'Wegmans Wonderplace' to open at Smithsonian for early childhood learning
Wegmans has announced that it is donating a $1.5 million gift to establish 'Wegmans Wonderplace' at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History for early childhood learning.
The exhibit will open December 9 of this year. In a news release, Wegmans said it will be "the first exhibition on the National Mall designed for the learning needs of children 6 and under."
Wegmans will also provide in-kind donations. A 1,700-square-foot area will be located in the Smithsonian's new Innovation Wing. The new space will provide an area for children to 'cook' in a kitchen "inspired by Julia Child’s; plant and harvest pretend vegetables and run the farm stand; find the owls hiding in a miniature replica of the Smithsonian’s Castle building; and captain a tugboat based on a model in the museum’s collection."
“We know that play is an integral part of sparking invention and innovation, and ‘Wegmans Wonderplace’ will ignite that innate curiosity in children and help guide them on a path to lifetime learning at the Smithsonian,” said John Gray, director of the museum.
“Wegmans’ mission is to help our customers live healthier, better lives, and that begins with children,” said Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman. “Having fun through play is the best way to inspire children to learn.” According to the company, the opening of ‘Wegmans Wonderplace’ at the end of this year will also help to usher in Wegmans’ 100th Anniversary in 2016.
The new early childhood exhibit will feature six sections providing children with hands-on and play-based activites.
'Wegmans Wonderplace' will feature the Farm, the Kitchen, the Port, the Construction Site, the Gallery and the Smithsonian Castle and more than 100 objects will be displayed "to stimulate early learners’ interest in museums and American history."