BY DENISE HEIDEL, WITH THE COLLABORATION OF KALEIDEUM
In 2016, the Winston-Salem Children’s Museum and SciWorks merged to form Kaleideum – two places with a common mission – “Inspirational amazement, curiosity and lifelong learning among our children and in the community through interactive play and discovery.” Together – between the two organizations and since the merger they have been involved in the community for more than 68 years to provide interactive learning experiences for children and families. Together, these two locations have drawn visitors, inspired guests, and been an integral part of the educational fabric of our community over the past four years.
Now is the time to move … one that creates an exciting family destination in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem.
In June 2020, Kaleideum unveiled the design for the new museum building in downtown Winston-Salem. This is the result of years of cooperation and strategic planning by the Kaleideum staff, the board and the community leaders. And after weeks of home orders and discouraging news in the media, this announcement was a welcome breath of fresh air for the Piedmont Triad. Elizabeth Dampier, Managing Director of Kaleideum said, “Museums are catalysts for thriving communities. After weeks of adapting to our new standards, a contemporary, interactive museum for art, science and exploration is becoming even more important as an accessible destination in the heart of the city center. Our team looks forward to entering this new phase of our organization and sharing it with this community. We love a visual manifestation of the values and identity of Kaleideum. After all, we are a place where people of all ages can challenge themselves, cross borders, ask questions and deal with their surroundings. “
Kaleideum has received tremendous public and private support for this initiative. “The Kaleideum Mission focuses on the arts and sciences,” said Dampier. “We thrive on the educational importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and use the arts as a thread that brings all of this together in an integrative environment that combines creative learning with problem solving and experimentation. It is a hands-on approach to learning “reinvented learning” and it is something that is meant to be experienced by everyone. “
Gensler, a global architecture, design and planning firm with an office in Raleigh, and Stitch Design Shop in Winston-Salem are the architects of the project, which is a five-story, approximately 72,000-square-foot museum and a 13,000-square-foot adventure – and event room on the roof.
“The new museum aligns the visitor experience with the Kaleideum mission by creating an inviting, visible hub for the community,” said Brad Burns, Gensler Design Director. “The building concept is based on the idea of experiencing rooms from different perspectives, integrates the natural environment and offers flexible spaces that enable a wide range of learning experiences. One of the most unique aspects of the museum is the multi-level rooftop exhibit that offers opportunities to study, play, and great views of the downtown area and beyond. “
The new family destination will be a link between the arts and culture district in the north and the more historic and bourgeois district in the south and will be flanked by two public spaces, Merschel Park and Liberty Plaza. When completed, the new museum will anchor the southern end of Merschel Park, an open space in the city center south of the intersection of Trade Street and Fourth Street.
The project site is also an easily accessible place on corner 3approx Street and Town Run Lane and the new building will be on the site of the former Sheriff’s Building, an office building demolished due to restrictions that would not allow renovation to maximize potential museum exhibits. The construction project was awarded to the Frank L. Blum Construction Company of Winston-Salem.
“The Children’s Museum and SciWorks, now Kaleideum Downtown and Kaleideum North, have always been wonderful resources for the Forsyth County community,” said Mark Dunnagan, vice president of Blum. “Over the years, these facilities have been special places for Blum Construction employees and our families. We continue to cherish the memories made there and look forward to creating new memories in Kaleideum’s new home. “
The new building is a public-private partnership with Forsyth County that has allocated $ 30.5 million to the project. The City of Winston-Salem is donating $ 2 million to demolish and renovate Liberty Plaza. “We are very grateful for the generous funds that are funding this project,” said Dampier. “These funds will help us create a great place to learn that generations will enjoy.”
The building concept is based on the idea of experiencing rooms and locations from different perspectives. Two main materials are used outside – smooth, colorful metal plates and highly structured precast concrete parts. The design is inspired by the geometric shapes and triangulated shapes captured in a kaleidoscope, the instrument of art and science on which the museum’s name is based.
“The exterior of the building offers interesting angles of light, shadow and color based on the time of day and the viewpoint,” said Dampier. “It will be a visual experience, also from the outside.
“One of the things our team looks forward to most is the rooftop experience,” continued Dampier. “It’s an amazing opportunity for a child to play and learn from the top of the building. This offers a unique perspective, interesting views, and stimulates curiosity through play.”
The new Kaleideum building also embodies Winston-Salem’s slogan – the City of Arts and Innovation – and offers space for imagination and creativity as well as an inviting experience for those looking to learn and grow.
“As a native of this community, I can vividly remember how I visited what was then the Science Center in the mid-1980s and how it made people feel amazed and excited to learn,” said Adam Sebastian from the STITCH Design Shop. “By innovatively using shape, material and color to create compelling visual effects, the new Kaleideum building embodies the spirit of the City of Arts and Innovation while also embracing Kaleideum’s mission to inspire wonder, curiosity and lifelong learning and a safe and welcoming experience to offer a place where our entire community can learn and dream together. “
Construction of the new Kaleideum building is expected to begin in summer 2021, with an expected opening date in spring 2023.
visit kaleideum.org Information on Kaleideum’s most current plans to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like Kaleideum on Facebook and follow them on Instagram. Have fun learning online via Kaleideum’s blog or YouTube channel. Donations can be made to Kaleideum through their website.
QUOTE # 1
“The new museum aligns the visitor experience with the Kaleideum mission by creating an inviting, visible center for the community. The building concept is based on the idea of experiencing rooms from different perspectives, integrates the natural environment and offers flexible rooms that enable a wide range of learning experiences. One of the most unique aspects of the museum is the multi-level rooftop exhibit that provides opportunities to study, play, and great views of the downtown area and beyond. “
Brad Burns, Design Director + Associate, Gensler
“The Children’s Museum and SciWorks, now Kaleideum Downtown and Kaleideum North, have always been wonderful resources for the Forsyth County community. Over the years these facilities have been special places for Blum Construction employees and our families. We continue to cherish the memories made there and look forward to creating new memories in Kaleideum’s new home. “
Mark Dunnagan, Vice President of the Frank L. Blum Construction Company
Opportunities for distance learning and for enrichment in the kaleideum
While Kaleideum remains closed to the public during the week, the museum responds to community needs with options to support and enrich distance learning. All options are at the Kaleideum North at 400 West Hanes Mill Road.
Kaleideum offers half-day options for enrichment.
- Morning preschool enrichment camp for 3 – 5 years. Available from August 17 to October 23, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
- Afternoon enrichment camp for kindergarten students – 5th grade. Offer from August 17 to October 23, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
Children can enjoy games, explore the great outdoors, and participate in science, art, and technology enrichment programs to support social / emotional development.
Kaleideum offers an all-day remote learning support option.
- Distance learning support for students in kindergarten – 8th grade. Offer from August 17 to October 23, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
Students will be in small groups and work within the distance learning curricula provided by your child’s school and participate in afternoon enrichment activities.
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