One of several new initiatives moving forward, to help bring an exhibit dedicated to Muslim cultures to Philadelphia.
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage announced Tuesday that Please Touch Museum (PTM) is the recipient of a $300,000 project grant to help bring the temporary exhibit, America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far, to Philadelphia in 2019. This incredible exhibition on loan from the Children’s Museum of Manhattan will be reimagined by PTM’s education and exhibit teams in collaboration with community members and advisors to reflect the vibrant Muslim communities of Philadelphia today and throughout history. The exhibit exemplifies the Museum’s renewed commitment to celebrating diversity and encouraging children and families to do the same, and is one of several initiatives that have moved forward since the announcement of the institution’s new strategic plan in January.
“Our goal to create innovative new experiences at PTM is coming to fruition,” said Please Touch Museum President & CEO Patricia D. Wellenbach. “We committed to realizing a strategic vision for this institution that positioned us as an innovative leader in early childhood education, and we are delivering on that promise.”
The announcement of the Pew Center project grant follows closely after a design grant award from the Community Design Collaborative to create plans for a state-of-the-art expansion of the Please Touch Garden. The new outdoor area will include a working open-air lab and interactive play and programming space designed to engage and delight children in nature and provide opportunities for STEM learning, programming in sustainability, and other experiences. Fundraising for this landmark capital project will begin once the plans are completed this winter. The Museum has set a goal of breaking ground in the fall of 2018.
PTM has also taken the first steps to reimagine an entire section of its permanent indoor exhibits to be themed around health and wellness. Centered around the PTM Supermarket, one of the Museum’s most popular exhibits, the new spaces will provide opportunities for children and their families to learn lifelong lessons in how to lead healthy lives that will benefit them and the communities in which they live. The first updated exhibit in this area will open in November of this year. The Museum is in the early stages of planning for other changes to the space that we will be implemented in the coming years.
These projects directly align with the Museum’s newly-adopted strategic priorities to enrich and innovate exhibits, programs, and experiences, and to develop partnerships and collaborations to achieve greater programmatic impact and broaden community engagement. Through the reimagination of what play can be, what it can teach, and how it brings us together, Please Touch Museum is creating experiences that will empower children to be successful in the 21st century.