MANDEVILLE, LA (January 15, 2018) — After more than a decade of planning, the long-awaited Children’s Museum of St. Tammany (CMST) will open its doors on Saturday, January 20 at its brand-new interim location at the Koop Drive Trailhead. The public can now purchase timed admission tickets for entry beginning on Saturday 1/20 from 1-3, 3-5 and on Sunday 1/21 at 11-1, 1-3, and 3-5. Tickets are limited to preserve the guest experience and must be purchased in advance at cmstkids.org. Regular business hours and admission will begin on Tuesday 1/22.
“This opening is the culmination of years of dedication by committed volunteers,” said CMST Executive Director Amy Fresh. “Their efforts and the support of our sponsors and community partners who have remained steadfast in their commitment to this project are the ones who have made this gift to the community possible. I am excited to see the result of this effort and am honored to have the charge of leading CMST into its future.”
“We are excited to kick off 2018 in our first home,” remarked Lisa Barnett, CMST Board of Trustees President. “We are absolutely thrilled to begin operations and welcome the children, families and community to our start up location. We are thankful to the Tammany Trace Foundation and St. Tammany Parish Government for inviting us to be a part of their ‘Kids Town’ project.”
“We are always thinking forward to the future.” continued Barnett. “While we have committed to opening up the initial facility, we are continuing to plan and fundraise for the 30,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. Imagine the impact on our kids and families and their educational experience in that scope of a museum.”
The Children’s Museum of St. Tammany features exhibits designed by Argyle Design of Brooklyn, NY, produced by local design team The Solomon Group and programming developed by an exhibit design team of volunteer educators in collaboration with museum board and staff. It will appeal primarily to toddlers through early childhood aged children and will offer special programming for older children.
“The pre-opening special events we have hosted at the museum have already demonstrated the wide range of ages and developmental and cognitive abilities we will be able to serve,” remarked Fresh. “We held two Astro Camp sessions this summer, a solar eclipse event and STEM Quest event in collaboration with NASA – Stennis Space Center and the older kids were engaged and excited. Our Noon Year’s Eve Bash was also telling—how a five-year-old plays with one exhibit, a nine-year-old can engage in a totally different and meaningful way.”
From its inception as a community project of the Junior League of Greater Covington to becoming its own independent 501c3 with a board of trustees and advisory board, CMST is the result of countless volunteer hours.
“As a past president of the Junior League, I am particularly proud of the impact the League has had in bringing this project to fruition,” continued Barnett. “This is a testament to the importance of volunteerism and the power of community.”
“The St. Tammany Parish Public School System and Superintendent Trey Folse have also played an integral part in getting us to this point,” said CMST Trustee and Marigny Elementary Principal Leslie Martin. “From leading the way in our annual Black & Gold Day fundraiser to the many educators who have lent their time and expertise in developing our exhibits and programming, Mr. Folse and the school system have been true partners in bringing the museum to life.”
From Past President Kevin Davis’ early championing of the project, to President Pat Brister’s invitation to make the Parish’s planned Cultural Arts District its permanent home, CMST has enjoyed support from St. Tammany Parish Government over the years. “We are grateful to our elected officials at the parish level and also at the city level who have contributed to our efforts. Folks like President Brister, Sheriff Randy Smith, Mayors Mike Cooper and Don Villere who participate in our Advisory Board and our council members who lend an ear, a hand and show up have had such an impact in getting us to this point.”
Before You Go
CMST is located at 21404 Koop Drive. The museum’s regular hours of operation will be Tuesday-Friday 10-2; Saturday 9-5; Sunday 11-5; and it will be closed on Mondays. Admission is $7 for any guest over 12 months of age. CMST is already booking birthday parties and corporate events and will soon release information regarding field trips. A limited number of charter memberships are available at cmstkids.org. A 10 visit “Play Pass” is also available for patrons.