Franklin Countys First News

Western Maine Play Museum: A new gem of Franklin County

Director Joni James has a whole lineup of events planned for the museum, including "Freaky Fridays" and a Halloween party next month.

WILTON - Getting the doors of the Western Maine Play Museum open has been anything but easy. Between grant requirements, building regulations and an ambitious long-term goal of a two story, multi-building center for creative play and learning, it's been a long six years for the visionaries behind WMPM. After a soft opening at last month's Blueberry Festival, the museum celebrated an official grand opening Saturday morning.

"I can hardly believe it myself," Long-time board member Lori Lewis said to the small crowd gathered on Main Street.

The ceremonious ribbon cutting was followed with celebration that included food, music, games and a chance to fully explore all nine rooms of the large museum. Architects Stephanie Lull and Margaret Innes joined in the party, excited to see the kids utilizing the space they began designing six years ago.

"We don't always get to work on such fun projects. It's great to see the finished product," Lull said.

The museum has become a passion project for many- from carpenters and engineers to artists and entertainers. The wide support has played a huge role in getting to opening day, but people from throughout the state can now enjoy the gem of rural Maine, with regular hours, programming and events.

"I think I will sleep really well tonight," Director Joni James said. "Thank you to this community for keeping your interest."

The Western Maine Play Museum will be open Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Mondays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Multiple membership options are available, to learn more about those click here. Drop-in rates are always available.

WMPM will be hosting "Freaky Fridays" at 3:30 p.m. intended for ages 9 and up. A Halloween party is being planned as well, scheduled for Oct. 26.

Carleton Fletcher plays at one of the magnet tables.

Zoe Bernham, 2, gets some sensory play at the Sand Table. The interactive table was a project done by students at Mt. Blue High School. When sand is shifted around the light changes color to show different contours.

Three-year-old Devon Knowles watches a parachute skyrocket toward the ceiling in the Invention Room.

Shaun Doak plays in the Invention Room.

Oliver Davis goes fishing with a little help from his dad.

Three-year-old Aylin Soha from Chesterville enjoys the playhouse in the front yard of the Western Maine Play Museum. Aylin's dad, Nick Soha, donated the granite used in front of the new building. Soha works for Polycor New England.

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  1. I cannot stress enough how important and amazing this place is for the children of our community, but also children from everywhere!! And having Joni makes it all that much more of a gem.