After seeing continued growth over 12 years of operation, Kidzu Children’s Museum is currently working with the Town of Chapel Hill to explore the idea of expanding and relocating the museum from University Place to a town-owned property in Southern Village.
Museum officials went before the Chapel Hill Town Council in March to ask for support from the Town as they began exploring the Southern Village site. The council unanimously voted to receive the museum’s request and begin researching the potential move.
Donna Bell, a council member, said the council recognized the potential benefits the Town might see through a partnership with Kidzu and the construction of a larger children’s museum.
Bell said a new museum would not only serve the educational needs of children in the area but could also bring economic development benefits to the town.
“Working with Kidzu has been something that has been part of conversations between the town and the organization for years, so this looks like a good opportunity,” Bell said.
Lisa Van Deman, executive director of Kidzu, said the museum’s ultimate goal has always been to create a “right-sized” children’s museum that can best serve the community and the educational needs of children in Chapel Hill and the surrounding area.
“We need to be of a certain size to have the variety of exhibits and programs that would be appealing and engaging to that wide of a range,” Van Deman said.
Van Deman said the Town Properties Task Force assembled an inventory of available town-owned properties and directed museum officials to consider a plot fronting Southern Village as a potential relocation site.
The close proximity to family-friendly spaces such as Scroggs Elementary School and Southern Community Park was enough to convince Van Deman this was the perfect location for a new children’s museum. She was also excited that the location is just as close to UNC’s campus because the museum’s current space employs several work-study students and student interns.