Southern California Children’s Museum Kicks Off with South Pasadena Event

Southern California Children\'s MuseumSouthern California Children\'s MuseumSouthern California Children\'s MuseumSouthern California Children\'s MuseumSouthern California Children\'s MuseumSouthern California Children\'s MuseumSouthern California Children\'s MuseumSouthern California Children\'s Museum

Article by CHRISTOPHER FLOCH | Photography courtesy SCCM

3:44 pm | July 12, 2013

The inaugural fund raiser to benefit the Southern California Children’s Museum was held at South Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco Miniature golf course on Thursday, July 11. The purpose of this event was to raise funds for a permanent space to house exhibits in the San Gabriel Valley, and supporters came with their families to enjoy the evening.

“This event was much different than other fund raisers I have attended, it wasn’t just a boring sit down dinner,” said James Schimmoller, husband of the group’s co-founder and Vice President, Maureen. “ This event highlights the type of activities the Museum will offer children, hands-on activities.”

SCCM’s mission statement is as follows “ To cultivate a child’s wonder, stimulate curiosity, and motivate learning through interactive exhibits. Activities will be play based and focused on developing a child’s gross and fine motor skills.

This museum differs from the popular Kidspace Children’s Museum in that it will focus on arts and culture. It is primarily designed for children under eight. The goal is to create an environment focused on early childhood education while offering “a place to create life long memories.”

To kick off the festivities, the children were each presented with a golf club and a colored ball to begin the miniature golfing experience. It was a unseasonably cool summer evening, and the balls were being hit under bridges and around corners and through windmills.

Some children even scored the elusive “hole in one,” bringing many smiles to the families in attendance.  Jason Arkle, 3 years old, who attended with his mother, Samera Arkle, accomplished the feat.

Samera Arkle said she “loves introducing her son to art and artists and the one-on-one connection it forges between mother and son”.

Compared to other near by museum’s like the Skirball, The Hammer, or LACMA, this museum focuses one hundred percent on the child.

The idea of the museum was sparked by a group of Pasadena mothers wanting to facilitate children’s inherent desire to explore and learn about their world through arts and culture.

The Board of Directors includes President Catherine Welch, Vice President Maureen Schimmoller, Treasurer Jennifer Quan, Secretary Maren Hoecker, Amy Belmont-Mcnully, Lisa Munoz-Bruchey and Allison Turner.

“With our museum, we want the focus to be arts and culture, that includes a lot of hands on activities,” said Catherine Welch.

Some might believe this museum will be in competition with Kidspace Children’s Museum, however, that that is not the case, according to Catherine Welch.

“We love Kidspace, we’ve talked with them, we feel we can work alongside them,” said Welch.

The funding for SCCM comes from grants, along with private donations. The organization has received a 501 K non-profit status.

Welch expects to open the 15,000-20,000 sq. ft. facility, housing permanent exhibits,in the San Gabriel Valley, within a year.

Spread around the grounds were colorful posters depicting iconic Southern California landmarks, including the Santa Monica Pier, and the Griffith Observatory. Imagine the joy of sitting under the stars, around a campfire, roasting marshmallows and telling tales.

“It’s adventures like these I want my children to have, this area has such diversity,” James Schimmoller said.

Amid the avid golfing, parents and children alike were treated to delicious food prepared by chef Frank Sayeski of Hunington Catering in Pasadena. On the menu was mini-cheeseburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers ith all the toppings. For the adults beer, wine and cocktails were offered.

On Saturday, September 14, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia is the Touch-a-Truck day. A hands on learning experience for childen to explore a variety of large trucks, heavy machinery, recreational vehicles, emergency vehicles and more.

To follow the museums progress, or to become a donor contact or call (626) 657-0357.