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Kidzu Museum to celebrate GivingTuesday, seeks for kids to play creatively

The Kidzu Museum, a nonprofit children’s museum located in Chapel Hill, is pictured on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. The museum is hosting a fundraiser this month.

Kidzu Children's Museum in Chapel Hill will commemorate this year’s GivingTuesday with a fundraising campaign titled "Play Anyway." 

On Nov. 29, children and their caregivers across the Triangle will be invited to the interactive museum on donation-based admission. 

Kidzu is known for its hands-on, sensory museum experience that teaches kids to play purposefully and creatively, according to a press release from the organization. The museum, which is over 8,500 sq. ft., includes evidence-based educational services that challenge kids to think critically while having fun.

Robin Pulver, the executive director of the Orange County Partnership for Young Children, said the interactive and evidence-based form of education was what has helped incentivize Orange County Partnership for Young Children to donate to the museum’s Kaleidoscope Play program. 

“Kidzu has a very good track record in serving children, and their planning and visioning around establishing more programming for younger children was of interest to us,” Pulver said.  

With the recent impact of the pandemic, the museum has emphasized that play and hands-on education are more important now than ever. Kidzu has implemented virtual programs since 2020 and continues to offer adaptations of museum tours, play groups and crafting, among others — all in a virtual setting.

Before the pandemic, Kidzu served around 70,000 visitors annually, according to the press release. The museum's after-school activities, community outreach projects, and online services reached an additional figure of upwards of 5,000+ people. 

This GivingTuesday, Kidzu aims to raise around $10,000 to help with the technological needs of the museum, as well as install a new projector in the Chapel Hill Forest Theatre, the press release said.

Started in 2012, GivingTuesday is a worldwide movement and organization committed to connecting nonprofits and service organizations with the necessary human and monetary capital, according to a report from GivingTuesday. The global movement combines entrepreneurship knowledge with the mantra of generosity.

GivingTuesday also props up grassroots entrepreneurs, activists and artists looking to contribute to their communities through their Starling Collective, according to the report. GivingTuesday enables organizations on a local level around the world, including services like Kidzu. 

Executive Director of Kidzu Jamie Holcomb said the non-profit has been working with GivingTuesday for years. 

“It's something that basically all nonprofits are doing these days,” Holcomb said. “It kind of lets everybody band together to get folks refocused on something that's giving back.” 

Though Kidzu Museum is now located in the University Place Mall, the museum was originally founded in 2006 on Franklin St., Holcomb said. 

Holcomb said Kidzu was founded 16 years ago by Jon Mills, who is currently co-chairperson of the museum's board. 

“Jon had recently moved to North Carolina and settled in Chapel Hill and was looking around thinking ‘you know, the thing missing in Chapel Hill is a vibrant Children's Museum,'" Holcomb said.

Holcomb said Kidzu’s fundraiser also acts as a soft opening for their new learning space designed for infants and toddlers that opened the weekend of Nov. 11, called The Nest. The space will be opened in honor of Rep. David Price’s (D-NC 4th) late wife, Lisa Price, who were huge supporters of the museum.  

Among new programming at The Nest is an event called “Growing Up Healthy” in collaboration with the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market. 

Darien Cropper, the program and communications coordinator for Kidzu, said the museum has multiple programs that focus on educational fields such as early literacy, STEM education and the arts. 

“It's really a great opportunity for caregivers and children to connect with each other,” Cropper said. “And, you know, form new bonds, and play together.”

@DTHCityState | 

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