The Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine sold its building at 142 Free St. in Portland, its home for the last 25 years, to the Portland Museum of Art. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine will not reopen at its longtime home at 142 Free St. and will focus on a spring 2021 grand opening at its new building currently under construction at Thompson’s Point in Portland. The museum and theater closed on March 13 because of the pandemic.

In partnership with the Portland Public Schools and with money from the CARES Act, the Free Street building is hosting two pods of children who alternate days with educators. This program will continue through early December. Construction of the new museum and theater at Thompson’s Point is on schedule with an opening projected for spring 2021, according to a museum press release. It will include a 100-seat theater, a 10,000-square-foot science center and a large outdoor play area.

The Portland Museum of Art has purchased the Free Street building. Julie Butcher Pezzino, the children museum’s executive director, said her staff will spend the winter removing exhibitions and office equipment, packing and vacating the building in preparation for turning it over to the PMA. Museum and theater members whose memberships were current when the museum closed in March will have their membership period extended when the new building opens.

The children’s museum is the 10th-largest visitor attraction in Maine, with 106,000 annual visitors, and has been on Free Street since 1993. Attendance is projected to double at the new building.

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