ST. GEORGE — The Children’s Museum of St. George is nearing completion in the heart of downtown and representatives from the museum are hoping to open the doors in late September or early October. What is a historical landmark of Southern Utah and former Community Art Center has now been transformed into a state-of-the-art museum created to interest children in a variety of careers, interactive displays and teaching devices.
“Preplanning of the museum began in January,” exhibit designer Amy English said, “but the Board has been working on it for seven years.”
This fall, children and families will be able to interact with exhibits featuring a farm area, government offices, a grocery store, radio station and many more career-oriented exhibits. All areas have been created in a scene that suits the size of children and colorfully piques their interest. The second floor of the museum is designed for fun and discovery, it includes: a basketball court, a castle, a galaxy room with interactive science displays, a music center, a desert discovery site, an art room where children can paint, and many more enticements.
“Things will just come to me,” English said of the inspiration for the various designs. “Or I’ll go on the Internet and look up images for basketball.”
English has been meticulous about her designs and has even had flooring redone when the finished product didn’t materialize as she had envisioned it.
Due to the historic nature of the building, the Children’s Museum is unique in that walls cannot be torn down or shifted to suit the exhibits like they often can be at other children’s museums in the country. The design had to suit the building, English said, which makes for an interesting use of space and design.
The community may thank English for the design of the museum exhibits, Marlo Rawlings, Patti Lewis, Jeff Dastrup, Susan Grove and Ken Harris for murals, sculptor Erric Wan-Kier, and a crew of construction artists who have carefully removed the various interactive exhibits from Nevada to Southern Utah.
“They are instrumental in this project,” English said of construction artists Brian Larkin, Lance Shotwell, Brian Santiago and Nick Haslem, “they tore down the exhibits in Nevada and reset them here. No one else could have done it.”
Board of Directors Vice President Brad Owen, and Exhibit Director Betty Owen, procured many of the exhibits from the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum in Las Vegas.
Within the main floor career center of the museum, donations have come from businesses such as Zions Bank, Stephen Wade Auto, Cherry Creek Radio and the Cox family for the Boots Cox Dairy Farm. On the lower floor, Southern Utah Home Builders Association helped construct the castle and orthodontic specialist Jeff Erickson sponsored the dragon sculpture.
“We’re so appreciative of the mayor and city for being supportive of this,” English said of the project and the convenient downtown location.
A private donor funded all the exhibits that were purchased from the museum in Nevada.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
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