The first film is Disney’s “Up” on Friday, Sept. 20, and “Night at the Museum” on Friday, Oct. 18.
“As part of a ‘Night at the Museum,’ we will be inviting our young friends to leave their stuffed animals here at the museum,” Petersen said. “So their stuffed animals will get to spend an overnight here ... They will get to pick them up the next day to learn what their stuffed animals did overnight here at the museum.”
Previously, summer-evening programming attracted 3,000 people, and Family Days attracted 2,500 to 4,000 attendees.
“So certainly, we anticipate, now that we will be extending over a 12-month cycle, we will be serving a larger number,” Petersen said. “Folks who might not be as available in the summer will be able to tap into those opportunities and offerings throughout the calendar year.”
Weather — too hot or too wet — is no longer a challenge with the new center.
“One of the things that, institutionally, we will be looking to do is really getting the word out that we are available. Some of this programming we will offer our first year will be somewhat experimental. We’re going to be looking for visitor and community feedback as to what’s working and other ideas that they may have that would engage them,” she said.
“The education department is really smart about tailoring different programs to different age groups,” said Leslie Wright, pubic relations and marketing manager at the museum. “Some programs are suited for a younger child. Some are for tweens. It’s really spread out. It’s not all geared to all-age groups.”
On this rainy Thursday, the museum grounds were packed with Quebec middle-schoolers, Winooski kindergartners and Milton fourth- and fifth-graders.
New programming at the center will include Art in the A.M.