Please Touch Museum enriches the lives of children by creating learning opportunities through play. Founded in 1976, Please Touch was the first museum in the nation focused on families with children ages seven and younger. Today, the museum’s interactive exhibits, programs, and events serve 525,000 visitors annually. The museum is housed in Memorial Hall, a National Historic Landmark in Fairmount Park, which was originally constructed as the art gallery for the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition, the first World’s Fair in the US.
Please Touch Museum’s America to Zanzibar will offer an imaginative platform for young children and their families to learn about modern and historic Muslim communities across Philadelphia and the world. Building on a framework developed by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Philadelphia exhibition will combine art, technology, performance, and interactive programming. Exhibition components will include immersive 3D environments of Middle Eastern architecture and mosques, historic artifacts, newly commissioned artwork created by Philadelphia-based Muslim artists, as well as personal stories and home objects from local Muslim families. A mobile app will introduce visitors to languages of the Muslim world and teach them to write letters in a new language. As the first project under the museum’s new initiative to address contemporary social issues and represent Philadelphia’s culturally diverse populations, America to Zanzibar will foster dialogue around diversity and acceptance, and serve as the basis for future exhibition development.
Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.