The Glazer Children's Museum opened its doors in September of 2010, thanks in large part to a signature donation from the Glazer Family Foundation. The Foundation and the museum share the same ultimate goal: to educate children and help them become lifelong learners and leaders.
After only nine months, the museum has begun receiving national accolades for doing just that.
Woman's Day Magazine has named the Glazer Children's Museum one of 10 must-see children's museums in the country this summer. Thanks to state-of-the-art exhibits and a plethora of engaging activities, the museum has emerged as a premier attraction not just in Tampa but in the entire nation.
Heidi Shimberg, vice-president of community development for the museum, attributes its rapid success to the group of people that has come together to ensure the goals and mission of the museum are realized every day.
"This has been a great team effort," said Shimberg. "From marketing to education, and the dedication of the staff and everyone involved, we have really come together to try and make this place great."
The museum is part of the Glazer Family Foundation's efforts to focus on the nurturing of children's educational pursuits. The museum is targeted to young children, from new-born infants to 10-year-olds, and that is what sets it apart. Children are encouraged to explore interactive exhibits that will keep them entertained and engaged for hours.
"We want the exhibits and programs to be exciting, but we also want a high-quality experience for visitors," Shimberg said. "We work very hard to bring in unique traveling exhibits from all over the country, and our permanent exhibits are both exciting and educational as well."
The museum opened on September 25, 2010 along the waterfront in downtown Tampa. The 53,000 square-foot building is not just a museum with activities, games and challenges but also a place that allows children to learn in a stimulating environment. The world-class facility gives kids the opportunity to learn about themselves, each other and the world around them through exploration and discovery.
"Receiving this recognition is amazing," Shimberg said. "It is amazing to see that in such a short period of time, the museum is being acknowledged not just locally, but nationally, and we are very proud of that."
Even before the national acknowledgment, Foundation Co-President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz expressed her family's happiness with the museum, an endeavor that was years in the making. During this year's Imagination Gala in April, an annual fundraiser that has now become one of the museum's signature events, Kassewitz praised the museum and its staff for constructing a first-rate facility for Tampa Bay.
"This museum has exceeded our expectations and I think Tampa's expectations," she said. "It's just a fantastic place for families and kids. I'd love it to be a part of everybody's upbringing here, so when they get older they have great memories of the museum and want to take their kids. We want it to be an integral part of Tampa and of its cultural landscape."
A combination of permanent and traveling exhibits, comprehensive year-round programs and special events provide children, parents, caregivers and teachers with a rich and ever-changing atmosphere for playful learning. Kids can enjoy more than 170 unique, interactive exhibits in the museum known as 'interactivities' throughout 12 differently-themed areas committed to education and imagination. Children can pretend to be airplane pilots, cruise ship captains, construction workers, fire fighters, doctors and more in a safe, engaging environment.
"To be mentioned among the other amazing museums is a great honor," Shimberg continued. "Hopefully this will allow even more people to experience the museum in the coming months."
The museum's is planning to have two new exhibits this fall as well: a permanent exhibit entitled "Rain or Shine" and a temporary, travelling exhibit featuring "Clifford the Big Red Dog." The new exhibits will continue the efforts of the museum to become a premier institution for educational entertainment and family empowerment.
Having established impactful partnerships with schools, nonprofit organizations and civic leaders, the Glazer Children's Museum serves as an invaluable resource to the community. A main attraction in downtown Tampa and a destination for local residents, regional visitors and tourists, the Museum is in a class all its own. For hours of operation, directions and more information, visit www.GlazerMuseum.org.