 1pm-5pm
3. The Pendulum
4. Primary Resource- myself
5. The Official CMOAC Information Pamphlet