July 3, 2019 – Port Discovery Children’s Museum is celebrating the grand opening of two new exhibits—the SkyClimber and The Port—as well as improved Museum amenities and the re-opening of other favorite exhibits. Lewis Contractors, selected as the Construction Manager for the project, worked in collaboration with Architects Cambridge Seven Associates to oversee the exhibit and climber installation. The new exhibits and renovations mark the Museum’s first major makeover since opening in December 1998.
This unique project served to restore the spirit of Port Discovery’s original building—initially designed as a fish market in 1906 by Architects Otto Simonson and Theodore Wells Pietsch. After closing in the 1980s, several entertainment concepts were considered to no avail. It was not until 1997 that Disney redesigned the space to become what is now known as Port Discovery Children’s Museum. The nonprofit children’s museum, located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, underwent a major reimagining, bringing two new immersive exhibits and updated amenities to its 106-year-old historic building, including replacement of aging capital equipment and upgrades/replacement of existing exhibits. This project addressed significant internal and external infrastructure issues, increased energy efficiency and added new safety features. In addition to bringing visitors new hands-on exhibits, the Museum also wanted to improve guest experience and thus, the renovation provided more family seating areas, a new nursing area, a new lobby, a renovated lunchroom and updated restrooms.
The construction project brought visitors two new signature exhibits: the Port Exhibit and a new SkyClimber Exhibit. The Port Exhibit features an interactive multi-story ship where children can sail, navigate and engineer as they explore the seas, discover how products make their way around the world and learn about the Port of Baltimore. The Port also offers the opportunity to load life-size cargo containers on board and discover what would happen in the event of a container falling overboard. In an effort to encourage kids to get active, problem-solve and take risks in a safe environment, the SkyClimber will encourage children to climb their way up and around a four-story climbing structure that takes climbers from an underwater scene up into the clouds.
With Port Discovery reopened with new exhibits and updated amenities, visitors can now soar to new heights on the four-story SkyClimber, which encourages children to build confidence, learn problem-solving skills, build motor skills, and more. They will sail towards new adventures on The Port, which includes a massive ship, gantry crane, and engine room, all of which encourage teamwork, help children learn about the world around them and demonstrate the importance of The Port of Baltimore. Plus, children and families will enjoy other permanent exhibits that encourage playful learning, discovery, connection, community and self-discovery.