By Lisa Balschunat
The Children’s Museum at Saratoga will move into a portion of the Lincoln Baths in the Saratoga Spa State Park this fall.
The museum is located at 69 Caroline St., in Saratoga Springs which has been its home for about the last two decades.
It serves 30,000-40,000 visitors annually and has reached its capacity of 8,000 square feet, said museum Executive Director Sarah Smith.
“With the move to the Lincoln Baths, the museum will be doubling its space to 16,000 square feet. We will be turning a fabulous building in the New York State Park back to public use,.”
It has been unoccupied for several years.
“We are so thankful to the community for supporting The Children’s Museum over the years,” Smith said, “and, we are so excited to grow again.”
Months prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the museum board of directors underwent a strategic plan initiative that included taking another look at an old idea to have the museum inhabit the Lincoln Baths. After a lengthy study, the board agreed the timing was right.
The new location will have ample parking and easier access off Northway Exit 13.
Envision Architects PC of Albany and Bonacio Construction of Saratoga Springs will design and renovate the space, respectively.
According to Smith, the museum mission has remained constant for three decades, that is “educating children through play.” Legacy interactive exhibits including the Fire Truck, Grocery Store, Spa Little Theater and The Bank will be moving to the new location touting 8,000 indoor square feet, plus 4,000 square feet of outdoor courtyard.
Today, a child’s curiosity also can be piqued at museum’s Veterinary Clinic, STEM Room, Creation Station, Congress Park and The Bandstand. Three new exhibitions will be introduced in Spring 2022 including: The Farm that will educate children about the locally grown food, The Ice Cream Parlor, and Boating that will feature with boating and water safety.
By the spring, there will be new programs and interactive exhibits that will be expanded to serve children up to age 13. Previously, the museum focused on children up to age 8.
Additionally, the new space will feature a Parent Resource Room. “We all know children don’t come with a manual,” said Smith. “We will have many resources on-hand to help new parents and caregivers learn about the immense value of ‘education through play.’”
Recently, museum launched a capital campaign with a goal of raising $3 million over the next 12 months to help fund the move and expansion.
Last month, the museum reopened after being closed 15 months due to the pandemic. Hours are 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday through Saturday. It is operating at a limited capacity with COVID-19 safety protocols in place. Masks are required since children are not vaccinated.
The museum employs five full-time staff, three part-time summer workers and is presently mentoring a student intern from Skidmore College. Pre-pandemic, the museum had 300 members. It presently has 85, with a hope of rebuilding that base.
To become a member and for more details about The Children’s Museum, visit www.cmssny.org or call (518) 584-5540.