Atop a hill overlooking City Park, the Knock Knock Children's Museum should offer some of the best views of Baton Rouge during the day. At night, its columns of windows will glow like three giant lanterns on Dalrymple Drive.
As the opening date for the children's museum grows closer — still projected at the end of the summer — the finishing touches both inside and outside are starting to take shape. While rain has delayed the museum's outdoor landscaping, the interior learning exhibits are coming to life.
The soon-to-open Knock Knock Children's Museum plans to offer reduced admission to families …
Architect Jonathan Guelfo of Baton Rouge's Remson|Haley|Herpin Architects said conceiving the design for the museum gave his firm rare opportunities.
One of them was cutting into the hill itself for the building's lowest level, usually not an option in Louisiana's expanses of flat land. And another was giving a nod to the shotgun and bungalow-style houses in the neighborhoods near the museum with the roofline for Knock Knock.
But what will be particularly memorable are the views, both for the people inside the museum looking out and for those passing by the whimsical building and looking inside.
Three all-glass corners of the building that jut skyward will draw the attention of anyone passing by the building.
"Those three beacons were kind of conceived as almost lanterns that would be illuminated at night and really draw attention to the building," said Guelfo, who is the project manager for the museum.
Co-worker Trula Remson was in charge of the project while co-workers Chris Remson and Jason Hargrave were the lead designers.
Driving east on Interstate 10 past the Dalrymple exit, the shell of the Knock Knock Children…
"The views from that hill are just incredible, unlike anything Baton Rouge has," Guelfo added. "We really wanted to try to take advantage of the views to the park and to the lake. There was an opportunity for a lot of glass."
The children's museum was conceived more than a decade ago, and the fundraising efforts since then have amounted to $13 million of the $14 million supporters hope to raise. Most recently, Louisiana first lady Donna Edwards joined the list of museum sponsors.
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Edwards invited a group of children, parents and Knock Knock Children's Museum staffers and supporters to the Governor's Mansion on June 29. Her Louisiana First Foundation, which supports enhancing education through music, arts and movement, is giving a $35,000 sponsorship to the museum to be paid over three years.
The sponsorship is going toward a rainbow-colored percussion instrument for children to make music with inside the museum. Edwards posed for pictures with children and played the piano for them as she explained her interest in the museum.
Knock Knock Children’s Museum held an ice cream social honoring Christine, Callie, Jude and …
She recalled moving back to Amite after her husband, John Bel Edwards, finished military service, and how the playground there had broken slides and swings. It spurred her involvement in the Junior Auxiliary, which raised money for a playground.
"This is the capital," she told the group before sending them off with chocolate chip cookies. "It should have always had a children's museum."
The museum's design had to be pared back to fit into a $6 million construction budget.
If more money becomes available, another building quadrant has already been designed and can be added on, Guelfo said. The building will also have an unfinished third floor space that could be built out, he said.
As construction continues on the Knock Knock Children’s Museum, the museum’s leaders announc…
Knock Knock Executive Director Peter Olson said construction on the interior exhibits for the museum is "deep in." The museum will have more than a dozen learning zones — a storybook climber that children will ascend in front of one of Knock Knock's big windows, a paws and claws clinic to help children learn to care for animals, an art garden to let out their creativity, and more.
Olson said they look forward to the opening but know the final additions are important ones.
"A building of this scale and significance — there are so many details," he said.