A drone photo of the new Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine at Thompson’s Point in Portland. It will open with limited hours and capacity on June 24. Photo by David Pratt Photography

The new Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine will open with limited capacity and other pandemic protocols in place on June 24 at Thompson’s Point, beginning a new era for an organization whose roots go back nearly 100 years.

With 30,000 square feet, the new building, visible from I-295, will include a state-of-the-art theater, a STEM science center with a Maine Watershed Aquarium, and a floor devoted to arts, culture and community.

The museum and theater, which has been on Free Street, announced the opening date in a news release Wednesday, in which it also said it has raised more than $15 million from more than 500 donors, surpassing its $14 million campaign goal and allowing the organization to add elements to the project that originally had been set aside for later. Those include some of the exhibits in an outdoor adventure area, a 30-foot climbing structure in the lobby, and a “Beautiful Blackbird” exhibition based on the book by author and illustrator Ashley Bryan and developed in collaboration with Indigo Arts Alliance.

The museum will open cautiously. In the first week, the museum will be open three days, June 24-26, at 40 percent capacity, or about 250 people at a time. It will be open four days during the second week, and phase in additional days and higher visitations levels. The museum and theater will use a timed-ticketing admission policy with mandatory mask wearing for visitors 5 and older. Masking will be recommended for 2- to 4-year olds, but not required. Social distance guidelines will be in place as well.

The museum and theater will re-evaluate visitation levels and gradually increase capacity when appropriate, said Patricia Erikson, director of marketing.

“We will scale up with more days as we are able,” she said. “We will be watching case counts, and we also want to assess how it feels in the building and how visitors feel in the building. We also will be onboarding new employees.”

Tickets will be available two weeks before the museum opens, she said, or sometime during the week of June 7. Admission is $15 per person, with family memberships ranging from $100 to $180 per year.

With its new location, the museum eventually hopes to double attendance to more than 200,000 visitors annually. The fundraising total includes a $500,000 grant for the endowment from the Lunder Foundation, helping the museum and theater provide access for all to educational programs and exhibitions. The theater is named Maddy’s Theatre, thanks to a gift from Maddy Corson of Yarmouth, the honorary chair of the capital campaign. The theater takes it name from Corson’s birth mother, with whom she shares her name. Maddy’s Theatre will open its inaugural summer season June 25.

The building itself is named in honor of Joseph A. and Anna Marie Petrin of Biddeford, parents of philanthropist Dorothy Suzi Osher, who also made a significant gift.

Executive Director Julie Butcher Pezzino and Michael Bourque, who served as corporate chair of the campaign, thanked the community for its support.

“The business community in Maine turned out in full force to show their commitment to children and families in Maine, and to build the Museum & Theatre our state needs and deserves,” said Bourque, MEMIC president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Our leading corporate sponsor, Poland Spring, along with 35 other companies elected to support this effort. We are grateful they have recognized the value of this project for their employees’ families and its impact on workforce development.”

The Children’s Theatre of Maine was founded in 1923. The Children’s Museum of Maine began in 1976 and moved to its previous location on Free Street in 1993. The organizations merged in 2008.


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