Imagine, an indoor space where children can learn through play! Chehalis preschool teacher Kelly Vanesse and Renell Norquist, mother of one of Kelly’s students, recognized the need for a children’s museum in Lewis County in 2008. City leaders directed them to the Chehalis Renaissance Team (CRT), which conducted research in 2010 and 2011, and eventually sought help from Citibank Asia executive and Chehalis native, David Plotz, to prepare a comprehensive feasibility study. The team interviewed directors of children’s museums around the country with communities similar to Chehalis in size and demographics. CRT decided to open a pilot children’s museum before establishing a permanent one in order to test whether it would be sustainable, as well as to discover what component would thrive and what areas need improvement. The pilot was a runaway success and plans for building a permanent home for Discover! Children’s Museum is currently underway.
Discover! Children’s Museum
Create a community resource for children and families in Lewis County where kids can learn through play and problem-solving while at the same time acquire new skills via interactive exhibits. Provide a place where parents can connect, explore and experience the spark of imagination with their children.
Chehalis Foundation raised and contributed for feasibility studies and initial research in 2010-2011, and in 2012 to open the pilot museum.
The pilot Children’s Museum opened in February 2013. The budget allowed for a six-month testing period, but attendance was so high that the pilot museum operated for close to a year. Discover! Children’s Museum is currently and the plan for a permanent home is underway.