Officials and supporters of the San Antonio Children’s Museum gathered Oct. 29 to celebrate the end of the exterior building process on The Do Seum, the children’s museum new home at 2800 Broadway. During the Construction Completion Bash, museum representatives gave tours to party-goers, updating them on progress of the facility that adds to a swell of revitalization along lower Broadway. The current children’s museum on East Houston Street in downtown will close March 31.
Set to open in June 2015, the $46 million Do Seum will have more than 65,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space and 30,000 square feet of outdoor exhibit space. It will have a greater emphasis on interactive science, technology, art and literacy activities. Some of the interior walls for individual exhibits, lobby, café and theater throughout the first floor are painted different colors, but far from seeing final touches. Some planned permanent exhibits include “Spy Academy,” “Little Town,” “Imagine It!” and “Innovation Station.”
The first floor will also accommodate traveling exhibits, the Sensations Studio and an art studio and yard. Museum representatives said the exhibits are being pre-fabricated elsewhere and will be shipped to the site for installation at different times, starting in December. Other interior areas remained off-limits to members of the public during last week’s celebration. Landscaping is still taking place. The upstairs areas will include staff offices.
Glass-enclosed spaces linking each building on the site will allow in natural light and enable access to landscaped yards, which will contain outdoor exhibits and play areas. Sustainability is a big part of building and landscaping on the site. Construction crews recycle 98 percent of trash produced on the land. They are also reclaiming condensation from the HVAC system and use solar energy.
Additionally, two heritage oak trees from the site of the adjacent new Brackenridge at MidTown apartment complex have been moved to The Do Seum to help rebuild the site’s ecosystem. The museum’s campus has retaining walls made of reclaimed river rocks and recycled glass. Also, a recirculation system will treat and reuse water in a mini-river and outdoor fountains on site.
“We have seen 2800 Broadway transform from a flat patch of land into a dynamic structure with the vision of becoming one of the most state-of-the-art children’s museums in the United States,” said Vanessa Lacoss Hurd, San Antonio Children’s Museum executive director, in a news release before the party. “We want to celebrate not only how far we have come, but where we are headed as an institution and as a city.”
Funding for The Do Seum has come from different sources. Charles Butt, chairman and CEO of H-E-B, gave $20 million to the children’s museum in 2011. Another $3 million in bond funds came from the city of San Antonio the following year. The rest of the money came from local foundations, businesses and individual donors. Once finished, The Do Seum will be double the size of the current museum, and museum officials expect attendance will rise accordingly, from the present 170,000 yearly to upward of 300,000. The Do Seum will bolster the rising stock of Broadway Reach recreational facilities, including The Witte Museum, which is undergoing expansion, and the San Antonio Museum of Art, which has been enhanced in recent years.
Private donors may donate to the Do Seum’s development in different ways, including The First 500 campaign, in which a contribution can lead to a donor’s name being placed for permanent dedication on site. For more information, visit the DoSeum