NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Youth Museumâ€™s new management is ready to take it to the next level through renovations and the creation of new membership programs.
Tom Pascocello, the new executive director, said the museum doesnâ€™t have many members at present, but hopes to see an increase by providing new offerings.
â€śI definitely want to increase the amount of people that come here and enjoy our programming and use this as a recreational and educational facility,â€ť Pascocello said. â€śI want to see a lot of families, lots of adults, lots of individuals coming out and just utilizing the place, making this a destination site.â€ť
The museumâ€™s 27-acre site at Hungerford Park opened in 1984. Pascocello plans to upgrade the trails and hopes to add interpretive exhibits along them to let people learn about whatâ€™s in the surrounding forest.
â€śOur animal barnyard area is going to change a little bit so folks could have a little more personal experience with some of our animals,â€ť Pascocello said. â€śOur playground area next spring is going to be expanded. Our 27 acres will be renovated. We have plans for new gardens, new outdoor exhibits and we are hoping to bring in a butterfly house.â€ť
The main hall and exhibit area will also be updated to include indoor animals and hands-on interactive exhibits for children and adults. The museum will also offer new educational programs.
â€śNot only we are going to increase the number of programs we offer, but who we are offering it to, and the variety of programs, the number of different topics as well as audiences,â€ť Pascocello said. â€śOne of the things we are going to try to do is offer summer camps for kids this year.
â€śIn addition to that, we are going to be offering a number of different special events like a race, a pet festival, beef and beer, and an Easter festival. There will be lots of big special events that hopefully will attract hundreds of people out to the place to not only enjoy the events but to also learn a little bit about what we do here. Thereâ€™s going to be something here for everyone and itâ€™s going to be something that people can stay for a couple of hours.â€ť
In addition, the membership program at the museum was recently changed. A membership costs $50 for a family for the whole year.
Under the new program, members and their family members get free admission to over 200 nature centers and more than 300 gardens all over the country.
â€śIn the spring we are hoping to add another component to that, and that will be getting into about 500 museums across the country,â€ť Pascocello said. â€śOur membership benefits are going to be drastically increased. I think folks will really enjoy that.â€ť
The new membership program started the second week of November.
Jean Larson, a board member, said that one of the main concerns is to get more people to visit the museum.
â€śIt has been here for years and thereâ€™s people that come here for the first time that have lived in Berlin or New Britain all their lives and have no idea that itâ€™s here,â€ť Larson said.
Pascocello wants the growth in the museum to be a leading source of learning responsibility within nature and humans.
â€śI think once we nurture respect, love, understanding and appreciation for the natural world that also flows into how folks start to treat one another,â€ť Pascocello said.