Currently Reading

Maine’s Children’s Museum & Theatre moves into new location that doubles its size

Cultural Facilities

Maine’s Children’s Museum & Theatre moves into new location that doubles its size

Interactive exhibits are among its features.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | June 28, 2021
Exterior of Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine
Exterior of Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine

The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine (CMTM) officially opened last Thursday, June 24, in its new 30,000-sf location at Thompson’s Point along the Fore River in Portland.

This location allows the facility to expand it programming and services in ways that its former 15,000-sf location, in Portland’s Arts District, restricted. The new building—offering the state-of-the-art Maddy’s Theatre with 100 seats, a STEM science center, a floor devoted to arts, culture, and community, and offices and meeting rooms—opens with limited capacity and other protocols in place to protect visitors and staff during the pandemic.  Once it opens fully, the Museum and Theatre to reach over 200,000 visitors per year.

Bruner/Cott Architects led this project, which connects the CMTM to the site’s industrial shipping and railroad heritage. “We began this project nearly six years ago, building on our firm’s long history of museum and gallery design,” recalls firm Principal Jason Forney. “A true collaboration between our firm and our client has produced a building that embodies the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine’s mission and goals for its new venue, certain to attract visitors from near and far.”

The three-floor building’s proportions and window patterns are inspired by Thompson Point’s historic brick structures and steel cross-bracing. The exterior cladding of colorful metal shingles is arranged in a dynamic pattern. An outdoor play area is adjacent to the waterfront landscape.

Floor-to-ceiling glass surrounds the building’s 20-ft-high entry lobby, which connects the inside and outside and brings in natural light. The building's exhibit spaces incorporate visuals and programming that connect to Maine’s culture.

 

COST-SAVING SUSTAINABILITY

The Children's Museum & Theater of Maine was built on the former site of an old railcar repair yard.

CMTM's new location, once the site of a railcar repair yard, was designed to blend in with its natural surroundings.

 

The project’s building team, which included construction manager Zachau Construction, employed sustainable strategies that addressed the challenges of a brownfield site that was once a railway repair yard. The project pre-loaded the building area to compact the soil and minimize off-site removal. Low wattage LED lighting was used throughout the building, and a VRF (variable refrigeration flow) system was installed for heating and cooling. The Museum site is also close to local, regional, and international public transportation.

To help pay for this project, the estimated construction cost of which was $7 million, the Children’s Museum & Theatre surpassed its $14 million fundraising goal, having raised over $15 million from more than 500 donors and the proceeds of the sale of its former building at 142 Free Street. CMTM worked with Nextstage Design to conceptualize and align its programming with its fundraising capabilities.

“As we move past the pandemic, we are enthusiastic about all the experiences our new building and its innovative, interactive exhibits and state-of-the-art theatre will bring to fans of our previous facility, as well as new visitors to Maine from across the nation and the world,” says CMTM Executive Director Julie Butcher.

Related Stories

Cultural Facilities | Oct 19, 2021

Niagara Falls is getting a bigger Welcome Center

The GWWO Architects-designed building will mostly sit on the site of the center it replaces.

Giants 400 | Aug 30, 2021

2021 Giants 400 Report: Ranking the largest architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S.

The 2021 Giants 400 Report includes more than 130 rankings across 25 building sectors and specialty categories.

Resiliency | Aug 19, 2021

White paper outlines cost-effective flood protection approaches for building owners

A new white paper from Walter P Moore offers an in-depth review of the flood protection process and proven approaches.

Cultural Facilities | Aug 2, 2021

A new venue for the San Diego Symphony’s outdoor performances opens this week

Rady Shell at Jacobs Park was funded almost entirely by private donors.

Resiliency | Jun 24, 2021

Oceanographer John Englander talks resiliency and buildings [new on HorizonTV]

New on HorizonTV, oceanographer John Englander discusses his latest book, which warns that, regardless of resilience efforts, sea levels will rise by meters in the coming decades. Adaptation, he says, is the key to future building design and construction.

Multifamily Housing | Jun 3, 2021

Student Housing Trends 2021-2022

In this exclusive video interview for HorizonTV, Fred Pierce, CEO of Pierce Education Properties, developer and manager of off-campus student residences, chats with Rob Cassidy, Editor, MULTIFAMILY Design + Construction about student housing during the pandemic and what to expect for on-campus and off-campus housing in Fall 2021 and into 2022.

AEC Tech | May 24, 2021

Digital twin’s value propositions for the built environment, explained

Ernst & Young’s white paper makes its cases for the technology’s myriad benefits.

Wood | May 14, 2021

What's next for mass timber design?

An architect who has worked on some of the nation's largest and most significant mass timber construction projects shares his thoughts on the latest design trends and innovations in mass timber.

Cultural Facilities | Apr 1, 2021

A Connecticut firm deploys design to assist underserved people and communities

Hartford, Conn.-based JCJ Architecture traces its roots to 1936, when the U.S. was just coming out of an economic depression and its unemployment rate was still 14%. In 2021, with the country trying to recover economically from the impact of the coronavirus, and with questions about social inequity entering the public debate as rarely before, JCJ has focused its design work on projects and clients that are committed to social responsibility and advocacy, particularly for underserved or marginalized communities.


Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: