A year ago the Delaware Children’s Museum was wondering if people would accept this big yellow thing on the Wilmington waterfront where a former night club used to sit.
As they head into a weekend of celebration for their one year anniversary, everyone connected with the DCM is feeling pretty good about the answer.
“A year ago we were projecting about 135,000 people to come through. Now we’ll have over 150,000 by the weekend,” said Julie Van Blarcom, DCM’s Executive Director.
She says by all measures DCM passed its first year test with flying colors. “I think the restaurants along the Wilmington waterfront will say their business is up 25% in the last year,” the director said.
She describes the museum as a destination point now, saying there is a good percentage from out of town. “We were very excited when our 100,000th patron was from Dowingtown, Pennsylvania. That meant we were truly regional.”
The Delaware Children’s museum will be looking at expanding its outside area in the next year or two. Van Blarcom says the museum needs to find a way to do more for the tweeners. Those are children over 12. She says they also plan to expand outdoor facilities. She also says the museum would like to establish additional partnerships, establish a research program into how children learn through play, and creating expert advisory groups for DCM.
While she paints a positive picture she also cautions that the biggest mistake DCM could make would be to expand too quickly. She says they do not want to invest in programs that they might not be able to support if an economic slump were to hit again.
The museum plans several events on Saturday and Sunday. They’ve got face painting, parades, and you can even design your own card to wish DCM a happy first birthday. Click here for a full list of this weekend’s activities.
Last year, WHYY’s First went behind the scenes at the musuem while it was still being built for an inside look. See the video below to learn more about what went into making the museum the big attraction it is now.