PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth’s new Candyland Children’s Museum has established an organizational endowment fund at the Scioto Foundation as it gets set to take part in the 2022 Scioto Gives campaign designed to help area nonprofits raise funds for their programs and operations.
The focus of the new Boneyfiddle attraction which opened its doors in December of 2021, is to cultivate the desire and excitement of learning for children and parents and to be a resource and partner with local schools, the community and beyond.
Housed in the historic Candyland building at Second and Market Streets, the new nonprofit organization was formed in 2020. With strong support from area residents, businesses, educational and health organizations, it shares the community focus of continuing the development and preservation of the Boneyfiddle area of downtown Portsmouth. It was created with the mission of providing a space for young children and their families to discover and foster a love of learning together through exploration and play.
In tune with the museum’s theme of “Dream, Discover, Grow” Director Megan Baum said future proceeds from the museum’s endowment fund at the Scioto Foundation will be used for scholarships for children who need them so that they can be inspired by experiences at the museum to dream their futures. “It is a way to give back to the community,” she said.
The three-story Candyland building houses several areas for interactive play and themed learning environments for Scioto County families with youngsters ages 0 – 10. With over 35 innovative, play-based exhibits that celebrate Portsmouth’s rich culture, the museum is a modern space that provides a dynamic learning experience unlike any other in the local area, according to its founders who hope it will become an exciting destination for families from the entire region. It also provides space for physical play and creative arts, along with performing and musical arts.
In its first seven months the Candyland Museum has attracted over 12,000 children and families, and 300 families have purchased memberships so that they can come as many times a year as they like. The museum has welcomed many field trips which Baum says is her favorite part of the attendance because hundreds more children can visit that way. Attendance reports so far have recorded numerous visitors from Ashland, Huntington and Greenup County, in addition to those from Cincinnati, Waverly, Columbus and Chillicothe.
The Candyland Museum’s goal is to provide a safe, year-round environment for young children and family members to learn, play and discover. Each floor features special areas designed for enriching activities. The first floor “Let’s Go” area is large and interactive, exploring movement through water, electricity and transportation. Floor 2 offers a performing arts space, the STEAM “Let’s Create” classroom and the Farm to Table eating exhibit. On the third floor older children enjoy a two-story climbing structure, ninja warrior course and more, while younger children have a separate play area. On this floor is also the “Let’s Dream” exhibit, a two-story cityscape with buildings for different professions and dramatic play opportunities.
The museum also offers a variety of special events, classes, opportunities for field trips and summer camps, in addition to renting spaces for birthday parties and other private events. Its board and staff plan to keep Candyland’s operations as self-sustaining as possible with income from admissions, memberships, gift shop revenue and rentals so that outside funds
from grants, sponsors and donations can be used to establishing a practice of continued research and development of cutting-edge exhibits and programming. Candyland’s staff of five is headed by Baum; a board of eight community members oversees its operation. Detailed information about hours of operation, general admission costs and fees for special programs and attractions at the museum may be found on-line at [email protected] or by telephoning (740) 876-8987.
Contributions to the Candyland Children’s Museum Endowment Fund from friends, families, supporters and fans or the general public may be made at any time. Donations may be in the form of gifts of cash, securities or property.
Additional information about the Candyland Children’s Museum Endowment Fund or other planned giving opportunities at the Scioto Foundation may be obtained by contacting Patty Tennant, Program Officer – Donor Services, or SF Executive Director Kim Cutlip at (740) 354-4612.