The Portland Children’s Museum has been a staple of kids’ early learning for 75 years in Portland, Oregon. Now it’s closed permanently.
A statement from the museum on its website reads, “It is with heavy hearts that we share a decision made on March 25, 2021 by the Board of Directors to permanently dissolve Portland Children’s Museum and Opal School, effective June 30, 2021.
“Due to the coronavirus, the Museum has been closed to the public for health and safety since March of 2020. Museum tickets are NOT on sale. Leading up to the dissolution on June 30, the campus will remain closed to the public—with the exception of areas used for Opal Beginning School in-person learning and Opal Charter School hybrid learning.”
Dorothea Lensch founded the Junior Museum and Adventure House in 1946 as part of Portland Parks and Recreation. Lensch was the director of Portland Parks and Recreation from 1937 until 1972. She was well-known for developing innovative programs for children with special needs and disadvantaged families.
The museum’s early programs included natural history displays, arts and crafts classes, and a pet lending library. In the 1970s, its focus changed to hands-on, experience-based learning. The museum moved to Washington Park, in the former home of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) near the Oregon Zoo, in 2001.
Since the museum opened, it has hosted more than 4.8 million visitors, some of whom were children when they first started coming here and returned as parents and grandparents.