Michael Luria | Executive Director of the Children’s Museum Tucson

If you are looking for a fun family activity, something that will engage the senses and spark your curiosity, turn to a museum. Executive Director Michael Luria encourages you to find the child within, and come out and play at the Children’s Museum in Tucson.

BY MIRANDA CAIN

1.    How did you end up at Children’s Museum Tucson?
I was introduced to the Museum in 2003 by a friend and loved bringing my kids to play. I joined the Board of Directors later that year then served as President of the Board in 2008. When the Museum was looking for an Executive Director, I served as the interim director. I enjoyed the experience so much that I put my name in for the permanent position and have been there ever since.

2.    Tell us how the environmental exhibits for children teach them about conservation and the earth’s resources?
We offer a variety of exhibits to engage children of all ages. They are hands-on, interactive, educational and fun. This past fall, the Museum installed our newest exhibit, Bodyology, where kids can learn about their body as well as healthy eating habits and where food comes from.  Our TEP Electri-City exhibit has interactive displays on conservation and solar energy as well as information on energy savings associated with compact fluorescent bulbs.

3.    What other interactive exhibits are available?
Our Museum is filled with exhibits that engage your senses and contribute to a better understanding of the world our kids live in. In the Public Safety exhibit, kids can role-play on our police motorcycle (complete with lights and siren) or in the cab of our fire truck. Coming this spring, kids will have the chance to save lives in our life-sized ambulance. Other exhibits include the Pet Vet, Build it and Art Studio.

4.    How does the Museum build a sense of community in Tucson?
We develop community by hosting and creating events that are family-focused and encourage multi-generational play and learning experiences. We often offer reduced rates or free admission to make the Museum accessible to everyone in our community – we want to provide families the opportunity to spend quality time together. For schools, we have aligned our school tours with Arizona Academic Standards to complement classroom lessons and help raise money to provide free field trips to eligible schools.

5.    What makes the Museum different from other Arizona museums?
In Southern Arizona, the Children’s Museum Tucson is the only venue for family- focused, hands-on play and learning. Our Early Childhood Educational programming (Wee Play and Wee Move) is unique to the Museum and helps differentiate it from others in the state. Our focus is play and interaction. As we grow up, we sometimes forget that play is the job of childhood and critical to their healthy development. It is through play that children develop a spark for discovery and lifelong learning.

6.    What sustainable practices does the museum incorporate?
Here at the Museum, we recycle our paper products, including the scraps used by our visitors in our Art Studio, and make use of our recycled materials for many of our arts and crafts activities. Additionally, we minimize our utilities by using low-energy light bulbs and timed rheostats, and use programmable thermostats for our heating and cooling needs.

7.    How can the community become more involved with the Museum?
Becoming a member is a great way to support the Museum and stay up to date on our latest exhibits. There are volunteer opportunities, especially for youth age 15 and older, throughout the year, as well as two fundraisers—a Father’s Day weekend golf tournament and a grown-ups-only Evening of Play each fall.

8.    Which museum is your favorite and why?
A few years back, I visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago with my children and it was a terrific experience. We were there from open to close and still couldn’t see everything. Not only do I have fond memories of that visit, I am looking forward to returning again someday soon.

200 S 6th Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85701 
(520) 792-9985
Childrensmuseumtucson.org

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