Berkeley Children’s Museum Prepares to Relocate

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Regina, a regular visitor of the Berkeley Habitot Museum, plays in the museum's Art Studio.  (Amy Mostafa/ KQED)

A Berkeley children’s museum is scrambling to raise millions of dollars for its relocation.

This month, the city approved a controversial development plan to replace the building that houses the Habitot Children’s Museum with a mixed-use high-rise.

Executive Director Gina Moreland says the museum serves a number of low-income families with its Arts and Science exhibits, and parenting classes.

“When people talk about the achievement gap that exists in our public schools, it’s there at Kindergarten,” says Moreland. “The kids who are arriving at 5 years old are already behind compared to their peers that have, you know, families with resources, and families that are more educated.”

A toy register at the Berkeley Habitot Museum.
A toy cash register at the Berkeley Habitot Museum. (Amy Mostafa/ KQED )

Moreland says the museum needs about $3 million to relocate by 2017. That includes leasing a new space near the Ashby BART and getting it up to par with museum building codes.


It would take another $6 million to permanently stay in the new space.

So far, they have a million from the city, donors, and the new developer.

While they raise the rest, Moreland is staying positive.  She says the new facility will be more visible, and have more parking.

In the meantime, the old museum will stay open.