In Fall, 2010 the Madison Children’s Museum celebrated the grand opening of its TKWA-designed new facility (view project page) that greatly expands the museum’s capacity to serve larger audiences, older children, and school groups in a strong interdisciplinary program emphasizing the arts, sciences, history, culture, health, and civic engagement. Located in a renovated 1930’s department store building on the Capitol Square in Madison, the museum has already achieved national recognition for its Only Local Initiative in which it pledged to use local people, products, and processes that involve the community in the design and construction. The Only Local Initiative reflects the museum’s pledge to create a true community museum while reducing its carbon footprint.
By building innovative exhibits using natural fabrics and recycled materials, tackling indoor air quality and instituting green incentives for employees, the new building takes a local approach to ecological design. “With our emphasis on local people, products, and processes that involve the community, Madison Children’s Museum creates a unique sense of place that appeals to adults as well as children,” said Ruth Shelly, executive director, Madison Children’s Museum.
Several leading children’s museums, including Madison Children’s Museum, have begun employing green practices in their operations, expansion projects, and exhibit environments. To coordinate this endeavor, Madison Children’s Museum launched GreenExhibits.org to provide museum exhibit designers and fabricators a resource for designing and building exhibits and environments that best support healthy spaces and a healthier future for kids and the environment.