Local working moms collaborate to launch Sarasota Children’s Museum

January 7, 2024

A dedicated group of local working moms has joined forces to unveil the Sarasota Children’s Museum, a non-profit organization aimed at providing year-round hands-on learning space for families in the Sarasota community.

Despite Sarasota's reputation as a world-class city with a rich artistic history, numerous outdoor attractions and periodic programs in the libraries and museums, there has been a noticeable absence of a comprehensive facility catering to the dynamic needs of young learners. Since the closure of the GWIZ (Gulf Coast World of Science) in 2012, Sarasota has lacked a dedicated children’s museum or immersive educational space. With a burgeoning influx of young families to the area, there is an urgent need to establish indoor educational play space for families. This initiative not only meets the growing demand for family-friendly attractions but also positions Sarasota as a premier destination for family tourism.

In August, two groups of ladies working independently on the museum project united, forming the board of directors, and are now on a mission to bring this much-needed space to life. In November, the Sarasota Children’s Museum achieved 501c3 status, and the organization is currently in full swing, developing programs and exhibits, launching a fundraising campaign, and actively searching for a suitable space for the future museum.

The mission of the Sarasota Children's Museum is to inspire, educate, and empower children through immersive and engaging learning experiences. The museum’s vision is to intertwine Sarasota's rich artistic heritage with educational exhibits designed for children. As a one-of-a-kind museum, it aims to embody Sarasota's essence - a place that has nurtured great artists and continues to thrive as a hub of creativity.

Asya Stuart with her kids at the Sarasota Art Museum, visiting Steven and William Ladd Exhibit. Photo by Daniel Perales.

"I enjoy bringing my 9, 7, and 3-year-olds to the Sarasota Art Museum. I believe they are doing a fabulous job with their exhibits and family programs. We find great inspiration in their work, and this is motivating us to create a beautiful contemporary exhibit where kids can actively engage with art, making the learning experience both dynamic and hands-on," says Asya Stuart, a founding member and Co-Executive Director of the museum.

In collaboration with fellow Co-Executive Director Christina "CC" Fredericks, they have envisioned that in the year 2024, the Sarasota Children’s Museum will adopt a "Museum Without the Walls" approach by collaborating with existing organizations and hosting hands-on exhibits in various locations throughout Sarasota County. The museum has applied to showcase an exhibit titled "Sarasota from A to Z" at The Ringling Museum Community Gallery Space and plans to host events during Remake Learning Days 2024.

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