Saratoga Children’s Museum to Move to Saratoga Spa State Park | Local News
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – A local museum is taking action to better serve children across the Capital Region.
The Saratoga Children’s Museum plans to relocate from its home at 69 Caroline Street in downtown Saratoga Springs to the Lincoln Baths building in Saratoga Spa State Park.
Approximately 16,000 square feet in size – twice the size of the museum’s current space – the new site is on Route 9, a few miles from Northway Exit 13, and located in a park that is already a destination for many.
Leaders of organizations like Sarah Smith hope the change will make the museum more accessible to children in other parts of the region.
Smith, who started as executive director in November 2019, said the museum board’s main goals detailed in its most recent strategic plan are to serve the entire capital region and move to a larger location.
“When you get 40,000 people a year through this building, it gets crowded,” said Smith, noting that parking can also be difficult and the downtown area of the city can be difficult for visitors to navigate. .
By relocating to Saratoga Spa State Park, the museum aims to create a more welcoming environment for guests, Smith said.
The park is also home to the National Dance Museum, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. “The connection with other cultural institutions is great,” said Smith, also mentioning the park’s Creekside Classroom Environmental Education Center.
Although plans to move were already in the works when the pandemic hit, Smith said the museum’s 15-month closure due to COVID-19 left staff time to imagine how to improve for the future.
Many of these thoughts were related to space, which will double in the new place. “We’ve had to reorganize the way we work here, and that underlines how tight things are,” said Smith, “and you really need that distance to be able to serve children better, even after the pandemic. “
During the pandemic, the Saratoga Children’s Museum began delivering hands-on science kits to the children of Troy through the Capital Region Boys and Girls Clubs Food Aid Program. Through a partnership with the YMCA, the museum also carried out a new educational program in one of Troy’s housing communities.
“We’re trying to reach the Troy and Albany area, and a little bit outside,” Smith said. “We’re also trying to reach above us in Warren County, just to make sure we reach those kids who can’t necessarily come here.”
The museum strives to be accessible to all by offering a reduced admission fee of $ 1 per person to families receiving benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). “We want to make sure that anyone who wants to come can afford to come,” Smith said.
While the museum’s framework currently focuses on children aged eight and under, it also plans to expand its offering to serve children aged nine to 12.
The idea of the Saratoga Children’s Museum in Lincoln Baths dates back to the organization’s inception. The founders, a group of nine local families, originally envisioned establishing the museum in this building in 1990. Instead, the museum debuted in downtown Saratoga Springs, on the Downstreet Marketplace on Broadway, before moving to moving to Phila Street, then to its long located on Caroline Street, where it has been operating for 20 years.
Soon the museum will be planting new roots at Saratoga Spa State Park, in a part of the historic Lincoln Baths building that has not been occupied in years. The two organizations have entered into a 20-year partnership agreement.
The museum’s new footprint, with an entrance at the rear of the building, will include exhibition space, classrooms and an outdoor courtyard. The entire museum is designed with an emphasis on accessibility, safety and inclusiveness.
The upcoming move is expected to start in the fall, when the museum is generally slow. The museum plans to be opened somehow over the winter before officially reopening next spring in its new home.
The museum will remain open at its current location throughout the summer season.
The Caroline Street building is being sold for $ 2,100,000.
More information about the Saratoga Children’s Museum is available online at cmssny.org or by calling (518) 584-5540.