CuriousCity opens this weekend
Original Article from Salem News
March 27, 2019
CuriousCity opens this weekend
If you are curious about what the city’s newest museum looks like, your wait will soon be over.
After six months of work, the Peabody Cultural Collaborative‘s pop-up children’s museum, CuriousCity, will hold a preview and private reception on Friday, March 29, at its location at the George Peabody House and Peabody Leatherworkers museums at 205 Washington St.
CuriousCity opens to the public on Sunday, March 31.
The historical exhibits that used to fill the museums have been placed into storage to make way for new ones for kids to play with and learn.
CuriousCity’s centerpiece in the George Peabody House is a giant storybook crafted by artist Yetti Frenkel, a Newburyport resident and former 35-year resident of Peabody.
The book’s four large hand-painted canvas pages hang from plumbing pipes, and are meant to be a backdrop for a puppet theater — kids can act out the story written large on the page.
“I’m so proud of myself that I could actually come up with the idea to do the mechanics of it,” said Frenkel, one of the artists whose work graces the temporary museum. The giant book had to be free-standing, so it was attached to a 5-foot by 10-foot plywood base. Nothing could be attached to the walls — the exhibit will be removed in three months, as the pop-up museum is scheduled to close in May.
Elsewhere, a miniature playhouse bank, complete with a teller, ATM and drive-thru window, pays homage to Peabody’s namesake, financier and philanthropist George Peabody.
The bank’s name is the George Peabody Co-operative Bank, the former name of North Shore Bank, which is based in Peabody. North Shore Bank is also the sponsor of the exhibit.
Kids can use magnetic money on a board to pick how they would spend their philanthropy dollars as if they were George Peabody, said Melissa Robinson, director of the Peabody Institute Library and a director of the Peabody Cultural Collaborative, who spearheaded the pop-up museum.
On Tuesday, she showed off various exhibits such as Curious World, which looks at geography, and Farm-to-Lunch, which the Essex Agricultural Society helped bring to life.
Salem artists Sheila Farren Billings and Dirk Tiede also worked on exhibits.
Danvers-based Northeast Arc, which works with those with intellectual and physical disabilities, helped create a sensory room.
The Leatherworkers Museum, adjacent to the George Peabody House, has been transformed into Discovery City, where kids can build things like ramps and small carts. The space also has an art studio with magnets and blocks.
Ticket sales opened on Friday, and Robinson said 120 have been sold so far.
The pop-up museum cost about $100,000 to stage. Donors include the J.B. Thomas Lahey Foundation of Lahey Health; the Essex County Community Foundation-Creative County Initiative; Peabody’s Community Development Department; North Shore Bank; Eastern Bank and the Peabody Cultural Council.
The goal is to prove that a permanent children’s museum can work in Peabody as a way to bring families to the downtown, Robinson said.