Children’s museum gets new executive director |

Children’s museum gets new executive director

–Looking forward to new facility

Two years ago Barbara Wilkinson decided to quit her job as a marketing director of a company that released home movies from major studios in Hollywood. Her husband Richard, an attorney working for a law firm in Washington, D.C., decided to leave his firm as well.

After having their first child, Savannah, the couple decided it was time to look for a better quality of life. That’s what led them to Truckee.

“We’d been on vacation out here,” said Wilkinson. “We just decided to do it.”

The move to Truckee gave Wilkinson the chance to slow down and spend the time she wanted with her daughter.

Much of that time was spent at the Sierra Nevada Children’s Museum, an indoor play area that offered children the opportunity to learn while having fun.

“We started coming to the (Children’s Museum) when we moved here,” said Wilkinson. “I was volunteering because my daughter loves to play here.”

As Wilkinson began developing friendships with coordinators of the Children’s Museum, it became clear that her volunteer work was going to turn into something more.

When Pamela Williams, former executive director of the museum, stepped down in May, Wilkinson seemed like the perfect candidate.

“We felt that her 17 years of business experience and volunteer experience was just what we were looking for,” said Williams. “She’s great with children and adults.”

Wilkinson comes onboard just as the Children’s Museum prepares to move into its new home: Kid’s Zone.

The museum recently closed at its location next to the Donner Pass Road 7-Eleven and will reopen in about two months.

Kid’s Zone, located next to the high school baseball field, will include a family resource center, an indoor play area for children up to the age of five, a multi-purpose classroom space and educational and interactive museum exhibits.

“We are going to be partnering with some very important local organizations,” said Wilkinson. “It’s going to help us take our exhibits to the next level.”

A full-sized covered wagon replica exhibit is already being planned for the new space. It will include an interactive computer game that simulates the Oregon Trail experience.

Wilkinson said she hopes Kid’s Zone will become a community bulletin board to help get the word out about different services offered to area parents.

“We’ll still be offering the same services … birthday parties, special classes, art classes, etc. but hopefully we’ll be able to offer those services to more parents.”

For now, Wilkinson is left to box up and pack the museum – no small task.

“We having a moving party this Saturday at 2 p.m.,” said Wilkinson. “Anybody who wants to come out and help … if you have a pickup truck, that would be really helpful, because we’ve got to get everything into storage.”

For the next two months, the Children’s Museum will not have a home.

“We felt it was important to direct all of our time, energy and resources to the (new space) … we’re going to close now and use that money for the future,” said Wilkinson.

Members of the museum will have their membership extended to compensate the absence.

Wilkinson is left to anticipate the future.

For more information about the Sierra Nevada Children’s Museum, call 587-KIDS or visit their Web site at

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