Ethan Lobdell became the Jackson Hole Children’s Museum Executive Director in April. He and his team have been busy at work supporting the Teton County School District as the school year has been affected by COVID-19.
We met with Ethan the week of October 5th the Children’s Museum re-opened to the public. It was bustling with kids and shiny and clean (the entire space is sanitized between each session).
Located in two modular units outside of Jackson Hole Elementary at the Northeast corner of downtown, the school’s students walk across the playground to get to their class at the Children’s Museum.
It is open, though is limiting the number of people to 12 people for a two-hour session. They offer two, two-hour sessions per day - 9:30 to 11:30 and 12:30 to 2:30. Children’s Museum members have access to a reservation system up to a week in advance. They recommend that anyone interested in visiting call in advance - (307) 733-3996.
Ethan moved to Jackson in 2006 to teach math and science at the Journey School. During his tenure there he also served as the director of the middle school. For the past 10 years Ethan also gives his time to Teton County Search and Rescue. “Teton Science School is definitely still a very important relationship to me. It is an important organization.”
Ethan says of the Museum, “What we create for families and for kids makes everybody happy. Kids come here and they just love it. The kids come and they're just so excited to be here. To see young kids excited to learn and play and explore and create things is so special. It’s so important for them and for our society.”
“I was not aware of how many organizations the Museum serves,” he continued. The Teton County School District is one of them. Museum employees run STEAM programs for every single elementary school student. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics.
In addition to the School District, the Museum partners with The Teton Literacy Center the Children's Learning Center most recently with a program called Champions for Children. They are incredibly creative with their exhibit sponsors. For example, Spring Creek Animal Hospital sponsors their “Teewinot Tails Vet Clinic” and Sweet Peas sponsors their “Tot Spot.”
The Jackson Hole Children’s Museum may be most well-known to the public for their annual Touch-A-Truck.
It’s a family-friendly event where vehicles — construction, emergency, law enforcement, food service, recreation and more — line the street, open for kids of all ages to explore. Kids get to touch the levers, switches and gears as they meet the vehicle operators who build, serve and protect our community every day.
The future of the Children’s Museum is bright. In addition to the programming they offer on and off campus, they can remain in their location for four years. They will likely launch a capital campaign with the goal of owning their own space in the future.
The Jackson Hole Children’s Museum is a 501c3 nonprofit and exist thanks to generous donations. Their monthly membership is $25 per month, which provides access to their reservation system.
The Chamber looks forward to following the Museum’s success and to celebrating their 10th anniversary next November.
Visiting Jackson Hole? There is so much to do with your family. HERE are some ideas!
This story is a part of our #humansofjhchamber campaign, which focuses on the faces of our local businesses and nonprofits. Learn about their inspirations, why started in their industry and more! Find the Chamber on Instagram at @jhchamber. For information about the program, please contact Communications Manager, Andi Gollwitzer, firstname.lastname@example.org.