Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.
The Virgin Islands Children's Museum is the inspired idea of Sarah Hughes, Executive Director. In early 2013 she partnered with me, Sarah Erickson, Director of Development and Curator. Together, we co-founded the museum in August of 2014, and received our official 501(c)3 designation on October 17, 2014.
On July 26, 2015 the Virgin Islands Children's Museum went public with our first fundraiser at Scoops and Brew, Crown Bay Marina, St Thomas. While we searched for a location, we encountered many naysayers, the most notably saying that Virgin Islanders did not believe in educating their children and that it was not a viable business. But we did not give up.
We attended a fateful Downtown Revitalization Initiative meeting in the beautiful and historic Grand Galleria. We went to try to drum up some support, but fell in love with the building! On October 1, 2015, we took possession of this incredible space and went to work to bring it back to its glory. With a ton of hard work, armies of volunteers, and one dedicated crew from DCM Corporation, we were finally able to make our vision come true.
On March 20, 2016, The Virgin Islands Children's Museum opened our doors. In the first 3 months we were open we welcomed over 1000 visitors and had gained 200 museum members. We facilitated 28 field trips, reaching 578 children from 8 public schools. Summer 2016 saw our first Kids Yoga Summer Camp. And on October 22, 2016 we debuted Phase 2 which included the final renovation of 3000 more square feet and 4 new exhibits.
We are honored to bring this incredible resource to the community of the Virgin Islands, and those who visit our beloved home. We will continue to introduce new and fun educational exhibits, programs and services as we move forward into the future. Thank you to all who have embraced us and helped us create this museum for the children of the Virgin Islands.
At the VICM, we believe that nothing in the life of a child has more impact than the ability to acquire knowledge. When a child learns something new it becomes a part of them in a way that defines their future, building confidence and self-esteem through the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills. In fact, children who are able to participate in early learning programs are estimated to increase their future productivity and raise the income in their adult lives by an average of 25% to 33%. Margaret Mead, the American Cultural Anthropologist said, “Children do not need to be taught what to think, they need to be taught how to think.” And that, in essence, is what a children’s museum strives to accomplish. The children of these islands, and indeed all the world’s children, deserve to be educated. It is the single most important metric of the health of a society, how we treat our children.
Here is a glimpse at what it took to build The Virgin Islands Children's Museum? It was a labor of love and commitment by so many people! Check out our gallery, then visit the VICM today!