Discovery museum

Children’s Discovery Museum reopens in Longview after moving to Commerce Avenue, pandemic

Shortly after opening in their new location on Commerce Avenue, the Children’s Discovery Museum had to close due to the pandemic.

The free museum, which has been around since 2016, reopened this summer, two days a week.

Pepper Carter, acting executive director since July, said she would like to see the museum open four days a week.

“It’s a wonderful place,” Carter said of the free interactive playground. “I wish I had that while raising my child.”

The museum, primarily run by volunteers, provides sensory play opportunities for newborns through early teens.

In the center are a play kitchen and market, a small library, a wind tunnel, a miniature bowling alley, a dress-up area and giant Lincoln Logs. These exhibits change quarterly to keep things fresh.

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The museum operated in the Macy’s Wing of the Three Rivers Mall for 2½ years until July 2019 when it planned to move across the lobby to a larger space in the mall. The lease fell through, however, leaving the museum in search of a new permanent home, according to Daily News records.

The Cowlitz County Historical Museum hosted the Children’s Museum until August 2019, when it had to install its own exhibit on women’s suffrage.

In August 2019, the Children’s Museum announced that it had found a new home on Commerce Avenue. The new space is around 6,000 square feet, about 50% larger than the previous location, The Daily News previously reported.

Family interaction and volunteering

Carter said she encourages parents and guardians to store their phones in the museum so they can be fully immersed in their children’s play. Carter said it helps build connection and fosters bonding within families.

“Adults are so taken up with the responsibilities of life and this is a great place to let them go and rediscover your inner child,” Carter said.

The Children’s Discovery Museum is privately funded through donations and grants. Carter said that since reopening after the pandemic, the museum has needed volunteers.

Volunteers must be at least 14 years old and pass a background check. Volunteer applications can be found on the museum’s website.

“Volunteers keep this place running,” she said.

She said volunteering includes hosting people and maintaining the Discovery Museum.

“We’re here to clean up after the kids,” Carter said. “We want children and adults to be completely immersed in what they are doing. Come here and have fun and enjoy your child.