Children’s Museum trustees decided Friday not to house the Museum School within the new museum, as originally planned.
The Museum School, a tiny charter school that focuses on hands-on activities, was conceived as a companion to the Children’s Museum. School directors have said that without the free space provided by the museum, the school may not be sustainable.
Trustees have pledged to continue paying the school’s rent, as it has for the past five years, and to help the Centre City Development Corp.’s education task force find another downtown space for the Museum School. A press release from the museum stated that the basement space originally intended for the school would not be used to house exhibitions, nor be used exclusively by any other school. According to the press release:
“Our decision, which was the most difficult our board has ever faced, is founded upon the long-term goal of providing arts-based education programs to the greatest number of children we can,” said Laurie Mitchell, president of the Children’s Museum Board of Directors. “We believe it is appropriate and more beneficial to the whole community if we can use our educational resources and space to serve the most students possible, rather than an exclusive group of eighty students.”
In a previous interview, school director Phil Beaumont argued that housing the school didn’t prevent the museum from serving other students as well.
While it was generally expected that the Museum School, which had been housed in the old Children’s Museum prior to its demolition, would be housed in the new building, the museum never formally agreed to house the school.