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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Children's Museum Planned for Downtown Newark


Newark, New Jersey: The City of Newark could finally have a children's museum. 

The New Jersey Youth Corps, which manages the Jersey Explorer Children's Museum in East Orange, Essex County's only children's museum, is planning to open another museum in Downtown Newark. 

According to Gary Patnosh, the co-director of the organization, which is sponsored by New Jersey City University, the museum would be called The Exploreon. 

"We strongly believe that The Exploreon will draw thousands of people downtown and will become a major tourist attraction", said Patnosh. 

Although there is currently no finalized location, Patnosh says that The Exploreon is expected to be located near the Prudential Center. 

Should the project be approved, The Exploreon would be developed in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Labor, the National Park Service, the New Jersey Society of Information Management, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. 

The Bridge of Books Foundation is proposing to operate a Big Free Bookstore within the museum should it open. The store would operate independently from the museum, and all items would be free to visiting children, according to Abigail Daly of the foundation. 

"By accessing the daily patronage of the Exploreon, the BFB will get more books to more children on a daily basis in one of our most needy urban areas", Daly told Essex County Place, adding that the organization "would also hope to attract author visits and other such events and, like the museum, provide additional job training opportunities".

The Jersey Explorer Children's Museum opened in 1992 adjacent to the Franklin Branch of the East Orange Public Library in the Doddtown neighborhood. 

Patnosh told Essex County Place that if The Exploreon opens in Newark, the East Orange location "will continue to serve the children of the city and the region and will probably focus more on the youngest children". 

For several years, the Children's Museum of New Jersey (CMNJ) had been slated to open on Market Street near Newark Penn Station. A CMNJ developer, Siobhan McDermott, told Essex County Place last month that the project was never finished due to a lack of funding. 

However, McDermott said that she hoped that a children's museum would still open in Newark at some point, stating that "the city is booming in many ways and it would be wonderful to have such an enormous attraction...in the heart of Downtown Newark". 

It appears that such an attraction may finally come to the Brick City.

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