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Children's museum

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One of the oldest children's museum's in the country, we were organized in the October of 1963 by the Junior League. Originally called the Junior Museum of Oneida County, our museum began in the basement of the Utica Public Library. The museum consisted of one exhibit, an Iroquois Longhouse which we still exhibit. The idea of a museum for area children caught on quickly and the museum started to grow.

In October 1965, due to lack of space at the library, it moved to the former Department of Parks & Recreation Building at the Southeast corner of the Memorial Parkway and Oneida Street. In its nine year stay there, the museum developed a variety of permanent exhibits and a large range of educational programs. Interest increased steadily so that by 1974 more than 21,000 adults and children were participating. November of 1974 saw the museum move to the upstairs of the Valley View Country Club. This new location provided badly needed space for the many exhibits, storage, and gift shop. In 1975, the name of the organization was changed to Mohawk Valley Museum.

Forty years later, in July of 1979, the museum was again relocated, this time to its current location in the historic Bagg's Square area. The former John C. Heiber Dry Goods Building, at 311 Main Street, Utica, NY was purchased for $35,000 by borrowing that sum from the Oneida National Bank and Trust Company of Central New York. At this time, the name of the organization was changed to The Children's Museum of History, Natural History, and Science.

The five story brick building, constructed at the turn of the century, once drew visitors who came on the train from as far away as Albany and Syracuse to shop for dry goods. The interesting Romanesque Revival exterior remains as imposing as ever, and the charm of the period remains inside with its decoratively paneled central oak staircase, an original glass and wood paneled office, fourteen foot high ceiling sheathed in fancy pressed tin, and loft windows. For years, three of the five floors, approximately 6,000 square feet, were used for exhibit and program areas.

In 2002, under the leadership of Marlene Brown, the mortgage on the building was paid off, the fourth floor was opened, and the name was changed to The Children's Museum of History, Natural History, Science, and Technology. One of the oldest children's museums in the country, in 2002 The Children's Museum became the only museum in the country to be adopted by NASA - National Aeronautic & Space Administration & DOE OS - Dept. of Energy's Office of Science). We also believe we may be one of the largest in the country.

The Museum is a hands-on learning center with emphasis on local history, the arts, environmental science, and space science. The Museum provides educational programs for local school groups, home school groups, scouts, and daycare centers throughout the three county area that we serve, as well as for groups who come in by bus and train from throughout the state. Our Educational Enrichment Program Visits/Exhibits enhance learning for children of all ages. Teachers and others who book educational field trips are given resource materials for their students to enhance learning after the visit. With 4 floors encompassing a total of 24,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Museum is located in the former Hieber Dry Goods Building at 311 Main Street, Utica.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation: Not Listed
Notes: None Listed
HOURS:Museum Hours: Open 3 days a week: Monday, Thursday, Saturday from 9:15am to 12:15pm (unless one of those days falls on a holiday we might be closed). Open some extra days during Holiday Week, Winter Break, Spring Break, Summer months.


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