Wenham Museum Soliciting Feedback on Plan to Add Evening Hours

Wenham Museum is working to come up with a solution for parents whose 3-year-old wants to see trains when the 1-year-old wants only to snooze.

Jen Fowler's youngest child usually gets up from her nap between 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Often, by the time she's able to get to , it is closed for the day.

A self-proclaimed “huge fan” of the museum, Fowler, of Beverly, is one person who would benefit from the possibility that the museum could be expanding its hours to stay open later one afternoon and evening per week.

“My youngest tends to nap until 3 or 3:30 p.m. so by the time we get there it’s too late,” Fowler said.

The museum’s current hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday - though standard - are often prohibitively constricting for parents.

“We really want to meet the needs of busy families," said the museum's marketing director, Mary Barthelmes.

Those who do make it to the museum, whether it is grandparents with grandchildren or entire families, don’t want to hurry once there.

“The nice part of the museum is you never get ‘Oh don’t let the kids touch that,'” Fowler said.

As part of the effort to come up with new hours, the museum is soliciting public feedback and suggestions about the what they prefer if the museum were to expand afternoon and evening hours. Barthelmes encourages people to leave their opinion in the comments section on this story or on Wenham Museum's Facebook page.

The museum - in downtown Wenham next to - is all about interactivity. To this end galleries include seats and stations where visitors of all ages are encouraged to sit and play together.

“Play teaches so many things, creativity, patience, art and beyond,” says Barthelmes. And speaking of the dress-up area she says, “I like to take out my camera and be face to face when the kids are dressing up and the parents are dressing up too. It’s hysterical.”

But besides dolls and ample charm it’s got trains and rockets and a whole lot more.

Fowler, who recently signed on as a volunteer said the museum is for all ages.

"They had a doll house exhibit that I think I liked more than my girls did,” she said.

Angelika Paul of Stoneham is a museum member and mother or two children.

“We’ve been going mostly in the mornings," she said. "I don’t know how long my children will last going around bath times or naps.”

For Paul and her son Alex, the museum is less about dolls and fairies than trains - and the gift shop.

“Alex is super into trains. (At first) he wanted to go every week (to see them)," Paul said. "Now he wants to spend as much time in the gift shop as the museum.”

The renewed look at the hours comes amid a series of changes, and growth, at the museum.


Barthelmes and the rest of the museum staff wants to hear from you. To date, feedback suggests that people would prefer the museum to add Wednesday or Thursday evening hours. Express your preference here in the comments section on Patch or on Wenham Museum's Facebook page.

Michelle Bailey July 11, 2011 at 07:48 PM
During the school year, the kids get out of school at 3. By the time you get over the the museum, it's almost time to close. Even if it was open until just 5, that would be great. Or stay open until 7 or 8 on Friday...many museums have later hours on Fridays. (Museum of Science and Boston Children's Museum for example)
Sarah Willett Garriepy July 15, 2011 at 12:38 AM
What a great idea to stay open later! By the time my youngest gets up from a nap and we get there the museum is usually closed. So often we want to meet friends in the afternoon - this would give us a new option during the week.
Mary B. July 15, 2011 at 11:02 AM
Please let the museum know which day of the week and what hours you'd like to see us stay open late!


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