- Associated Press - Friday, February 1, 2013

NEWTOWN, CONN. (AP) - In a Jan. 29 story about a planned children’s museum in Newtown, Conn., The Associated Press erroneously reported that the Association of Children’s Museums launched a national fundraising effort. Museums across the nation are raising money for the project, but the association is not involved.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Newtown expands scope of planned children’s museum

Support of massacred Sandy Hook principal accelerates plans for regional children’s museum


Associated Press

Months before she was killed in a gunman’s rampage, Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung wrote a letter expressing her excitement over an effort to bring a children’s museum to Newtown.

At the time, the proposal was fairly modest: a building of perhaps 20,000 square feet would provide art and science programs for area children.

Since last month’s massacre, the plan has become more ambitious, with museums around the country collecting donations and organizers looking to renovate a 52,000-square-foot building to host the new learning center. A capital campaign that was to begin in the spring will start right away, with hopes of raising $10 million instead of the original $4 million.

“The need for the children’s museum, which everyone thought was a great idea before, became almost a necessity,” said Kristin Chiriatti, the museum’s president. “People understood that the children will need a place to heal. We have so many children who are scared to go to school now and may have lifelong poor associations with learning.”

It will still be a community museum, Chiriatti said, but it will also be a destination point for southwestern Connecticut.

The museum, first proposed in 2011, was to feature rotating exhibits on such topics as electricity, sound and outer space. Chiriatti called it “Everwonder,” a play on the wonder the museum is meant to evoke and her question as to whether it would be possible to build, she said.

The group had been involved in hosting programs at the local library and envisioned a place for children to draw and conduct experiments.

Hochsprung wrote to Chiriatti in March that she supported the idea to engage students with hands-on, interactive experiences.

“In order for students to learn, they must be invested in what we are teaching,” she wrote.

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