According to information from the organization's website, after more than a decade of planning, the long-awaited Children’s Museum of St. Tammany (CMST) opened its doors on Saturday, January 20, at its brand-new interim location at the Koop Drive Trailhead.
The museum features exhibits designed by Argyle Design of Brooklyn, NY, produced by local design team The Solomon Group and programming developed by an exhibit design team of volunteer educators in collaboration with museum board and staff. It appeal s primarily to toddlers through early childhood aged children and offers special programming for older children.
According to Tina Taylor Abbey, a past president of the Junior League of Greater Covington, "In 1977, a small group of women came together to establish the Junior League of Greater Covington. At that time, they embraced the creation of a childhood learning experience for the families of St. Tammany as a top goal. Today, the Children's Museum of St. Tammany enjoys the universal, unwavering support of our entire organization. We are all parents in one form or another -- mothers, grandmothers, godparents, educators. And we know the joy that comes when a child explores, plays and discovers."
From its inception as a community project of the Junior League of Greater Covington to becoming its own independent 501c3 with a board of trustees and advisory board, CMST is the result of countless volunteer hours.
Lisa Barnett, CMST Board of Trustees President, said, “As a past president of the Junior League, I am particularly proud of the impact the League has had in bringing this project to fruition. This is a testament to the importance of volunteerism and the power of community.”
“The St. Tammany Parish Public School System and Superintendent Trey Folse have also played an integral part in getting us to this point,” said CMST Trustee and Marigny Elementary Principal Leslie Martin. “From leading the way in our annual Black & Gold Day fundraiser to the many educators who have lent their time and expertise in developing our exhibits and programming, Mr. Folse and the school system have been true partners in bringing the museum to life.”
From Past President Kevin Davis’ early championing of the project, to President Pat Brister’s invitation to make the Parish’s planned Cultural Arts District its permanent home, CMST has enjoyed support from St. Tammany Parish Government over the years.
Pictured from Left to Right: Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President; Lisa Barnett, President Children's Museum of St. Tammany Board of Trustees; Amy Fresh, Executive Director, Children's Museum of St. Tammany. Photo provided by St. Tammany Parish Government website.
“We are grateful to our elected officials at the parish level and also at the city level who have contributed to our efforts. Folks like President Brister, Sheriff Randy Smith, Mayors Mike Cooper and Don Villere who participate in our Advisory Board and our council members who lend an ear, a hand and show up have had such an impact in getting us to this point.”