Children's Museum of Virginia
McPherson Design Group provided contract documents for the design of The Children's Museum of Virginia in Olde Towne Portsmouth, which is Virginia’s largest interactive Children's Museum. The Museum has over 64,000 square feet of exhibit space and more than 65 hands-on/interactive exhibits focusing on the natural science probe into magnetism, sound, light, electricity, computers, the environment, and the solar system. This project included interior and exterior renovation to the existing building and demolition of adjacent property at the corner of High Street and Middle Street for an addition. The two-story 20,000 square foot addition made room for brand new exhibits inside the Children’s Museum, including a 4,070 square foot exhibit simulating a working waterfront port, 6,000 square feet for “Dr. Forces Traveling Energy Extravaganza”, a backyard Tot Yard, and a “Sound Around”, which is an educational center to make noise and music. The new two- story addition also included lobby space, an expanded gift shop, group party rooms, and a concession/snack shop. The Museum also includes a Theatre. The Design Team worked collaboratively with the City of Portsmouth, Department of Museums, and the Exhibit Designer to ensure coordination between the exhibits and the building improvements. The exterior renovations and site improvements to the connecting pedestrian mall, parking garage, and the adjoining side street provide a much more identifiable entry point and begin the museum experience as visitors make their way to the entrance. The improvements at King Street include a drive through “train station canopy” for school groups that arrive by bus. These exterior improvements create a safer passenger loading and unloading area, moving vehicular traffic away from High Street traffic. The Middle Street mall area was renovated with landscaped areas, seating, and paved plaza space also utilized by the Museum for programs and events. Colorful pennants, energetic LED lighting, and a strong pedestrian connection to the Portsmouth’s Old Towne District unifies the project with a fun, festival-like atmosphere designed to draw children and their families from across the region.