Please Touch Museum

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Please Touch Museum
Memorial Hall
Memorial Hall in 2010
Please Touch Museum is located in Philadelphia
Please Touch Museum
Location within Philadelphia
Established2 October 1976 (1976-10-02)
LocationMemorial Hall, Fairmount Park
4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates39°58′46″N 75°12′33″W / 39.9795°N 75.2092°W / 39.9795; -75.2092Coordinates: 39°58′46″N 75°12′33″W / 39.9795°N 75.2092°W / 39.9795; -75.2092
TypeChildren's museum[1]
AccreditationAmerican Alliance of Museums
Visitors566,000 (2011)[2]
FounderPortia Sperr
PresidentPatricia D. Wellenbach
CEOPatricia D. Wellenbach
CuratorStacey Swigart
Public transit accessBus transport SEPTA.svg SEPTA bus: 38, 40
Bus transport Philly PHLASH

The Please Touch Museum is a children's museum located in the Centennial District of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The museum focuses on teaching children through interactive exhibits and special events,[1] mostly aimed at children seven years old and younger.


External video
Cat fish Carousel Philly.JPG
All About Please Touch Museum, Please Touch Museum, November 2011, 2:53
Opera Company of Philadelphia Please Touch Museum Random Act of Culture, Opera Philadelphia, April 2011, 2:31

The museum originally opened at the Academy of Natural Sciences on October 2, 1976, in a 2,200-square-foot (200 m2) space, and moved to another location on nearby Cherry Street two years later. In 1983, the museum moved to 21st Street near the Franklin Institute. On February 14, 2005, the museum received an 80-year lease for Memorial Hall (in Fairmount Park), the last major building left from the 1876 Centennial Exposition. This came after plans to relocate the museum to a location at Penn's Landing fell through.[3] Renovations at Memorial Hall began on December 15, 2005, and the museum closed its 21st Street location on September 1, 2008. On October 18, 2008, the museum opened at its current location with a larger facility and more exhibits.[4]


Among the attractions in the museum are:

  • Alice in Wonderland and River Adventures play areas.
  • City Capers, which features the John Wanamaker's Rocket Monorail from the defunct department store and part of the set from the Captain Noah and His Magical Ark TV show.
  • Space Station, which features a series of display cases with over three decades of Star Wars toys.
  • Please Taste Cafe.
  • Roadside Attractions, a new locale with a SEPTA bus and actual car.
  • Displays from the Lit Brothers' Enchanted Colonial Christmas Village during the Christmas season.
  • A retrospective of the Centennial Exposition, including a restored miniature diorama of the park.
  • A replica of the arm and torch from the Statue of Liberty, created from discarded toys by Leo Sewell.
Lead horse on the Woodside Park Carousel


  • Playhouse Theater - As a component of the museum experience, Playhouse performances by in-house performers present opportunities for playful learning, imagination, innovation and audience interaction featuring music, movement, folklore and/or puppetry, all while introducing children to live arts.
  • Program Room - Each month, there is a new set of art experiences, which include a studio art experience, a sensory art experience and a manipulative art experience. The Program Room provides a setting for parent-child interaction.
  • Story Castle - Children can stop by the castle during regularly scheduled story times, meet a storybook character, or read a book on their own. Programming in the Story Castle is accessible for kids at all developmental and ability levels.[5]

Great Friend to Kids (GFTK) Awards[edit]

The Association of Children's Museums initiated the Great Friend to Kids Award in 1991, to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions toward strengthening education for children. National Great Friend to Kids Award winners include Fred Rogers ("Mister Rogers") and Marian Wright Edelman (president and founder of the Children's Defense Fund).

In 1996, the Please Touch Museum began presenting its own GFTK award, to coincide with the museum's 20th birthday. The awards honor individuals and organizations making outstanding contributions to enriching the lives of children. The 2009 awards were designed by Philadelphia artist Leo Sewell, creator of Please Touch Museum's own "Artie the Elephant" and the Statue of Liberty Arm & Torch created entirely from discarded toys.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Please Touch Museum. "Please Touch Museum" brochure, circa 2007.
  2. ^ Van Allen, Peter (27 January 2012). "Please Touch Museum embarks on fundraising campaign". Philadelphia Business Journal. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  3. ^ A Grand New Please Touch to Open in the Park, Philadelphia Inquirer, October 12, 2008
  4. ^ The History of Please Touch Museum, from their website Archived 2009-05-02 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ [1] Please Touch Museum
  6. ^ "Please Touch Museum announces winners of the 14th annual 'Great Friend to Kids Awards' ", Phillies press release, September 3, 2009. MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved 2009-09-08.

External links[edit]