Portland, OR. The Portland Children’s Museum will close its doors effective June 30, 2021. Board Chair  David Peterson released a statement. “It is with heavy hearts that we share a decision made on March 25, 2021 by the Board of Directors to permanently dissolve Portland Children’s Museum and Opal School, effective June 30, 2021. Due to the coronavirus and resulting shutdown for health and safety, the Museum experienced devastating attendance and revenue losses. The impacts from the pandemic have compounded a funding model that is largely reliant on paid admissions to an interactive museum. During the last year, leadership and the board considered a multitude of options, including the concept of a mobile museum and enhanced digital offerings.”

David Peterson explained how opening the Museum’s doors to the public would result in an insurmountable financial deficit because of new cleaning protocols, state guidelines limiting capacity, and the need to refill 48 staff positions due to layoffs. “We’ve all experienced so many wonderful memories at the Museum with our loved ones, and we are forever grateful to the vibrant community of play that the Museum and Opal School have cultivated during these last 75 years.”

The Museum welcomed 4.8 million visitors during its 75 years and recently hosted more than 250,000 visitors each year—many of whom first visited as children decades ago and returned as parents or grandparents. Opal School served over 500 students and 10,000 educators, who in turn have reached one million children locally and globally.

Peterson added, “Portland Children’s Museum’s lasting impact will live on through the creativity of countless families, children, educators, artists, and musicians who called the Museum and Opal School their second home. This year marks the Museum’s 75th anniversary, Opal School’s 20th anniversary, and Washington Park’s 150th anniversary. While it’s heartbreaking to announce the closure during these milestones, we are heartened by what we achieved at the Museum and school throughout our history. We will be spending the next few months winding down the organization and, where possible, donating assets to mission-aligned nonprofits in the community.”