Saratoga County

Children’s Museum at Saratoga becoming friendlier to older children

The new administrative team at the Children’s Museum at Saratoga is creating programs for older c

PHOTOGRAPHER:

The new administrative team at the Children’s Museum at Saratoga is creating programs for older children as well as for its younger visitors.

“We want to make it a place for all ages,” said new executive director Lauren Cohen.

She said she has two older boys, ages 9 and 11, and a 4-year-old daughter. The museum’s new education director, Chris Stack, also has two older boys.

They believe the museum at 69 Caroline St. will attract more visitors if it can satisfy the needs of older children as well as children in the 2- to 7-year-old range.

“There is no reason to stop playing [when a child gets older],” Cohen said.

An example of a new program for older children is the museum’s “Wacky Wednesdays” after-school program for children 6 years old and older.

The program was launched Feb. 6 and will be held each Wednesday from 3:45 to 6 p.m.

The Children’s Museum was founded in 1990 by local parents and educators. The non-profit organization was first located in a vacant store in the Downstreet Marketplace on Broadway.

The museum moved to 36 Phila St. in 1994 and in 2001 to the large, more suitable 69 Caroline St.

Cohen said there was a “honeymoon” period at the new location and attendance soared for some years.

But then attendance “started to dwindle a bit,” she said.

Two weeks ago, the museum announced its new administrative team.

Cohen, a Wilton resident, had been a member of the museum’s board of trustees for two years and has been on the board at the Saratoga Independent School for four years. She succeeds former director Barbara Milano.

Cohen has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s from the Teaching College of Columbia University.

Chris Stack, the new education director, has a master’s degree in education from The College of St. Rose and has worked in the childhood education field for more than 20 years. She is the parent of two boys and lives in the Saratoga region.

Jennifer Tufano is the new operations director. She is a former higher education administrator with a bachelor’s degree from Nazareth College in Rochester and a master’s degree from Seattle University, according to a statement from the museum.

Tufano is the mother of two little girls, lives in Saratoga County, and is also involved with the local volunteer organization, Grants To You.

Cohen said the museum’s exhibits are created in a “layered” manner so that, for example, the Central Market and Grocery Store on the second floor appeals to children of various ages.

The two-floor museum has 11 permanent exhibits. Cohen said the new staff is making regular changes in the permanent exhibits so they are fresh and new to parents and children coming to the museum multiple times. The exhibits will be getting regular changes of props and music.

The museum averages about 650 visitors a week, Cohen said. Admission is $5 per person, including children age 1 and older, and parents.

The museum is funded through admissions, memberships, birthday parties, donations and grants.

Approximately 80 percent of the museum’s visitors come from Saratoga Springs and the surrounding area.

Cohen said the museum is also planning programs for teachers and day-care providers. For example, on April 10 the museum will host an Early Childhood Networking Night from 6:15 to 8 p.m. The cost of this program will be $7 per person.

For more information about the museum call 584-5540 or visit the Web site www.cmssny.org.

Categories: Schenectady County

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