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An inside look at new Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine

NEWS CENTER Maine gets an exclusive first-hand look at the new facility as it emerges on Portland's Thompson's Point. Officials say it's 85-90% complete.

PORTLAND, Maine — Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine in the Old Port has been shut down through most of the pandemic, but museum officials have still been busy this year. 

They're in the process of moving from its old home next to the Portland Museum of Art, to a brand new building across town at Thompson's Point.

The groundbreaking took place in November of 2019. Today, the new Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine is nearly complete. 

Museum Executive Director Julie Butcher Pezzino said, "We're about 85 to 90 percent completion at this point, but of course with any project, the last 10 to 15 percent can take a lot of time." 

Construction work is far along enough now that they're installing exhibits. 

Once it opens, visitors will be able to see classic favorites taken from the old museum, like the lobster boat and fish market. They'll also see new exhibits like a 100-seat state-of-the-art theatre, a science center, an entire floor devoted to arts, culture, and community, and over a half-acre of outdoor play area. 

"We've incorporated Maine into every facet of this museum. We are the Children's Museum and Theater of Maine and we took that really seriously. You'll see that in the lobster boat, the new chowder shack. I don't want to give too much away because there'll be more that we'll announce in the coming months." 

The new museum will end up costing about $14 million. The capital campaign raising money to pay for the museum is about $200,000 away from hitting that mark.

Capital Campaign Chair Barbee Gilman said they've been supported by companies across the state.

"The support from the state of Maine and the corporate area is astounding," Gilman said. "We're so proud to have sponsors for all of the different exhibit areas."

Gilman said getting Maine companies on board with this project isn't a hard sell. 

"Who doesn't want to support kids and education?!"

The museum is on track to be completed in the spring of 2021. However, amid the ongoing pandemic, things will open up gradually, with precautions in place.

Butcher Pezzino said, "We want to open to the public when we're ready, of course, but also when it's safe to do so."

When it does open, museum officials say they'll be able to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.

"That will probably mean some limited numbers at first and a lot of social distancing and of course masking, but we'll be ready," Butcher Bezzino said. 

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The museum has a policy of not turning anyone away who can't afford admission.

Here is the admission cost information we received from the museum: 

Memberships: A whole year of general admission starts at $100 for an adult and a child.

One-time admission tickets: $15 per person for anyone over 17 months of age.

Scholarships and discounted admissions:

  • Member discounts: admission for Museum & Theatre members is FREE year-round! Members also receive a 10% discount on theatre performances, store purchases, workshops, and events.
  • First Fridays: on the first Friday of every month, the Museum & Theatre is open late from 5-8 pm. During that time admission is $2 per person.
  • Group rate (requires advance booking): $8.50-$9.50. For details on group visits, please click here.
  • Military & Veteran Discount: $3 per person with a valid military, military family, or veteran id.
  • Senior Discount: Good for 10% off admission for the senior(s) in question
  • Two-day Pass: $18 per person. Contact the front desk for purchase.
  • Library Discount: Check with your library to see if they're a member and get details on how to use this discount for reduced price admission!
  • Non-profit Discount: Check with your non-profit organization to see if they're a member and get details on how to use this discount!
  • Scholarships: To apply for free admission and free or reduced-price memberships, click here.
  • Affiliate discount programs:

AAA Discount: Good for 10% off admission with a current AAA card

ACM Reciprocal Network Admission: Half off regular admission for up to 6 people; one member named on the card must be present. Member card and identification should be presented.

Reduced, affordable admission through Museums for All: If you have an EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card, simply show it when you arrive to pay $3 admission per person (saving $8.50). Through Museums for All, we're partnering with museums across the country to make sure everyone can experience the best museums have to offer. To find other participating museums, visit Museums for All.