Published October 17, 2006
Volume 14, Number 10

Valley Children’s Museum Makes Progress Towards Opening, Hosts Special Holiday Homes Event in December

Plans are accelerating rapidly for the creation of the Valley Children’s Museum, a new endeavor being created in a collaboration of local groups, corporations, and individuals. With a site in Dublin all but secured, the group is turning its attention to issues like building design and exhibit strategy, as well as the possibility of a mobile museum which could fill educational needs of Tri-Valley children until the permanent museum is created. Add the group’s annual Holiday Home Tour fundraiser, to be held in Ruby Hill and surrounding communities in December, and it’s clear that there’s a lot going on.

What got all this activity rolling was an April agreement between the Valley Children’s Museum and the City of Dublin which will give the museum up to two acres in a planned 40 acre community park. That land is part of a 187 acre swap which Dublin is coordinating with the U.S. Army, which will be giving up part of their Camp Parks property in exchange for a variety of infrastructure improvements to the base.

“The timing of this is contingent on the Army’s process of transferring the land to Dublin,” says Linda Spencer, VCM spokesperson. “Their next step is to select a master developer for the whole 187 acres and as soon as we know who that is, the city and the museum can begin talking with them directly.”

Spencer says that they are not sitting idly while waiting for that to occur, however. “Now that we have more information about our location, we have been able to look at what the style of the building will be and what the exhibits will be, so we have created our building design committee and our exhibit strategy committee. Both of them are looking at how the building fits into that environment and what four or five exhibits that we will focus on internally and externally as part of the outdoor exhibit area.”

The museum plans to design its exhibits in collaboration with local educators. “We’ve met with all of the superintendents of each of the four school districts in the immediate area and a number of educators they identified in their districts to focus on what the exhibit and program needs are, so that we make sure we serve all of the schools consistently and meet all of their needs for teaching California standards,” Spencer says. “It’s incredibly important for us to realize that whatever we do has to support the curriculum. You know, it’s a great family fun experience, but more than that it’s an education tool. It wouldn’t be of value to the schools if we created some big program that didn’t meet their needs too.”

Even before the building is constructed, however, the Valley Children’s Museum has an opportunity to create an interim mobile exhibit. “It could be really spectacular if everything comes together,” she says. “We have the opportunity to accept the donation of a mobile unit, a 52-foot semi truck trailer, and it’s already been designed as a museum and a company has offered to donate it to us. There are a lot of requirements that would go along with accepting that donation, like insuring it and storing it, retrofitting it with the new exhibit, but we’d love to make it happen if we can.”

While the capital campaign for the new facility is not expected to kick off for at least a year, the museum has been working with a number of local corporations, including Sybase and AT&T, both of whom have provided grants. A number of individuals have also made significant contributions through the museum’s Founders Club program.

The Holiday Home Tour, which takes place from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. on December 10, supports the group as well. “There will be decorated homes in Ruby Hill and the surrounding community, unusual spectacular homes that you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise, and at each home there will be children performing musical entertainment, either singing or instruments. We’ll be serving food at each home, we will have a raffle of really neat things, and another special feature we have at our tours is shopping boutiques for last-minute holiday shopping with vendors offering local, handcrafted items: jewelry, food items, and other unique gifts.”

A limited number of tickets are available through the group’s web site at www.valleychildrensmuseum.org. Tickets and additional information about volunteer or sponsor opportunities is available by contacting Linda Spencer at (925) 461-6574, ext. 2.


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