The DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville has set a date for its grand reopening: Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, more than eight months after it closed because of water damage.
In an email sent this week to museum members, Sarah Orleans, the museum’s president and CEO, said the date was “just in the nick of time to meet our summer deadline.” (The last day of summer this year is Sept. 22.) She promised more details on reopening festivities in the coming weeks.
As many of you know, the museum suffered severe water damage in January. A pipe burst and flooded all the floors, and while professional service companies were immediately hired to assess, repair and clean up the damage, it’s taken longer than initially expected for the museum to reopen.
“The hardest part of getting the museum back up and running is the completion of the custom exhibits,” according to a Q&A on the museums’ website. “Most exhibits in the museum are custom made. On average, it takes upwards of two years to complete a new exhibit from concept to installation. DCM is managing to condense that two years, to only several months without compromising quality of experience.”
Museum staff won’t give much away about the renovated building. But there will be a new lobby, new flooring and fresh paint colors. There will be a brand new innovative exhibit in the shadow area that uses unique technology allowing visitors to interact with virtual sand. And some of the old favorites, like Make it Move, Build It and The Studio, will include fun new features.
While the museum was closed, a temporary new home for DCM opened on the second level of the Westfield Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, near the Carson Pirie Scott store. Called DCM@TheMall, it is open about the same hours as the mall itself, seven days a week, and is staffed by DCM employees and volunteers. It features a “pay as you will” admission price and a number of drop-in programs.
The museum says it’s been decided based on “financial and human resource” demands that it is not feasible to sustain DCM@TheMall. It will remain open at least through Monday, Aug. 31, and perhaps a bit longer. There will be some kind of celebration at DCM@TheMall before it closes to thank its supporters, but details are still being finalized.
Members of the museum who had their membership interrupted because of the flooding will have their memberships extended to cover the amount of time the building was closed. Here’s a handy conversion chart to see how long your membership will be extended; if your membership expired during the closure, you can visit DCM@TheMall to get your new expiration date sticker, to take advantage of special member offers and to expedite the check-in process once the museum is reopened.
Finally, there are still a number of special offers for members, including free admission to SciTech in Aurora, WonderWorks Children’s Museum in Oak Park and Naper Settlement in Naperville, and free admission on weekdays to the Kohl’s Children’s Museum in Glenview. There are more offers available – find details here.
We’ll bring you more details as we learn about them, so stay tuned!