Lakeland, FL (September 6, 2016) Explorations V Children’s Museum celebrated their 25th year of service to children and families by recognizing original founders, supporters, and volunteers. An Anniversary Brunch took place at the Museum on Sunday, August 21st. Themed, “Thinking Back, Looking Forward,” the two hour event consisted of old friends reuniting, new friends becoming, laughter, tears, and many, many memories. Guests were treated to a scrumptious spread catered by Richard DeAngelis and the folks at Red Door Wine Market while Shane Butler and Alvaro Pereiro serenaded on guitar and violin from Lemon Street Music.
Georgann Carlton, CEO, began the formal presentation by presenting board meeting minutes from the first meeting on June 14, 1990, noting that it was held at Lakeland Square Mall’s Community Room. From the next few months of minutes, it was recorded that the Museum was named, the first building was acquired, the first sponsors in place, and first exhibits created. Just over a year after the inaugural board meeting, the Museum opened in a 4500 square foot facility in downtown on July 27, 1991.
From 4500 square feet, the Museum grew to 30,000 square feet when it acquired the new and current location in the Historic Kress Building in 1998. Current Board of Directors Chairman of the Board, Jason Rodda, spoke of his excitement to be involved in the future of the Museum. Krista Yurchak, Founder, never dreamed the Museum would see 25 years and said that Carlton and team are carrying it beyond her imagination. She chuckled as she shared a memory of when she originally believed that downtown would not work for the home of the Museum. She said, “We used to have to explain what a children’s museum was,” and (in the end) “It’s the children’s energy that attracts us.”
Looking forward, the Museum will soon install a traveling exhibit, The Wizard of Oz Educational Exhibit opening mid-October. In the spring, they look to open a brand new exhibit tagged, The Music Studio. Other traveling exhibits are already planned for the Fall of 2017 as well as Spring 2018. The brunch came to a close as current, longtime employees and former board members shared memories from the beginning as well. Local artist, Rick Olivo, touched everyone’s hearts when he said, “We took these pieces, (people, place, art, exhibits) and weaved them together, and we didn’t realize (at the time) we were making other weavers,” referring to the generations of Explorations V visitors.
Explorations V Children’s Museum, a private 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is located in downtown Lakeland in the historic S.H. Kress Building. Four floors of mind stretching, kid-powered exhibits and programs provide a hands-on, fun-filled adventure in learning for children and their families. Hours are Monday – Saturday, 9am to 5:30pm. Admission is $9 per person and family memberships are $90. Active military and their family, Senior citizens 65+ and teachers with ID are $4.50. Access/EBT card holders are $3 per person. Children under two are free. Members of Explorations V Children’s Museum are also free.