The Madison Children’s Museum is preparing to open at its new location on the Capitol Square. Its executive director Ruth Shelly says the museum has always emphasized sustainability in many different ways. “The terms recycled, repurposed, reclaimed, restored all have different meanings for different people.”
For example, Shelly says, folks at the award-winning museum are giving old building materials new life at the new facility. “And one of our best examples is using bleachers from Oak Creek High School which was decommissioned in South Milwaukee. We were able to use the old wooden bleachers as wall paneling in our rooftop clubhouse, and you can still see the kids’ carvings on the seat, which is great.”
They were also able to make use of the old gym floor. Large windows make use of natural lighting; they’ve incorporated LED lighting; low- or no-VOC paint; a repurposed, reconstructed 1830s log cabin to be used as an outdoor classroom; and a multi-purpose rooftop garden. “Our rooftop garden is spectacular. We always knew that we wanted to do a green roof, because they help with moderating the temperature of the urban environment, it helps to control runoff from rain, but we really wanted to create a park in the sky.”
It includes a waterfall and pond with fish, a chicken coop, homing pigeons and a great view of the city. Kids can play in nature right in the middle of downtown. Shelly says their efforts began back in 1999 to create a non-toxic, natural, healthful environment for kids. Museum staffers are striving for LEED certification for existing buildings, operations, and maintenance. The grand opening of the museum is set for August 14th.
The new location of the Madison Children’s Museum is just a couple blocks away from the old location, at 100 N. Hamilton St.