Children and families stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash. have a unique new resource to enjoy, starting this weekend.
With a gathering of military and local leaders witnessing their joy and excitement, a small group of children — sons and daughters of local military members and veterans — explored the new Children’s Museum at JBLM that has been created where the base’s old skating rink used to be.
The museum is designed to inspire creativity and imaginative play with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) activities for children 12 and under. The exhibits are constructed to best inspire creativity and imaginative play, featuring multiple playscapes that include a water area, climbing zone and art studio.
The opening of the museum was made possible through generous community donations, including separate grants from Boeing and its local employees through the Employees Community Fund of Puget Sound (ECF), which invested a combined $1.5 million to support the development of the facility.
“Military families deserve spaces like this to connect with each other, to explore new ideas and to inspire dreams,” said Bill McSherry, Vice President, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Government Operations. “Boeing is deeply committed to supporting our military families and communities. This includes employee hiring and retention efforts as well as investing in innovative partnerships like this first ever children’s museum on a military base.”
JBLM has about 40,000 service members and about 63,000 family members. Approximately 1,500 of the families living on-base have children ages six and under.
Tanya Durand, Greentrike executive director said, “We are so excited to come alongside our longtime partners and make this museum a joyful, playful place for families living on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.”
After seven years of collaboration and building renovations to bring this project to its opening, JBLM Garrison Commander Col. Skye Duncan said, “We are incredibly thrilled to reach this day. We have thousands of kids with their families at JBLM, and there’s no better place to create the first on-base children’s museum than Joint Base Lewis-McChord.”
By: Deborah Feldman