Children’s Museum breaks ground at Hansen Dam site
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week When it opens in 2007, the 57,000-square-foot museum is expected to entertain visitors with its unique design as well as interactive exhibits. Attendees at the groundbreaking Tuesday got a sneak peek with a virtual video tour showing sketches of the interior and exterior. “It’s going to be so cool. The art and exhibits will be really, really awesome,” said Christopher Cruz, a 10-year-old student at Angeles Mesa Elementary School. Classmate Oscar Rodriguez agreed: “It’ll be cool when I’m really old; I can bring my children to the museum and then their children can come to the museum and then their children can come.” Organizers expect to draw 360,000 visitors to the Hansen Dam site, which overlooks the park’s recreational lake and willow forest and marks a dramatic departure from the museum’s previous cramped facility downtown. Dark rain clouds and cool weather couldn’t dampen spirits Tuesday as politicians and community leaders celebrated the long-awaited groundbreaking of the new Los Angeles Children’s Museum at Hansen Dam. After fundraising difficulties and lengthy delays, supporters launched work on the $43 million museum, touted as the first major cultural facility in the San Fernando Valley and an architecturally significant building on par with Disney Hall or the Getty Center. “I don’t know about you, but I’m borderline giddy today,” Council President and museum advocate Alex Padilla told the crowd. Despite the weather, the groundbreaking drew scores of neighbors, literati, local schools and well-known political figures such as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Caroline Kennedy – whose husband, Edwin Schlossberg, designed the museum exhibits. “What Walt Disney Hall is to music and the Getty Center is to art, the new Children’s Museum will be to Los Angeles’ kids and families,” Villaraigosa said. “No more parking tickets downtown,” joked Jennifer Lettelleir, the museum’s performing arts director. Indeed, she and Reading Edge literacy arts program director Kymberly Evans said they are eager to move into a state-of-the-art facility after five years on the road. “It’s going to be great. I’ve been traveling and seeing children’s museums around the country and this is going to be an amazing facility,” Evans said. The original museum closed its doors in 2000 with plans to build two new facilities – one in Little Tokyo and one at Hansen Dam. After a slow start in fundraising, the museum board dropped plans for the Little Toyko site to focus on the Hansen Dam site. The land is owned by the city and leased to the museum for $1 a year. Organizers are still raising $16.5 million for the museum’s exhibits and staffing, plus an additional $10 million for an endowment. San Fernando resident Robert Villafana said he was pleased the museum chose to move to the Northeast Valley, an area too often known for landfills and junkyards. “People say that the kids are the future, but you have to give them some positive images. This will give the kids something positive, something they can look forward to.” Kerry Cavanaugh, (818) 713-3746 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!