The award-winning Glazer Children's Museum is constantly hosting and developing new exhibits. The next thing it might have to work on, however, is a bigger trophy case.
Fresh off the heels of the "Be More Knowledgeable" Award, received at the seventh annual WEDU Be More Awards, the museum has once again been honored for its impact on the Bay area community. The latest accolade: the "Urban Excellence Award," which was presented at the Downtown Partnership's Fifth Annual Urban Excellence Awards.
This prestigious honor acknowledges organizations that have made important contributions toward creating a unique, vibrant and diverse downtown environment. The earlier Be More awards recognized the museum for providing outstanding educational outreach programs for children.
The Glazer Children's Museum has made a significant economic impact on downtown Tampa. Kerry Falwell, the museum's development manager, said the Glazer Children's Museum was honored to receive this latest award and wants to continue to be part of a thriving urban environment.
"The museum drives people from surrounding counties and tourists to downtown," Falwell said. "This is something that positively affects the other businesses around us. Being recognized for this impact on downtown Tampa continues to make us proud of the Glazer Children's Museum success."
As part of the revitalization of downtown Tampa, the museum is helping create a strong city core that is good not only for business, but for the community as a whole. A perfect example of Tampa's renewal is the now-thriving Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, a beautiful spot adjacent to the Glazer Children's Museum that thousands of families visit every year.
"The importance of a strong downtown is obvious when you see the benefits," Falwell said. "Any day of the week you see families visiting the museum, playing in the park, and eating. The area has become one-stop shopping for dining, entertainment and business."
As the Glazer family knew when it championed the cause several years ago, a children's museum can serve as a flagship in a downtown revitalization project, and the addition to Tampa has been another good example. Families from varying backgrounds bring their children to the museum and their kids, playing side by side, naturally create bridges of understanding.
Children visiting the museum have the opportunity to build upon those social interactions when touring the facility and looking at a variety of exhibits while at the Glazer Children's Museum.
The museum currently features 170 hands-on activities in 14 themed areas. The museum also hosts traveling exhibits twice a year, offers school workshops, leads educational missions or scavenger hunts throughout the exhibits and partners with community organizations to provide themed weekends to emphasize a particular theme. Recent themes included the Seuss-Tastic Weekend and the Healthy Hearts Weekend.
The mission of the Glazer Children's Museum is to provide learning environments where children play, discover and connect to the world around them. In pursuing that mission, the museum has also contributed heavily to the long-term success of Tampa's renewal, as the visiting kids will grow up having meaningful connections with downtown Tampa and with each other.
"Two children playing together only know each other as equals in their discovery process," Falwell said. "These types of interactions can result in social change and teach the importance of acceptance and non-judgment."
The memories created by the children and families will have a lasting influence on the community's perception of downtown and their willingness to work, live, and play in this urban environment. With that in mind, the big picture for the museum is to help children in the community in ways that will benefit generations to come.
"The Glazer Children's Museum is currently developing a five-year strategic plan to set goals and accomplishments moving forward," Falwell said. "This will include upholding the organization's mission of creating learning environments where children discover and connect to the world around them to develop as lifelong learners and leaders."