The Please Touch Museum, the beloved interactive children’s museum that moved to Memorial Hall in 2008, is in deep financial trouble, and now debtors are threatening to nab specific exhibits for sale. You can read more here about this particular development, but from a real estate perspective — no, from a historical and architectural perspective — the stakes are high: Memorial Hall is a nationally registered building that was renovated specifically to accommodate the museum. If Please Touch leaves, the fate of the building’s use is once again thrown into question.
Please Touch’s move into Memorial Hall was motivated by the need for a larger space for all the visitors the museum was getting. The new location, outside of a main corridor, was risky, and the numbers didn’t materialize as expected. The funding for the move and the renovation came from multiple sources: private donations, and federal, state, and local dollars.
The museum took out an 80-year lease on the building. We have various calls in to find out what happens — again — to beleaguered Memorial Hall should the museum leave its new home.
History of Memorial Hall and the 1876 Centennial [Please Touch]
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Additional reporting by Joseph Williams.