Hartwell named as new director at kidscommons

Kidscommons, the downtown Columbus children’s museum has a new leader.

According to the museum, interim director Whitney Hartwell has been named as the full-time executive director. She has been serving in the role since January when previous director Ben Wagner stepped down after nine years.

Hartwell previously served as associate director of the museum and has been with the facility since joining the staff in 2017.

Under Hartwell’s guidance, the museum has joined the national program, Museums for All. Families receiving food assistance can get free or reduced price admission to more than 1,000 museums across the country. At kidscommons, those who qualify receive admission for $3 per person for up to four people. kidscommons is also offering a 50 discount on special events for those families.

The museum is developing a new first-floor exhibit that explores agriculture and the food economy. Families will learn about growing fruits and vegetables and then see how they are sold at a farmer’s market.

Hartwell said the new exhibit will incorporate pretend play, which kids love and is great for their brain development. She said the exhibit will be important because of the role that agriculture plays in the culture and economy of southern Indiana. The museum is working with local architect Louis Joyner on the design.

You can get more information at kidscommons.org.