At Kidzu —make, build, explore and learn— an adventurous expanded Museum experience for age infant to tween. Kidzu’s new 8,500 square foot space is multi-sensory, play-centered, and focused on providing area children and their families, teachers, and caregivers an ever-changing menu of exhibits and programs that inspire creativity, collaboration and community. Kidzu Children’s Museum is a hands-on museum dedicated to inspiring young children and the adults in their lives to learn through purposeful play. We are planning to expand to a much larger site in the next few years. Read on to learn more about where we’ve been, what we’re up to, and where we’re headed.
With a focus on STEM education, the arts, child health and emerging literacy, Kidzu Children’s Museum inspires children and the adults in their lives to learn through purposeful play.
What We Aim To Be
Kidzu’s vision is to become an innovator in museum-based learning for children and families and one of the best community children’s museums in the country. Our goal is to excel at serving, celebrating and reflecting our community. Kidzu believes all children should have access to learning experiences that challenge and delight them and environments that encourage curiosity, creativity, unlimited discovery and safe risk-taking.
We value people, the freedom of creative expression and the opportunity for growth in all areas of life. We value the ability to take risks, the courage to try something new and the wonder of success.
Kidzu Children’s Museum wouldn’t be here without the support of our friends and neighbors. The museum has always relied heavily on students from UNC Chapel Hill and area high schools to keep Kidzu running on a day to day basis. Kidzu prides itself on being a starter job for young people to help prepare them for entry into the workforce after college. We partner with more than 100 community organizations who provide our visitors access to a realm of sensory experiences. We’re on our way to welcoming our 400 thousandth visitor in 2017.
105 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill
2006 – 2011
Kidzu Children’s Museum opened its doors in March 2006 at 105 E. Franklin Street. In this site, Kidzu served more than 150,000 visitors, provided dozens of educational programs, offered outreach programs to children in need, hosted traveling exhibits from around the nation, and created Kidzu’s first original exhibit, “KidZoom: The Power of Creativity!”
Soon after opening, we began searching for a much larger site for Kidzu, where we could meet the substantial demand for our services and become a lasting part of our community. The Town of Chapel Hill generously agreed to provide Kidzu with a new site for the museum atop the Wallace Parking Deck in downtown Chapel Hill.
University Square Location
123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill
2011 – 2013
In November 2011, Kidzu moved across Franklin Street to a sunny new location at University Square. This beautiful, affordable interim site allowed Kidzu to continue serving the community as we planned our permanent museum on the Wallace Plaza.
At Kidzu2, visitors enjoyed our popular KidZoom exhibit, a wide array of weekly programs, special programming with Kidzu’s UNC and community partners, field trips, birthday parties, Free Sundays, and much more.
Launch Pad: University Place
201 S. Estes Drive, Chapel Hill
Launch Pad 1: February 2014 – July 2014
Launch Pad 2: April 11, 2015- Present
In the February of 2014, Kidzu Children’s Museum moved to University Place (formerly University Mall). From 2014-2015, Kidzu moved around the mall in three different locations: first in a 10,000 sq. ft location which was formerly the Chapel Hill Public Library space, then to a smaller temporary location that was a focused Makery and programs space.
Finally we found our home in 8,500 sq. ft. space that acts as our Launch Pad location. This bright and airy location now provides full range of opportunities inline with Kidzu’s Launch Pad initiative. This location allows Kidzu to expand creative design-thinking, create new programming including maker workshops and STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Art and Math) education, and help prepare us to grow even bigger n the future. New exhibit elements, expanded programming, more field trips, better birthday parties and much more are always in the works.
Continuing to Grow
Kidzu’s primary goal has always been to develop a permanent museum of adequate size with outdoor space and room for growth to best serve the children and families of our growing community. Kidzu’s Launch Pad at University Place is a taste of the kinds of exhibits and activities the museum would feature in a permanent location, as well as other exhibits, program spaces, classrooms and outdoor exhibits that would serve, celebrate and reflect the academic and cultural richness of our community. In early 2015, the Kidzu Board of Directors voted to spend the next 8-12 months exploring site and partnership options that would be financially feasible yet able to accommodate Kidzu’s educational vision.
We invite you to get involved with Kidzu and help us build a permanent museum that serves all children in our community and inspires learning through creative play!
Lisa Van Deman
Lisa has more than 20 years in museum leadership and administration. She holds a MFA in theatre, and a BA in American literature and American history from Washington University.
Director of Development
With 15 years in non-profit administration, Kate is a former executive director of Trail Blazers – an experiential education based residential program. Kate holds a BA in theatre and sociology from Surrey University.
Melanie Hatz Levinson
Before joining Kidzu in 2007, Melanie spent 10 years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the curatorial staff. She holds an MA in art history from Columbia University and NYU as well as a BA in Art History from the University of Michigan.
School + Family Programs Manager
Deanna is a former educator with the Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools system, former coordinator of family programs at the YMCA in Atlanta, and a visitor services staff member at Imagine It Children’s Museum in Atlanta. She holds a BS in elementary education and Spanish from Butler University.
Elisabeth joins Kidzu with four years of experience in elementary after-school program management and development – most recently through the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools system. She has a BA in American Studies through UNC-Chapel Hill.
Candace joins Kidzu with 9 years of museum experience with institutions across the state of North Carolina. She was a founding staff member of the Children’s Museum of Alamance County. She has a BA in corporate and electronic communications from Lenoir-Rhyne University.
Visitor Services + Membership Manager
Kailey has over 8 years experience working with adults and children with special needs and worked as a vocational specialist. She’s also volunteered for over 4 years at a therapeutic horseback riding program. She has been with Kidzu since August 2015.
Administrative + Development Coordinator
Michelle recently graduated from UNC Chapel Hill where she earned a degree in Chemistry with a minor in Art History. She is the glue that holds the management team together.
Jarrett joins Kidzu after completing a master’s degree in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship from UNC-Chapel Hill. She worked as a research and teaching assistant at Kenan Science Library’s Makerspace while completing her degree, and previously worked at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center for six years as a Community Education Specialist. She also holds a BA in Advertising, with minors in Environmental Studies and Entrepreneurship. She has a passion for STEM education, making and tinkering, and all creative crafts.
School + Fee Based Programs Coordinator
Katie has been with Kidzu since 2014 where she started off as an intern. She has a BA from UNC-Chapel Hill in Art History and Italian.
Outreach + Special Programs Coordinator
Rose is a recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a MA in Museum Education, and previously earned a BA in Art Studies from North Carolina State University. She joins Kidzu with previous experience at art museums around the state and a love for community outreach and art education!
Volunteer + Birthday Coordinator
Landis has been in the museum field for 11 years working in museums across the country and abroad and joined the Kidzu family in 2015. She has an MA in Fashion and Textile Studies from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and an MA in Archaeology from the University of Nevada, Reno. She also has a BA in Sociology from Elon University.
Financials + Annual Report
KIDZU NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT
We invite you to get involved with Kidzu and help us build a permanent museum that serves all children in our community and inspires learning through purposeful play!
$7.50 per child over 12 months
$7.50 per adult
Children 11 months and under are free
Memberships start at $115 for a year of unlimited admission.
See our membership page for more information
201 S. Estes Drive,
Chapel Hill, NC