OSWEGO, NY – A new non-profit organization is working towards opening a children’s museum in the city of Oswego.
“We are looking to gain awareness in the community,” Jon Shaver, president of the board of trustees for the Children’s Museum of Oswego, told Oswego County Today. “We will hold a public informational meeting on June 11 at 7 p.m. at the YMCA Armory.”
The museum would be for the benefit of children, families, educators and caregivers in the community, he explained.
“This won’t be your ‘typical’ museum. “It’s going to be hands-on experience with self-directed play for the kids,” he added.
There just didn’t seem to be much to engage children, especially young ones, in the Port City, he said, explaining why he and his wife came up with the idea and formed a board of directors of other parents and interested parties.
The museum would house a variety of interactive exhibits designed to promote physical and intellectual development.
“Exhibits will focus on aspects of current and historical local significance, imaginative play, the arts, science and mathematics,” Shaver said. “The Children’s Museum of Oswego will also offer programs for various age groups that provide a structured learning objective such as crafts, topics in science exploration, environmental studies, music and movement and literacy activities.”
According to Shaver, children’s museums are based on the idea that play is the gateway to childhood learning.
Through a hands-on approach, children are presented with interactive exhibits that build understandings of early learning concepts in a unique environment. Inside the museum, children are encouraged to touch, move, build, make noise and explore.
“So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Shaver said. “We want to keep the momentum going and get this done. We want to get the word out so more people can get involved.”
Children’s museums empower children to learn through play, Shaver noted.
Museums’ exhibits are designed around meaningful, educational experiences, allowing children to learn about themselves and the world around them at their own pace.
Exhibits at CMOO may include a mock town square where children run the bank, post office, grocery store, and doctor’s office, a hands-on science and technology center, child operated canal system, interactive Kingsford Starch or Oswego Candy Works Factory, a miniature scale West Pierhead Lighthouse to climb through and more, Shaver explained.
Organizers of the group will be at the Oswego Farmers’ Market every first and third Thursday of the month.
They will have a fun, interactive exhibit as well as an activity for children.
“We will also be at events throughout the summer including Tri-Oswego. We will have our own tent in the children’s park at Harbofest with around 15 exhibits as well as workshops and activities all weekend,” Shaver added.
They are currently undergoing a feasibility study to determine the need and scale of their project within the community.
“We are a chartered non-profit organization in New York State with a pending IRS 501(c)(3) status. The first location we are evaluating is the First Presbyterian Church of Oswego, which is currently owned by the American Legion. We are working towards acquiring the building and would restore its historical quality,” Shaver said. “Our other proposed location is the old YMCA building. After the YMCA moves into its new facility, the building will be mostly vacant.”
For more information, visit cmoo.org, the group’s facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ChildrensMuseumofOswego) or call Shaver at 349-4378.
Those interested in attending the public information meeting are asked to email [email protected] if they are able to attend the session.
“It is by no means a requirement to attend. We are just trying to get a feel for how many people will be there,” Shaver said.