Steamboat Springs Employees and organizers of the Hands-On! Children's Museum want one last opportunity to give kids a chance to explore art and learn yoga, sign language and Spanish before closing its doors April 14.
The museum will offer free workshops to children and be open to all members of the community next week. It will be the last week the museum is open until a new location can be found.
"The museum offers a place for adults and children to interact and share their love of each other and nurture children's learning," said Tibby Speare, the museum's executive director. "I've enjoyed the vision that was created with so many people in the community."
Speare says she is sure the museum will find a new home and be reopened no later than winter. She said the museum members knew from the beginning they would need to relocate because of their short-term lease. The increase of their lease time from five months to a year and a half has been a gift, she said.
The success of the museum was remarkable for just getting started more than a year ago, Speare said. The museum served more than 9,000 people and has become a community gathering place for playgroups. Speare said all the positive feedback and support for the museum has fueled the ambition of museum members to find a new location and improve on the services provided for children.
The current museum has many rooms, including outer space, ranch, art and construction rooms where children can play in subject areas that interest them the most.
Speare said in the outer space room, children can literally crawl into their universe.
She said the Life on the Ranch room was the most popular and most significant to children living in the Yampa Valley. In the room, children could brand a sheep, milk a cow, ride horses, grind corn and participate in wool production.
"We liked how it nurtured the community," Speare said. "Something special or magical happens every time I'm there which is quite a lot."
The opportunity to start over will give organizers the chance to modify and make the museum better. Speare said she has received a lot of feedback from her visitors and is excited to find another location and begin rebuilding.
Speare said recreating an atmosphere engaging to both children and adults will take some time.
The planning for the new museum is ongoing and organizers are looking for community input. Speare said at their current location, they were not required to pay rent until the last few months, which allowed for the museum to get started without a lot of expense. She said the museum members are looking at purchasing or renting, but the options available will depend on the financial support the museum receives.
Speare said she hopes all people that haven't yet made it to the museum come during the final week to see what the museum has been offering to the community.
"We had so many members that kept coming back. People will miss us and we will really miss them," she said.
A fund to help assist the museum has been established at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. Call 871-9955 for more information.