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. View the full press release here.
Campus: Due to COVID, the Museum has been closed to the public for health and safety since March 2020. 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.
Clay Studio: June Date to be Scheduled for Glazed or Fired Clay Piece Pick-Up
Message from the Board Chair:
Over the last 12 months, the Museum experienced devastating attendance and revenue losses. The impacts from the pandemic have compounded a funding model that is largely reliant on paid admissions to an interactive museum. During the last year, leadership and the board considered a multitude of options, including the concept of a mobile museum and enhanced digital offerings.
Due to new cleaning protocols, state guidelines limiting capacity, and the need to refill 48 staff positions due to layoffs, opening the Museum’s doors to the public would result in an insurmountable financial deficit. The question of when parents and caregivers will feel comfortable returning to interactive museums further complicated plans to reopen. Ultimately, these options were not financially viable and would have mandated a substantial, long-term investment without the revenue to support the organization.
Children and their caregivers have experienced so many joyful memories at the Museum, and we are forever grateful to the vibrant community of play that the Museum and Opal School have cultivated during these last 75 years.
Portland Children's Museum's lasting impact will live on through the creativity of countless families, children, educators, artists, and musicians who called the Museum and Opal School their second home.
This year marks the Museum’s 75th anniversary, Opal School’s 20th anniversary, and Washington Park’s 150th anniversary. While it’s heartbreaking to announce the closure during these milestones, we are heartened by what we achieved at the Museum and school throughout our history.
The Museum welcomed 4.8 million visitors during its 75 years and recently hosted more than 250,000 visitors each year—many of whom first visited as children decades ago and returned as parents or grandparents. Opal School served over 500 students and 10,000 educators, who in turn have reached one million children locally and globally.
We will be spending the next few months winding down the organization and, where possible, donating assets to mission-aligned nonprofits in the community.
Thank you very much for being a part of our journey and for your support throughout the years.