The Glazer Children's Museum, already one of the most distinctive buildings in downtown Tampa, has dramatic swirls of stained glass on one large façade and bold blocks of primary colors jutting out here and there.
The museum, nearing completion and due to open this fall, has a prime location along the Hillsborough River, beautiful surroundings in the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and a mission to create learning environments where children play, discover and connect to the world around them.
What it doesn't have - or it least didn't have until a landmark moment in the museum's construction on Thursday - was a sign for all to see, a formal declaration of the excitement that is just around the corner.
Designed by GouldEvans and Haizlip Studios and constructed under the direction of general contractor J.O. DeLotto and Sons, the Glazer Children's Museum is a beautiful addition to the Tampa skyline. It sits just across the river from the famous minarets of the University of Tampa and right next door to the Tampa Museum of Art.
And, as of Thursday, it has officially introduced itself to the rest of the neighborhood. By late in the afternoon, the last of the red, blue and green letters that make up the "Glazer Children's Museum" display was affixed high on the building's southeast corner.
"Now when people come by, they're no longer going to say, 'What's that beautiful white building with all the bright colors?'" said Heidi Shimberg, the museum's vice president of development and marketing. "Now they're going to say, 'That's the Glazer Children's Museum.' It absolutely solidifies our identity."
As the outside of the structure gets its final touches, the inside is also taking shape. Exhibits are going up throughout the three-story structure, such as the "My House, Your House" area that will introduce visiting children to home cultures from around the world and allow them to interact with those cultures through costumes, music, pictures, toys and more.
Other exhibits in the works include Water's Journey, Airplane Travels, Kidsport, Engineers' Workshop and Design Build. In all, there will be 175 exhibits in 12 themed areas as well as classrooms for structured programs. Aimed primarily at children 10 and under, the museum expects annual attendance in the range of 200,000 visitors.
The Glazer Children's Museum will be announcing its specific schedule for the fall during an Imagination Gala to be held in late May. In the meantime, Shimberg is certain that the vibrant new words on the building's south wall will attract a lot of attention.
"It's going to make our phone ring a lot more, I'm sure," laughed Shimberg. "And, yes, putting up the name will certainly help build excitement to when we open the doors later this year."
Indeed. To learn more about the Glazer Children's Museum, call 813-443-FUN1 (3861) or visit the museum's web site at www.GlazerMuseum.org.