By Ernie Over, managing editor, county10.com
(Riverton, Wyo.) – There is a new children’s museum on the way for Riverton, a facility with eight “neighborhoods” where kids would focus on learning activities, sponsors told the Riverton City Council Tuesday night. The name of the proposed museum is the Children’s Arts, Technologies and Science Museum, or CATS.
Spokesperson Nance Shelsta told councilors to think of the new museum as an “indoor playground” that would bring children and adults together “to discover, play and enhance their understanding and appreciation of the arts, technologies and sciences. It’ll be different from the one in Lander,” she said. “It’s planned to enrich each child and family with interactive exploration, while encouraging lifelong learning skills through innovative play.”
Shelsta said the organizers are looking for a place to rent to get the museum started, and she said fundraising for an endowment is beginning. “We plan within 10 years to build a state of the art children’s museum here,” she said.
According to a draft brochure that councilors were given, the museum will offer children the opportunity to interact and play with “all sorts of developmentally appropriate activities.”
The promotional material indicated the facility would be “broken up into different neighborhoods geared for the arts, technologies and sciences, each with a wide range of exhibits that would include a specific theme which would vary by month.” Shelsta said CATS would work with other statewide and regional children’s centers, “allowing children to benefit from traveling exhibits they may not be able to experience.” She said the neighborhoods inside the facility would implement unique and engaging types of hands-on learning exhibits and interactive play where children of all abilities would be welcomed. “We’ll have a lot of resources to work from,” she said.
Also involved in the project is local science teacher Bill Rider who said the exhibits would include such things as exploration of water and soils, “things that are important to our community. All will be hands-on activities to promote beneficial relationships to our children with society.”
Shelsta said one of the reasons the museum is being formed is to help with economic development in the community. “I was talking with a Realtor friend and of 10 families who recently moved to the county and contacted her, seven of them ended up in Lander and not Riverton. When she asked them why they picked Lander, they said there were more things for kids to do.”
Shelsta also said that nearly everyone that she’s discussed the project with are in support. “This is not a polarizing topic,” she laughed.
At the conclusion of the presentation, Mayor Ron Warpness said the CATS “sounds like a wonderful project” and he asked Shelsta and her group to keep the city informed as the project develops.