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Oneida County funds exhibit at new Utica Children’s Museum

By Traci DeLore (


Oneida County has awarded $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to the Utica Children’s Museum for construction of a climber exhibit, depicted in this rendering, in the new museum set to open later this year. (RENDERING CREDIT: ONEIDA COUNTY GOVERNMENT)

UTICA, N.Y. — Oneida County recently awarded $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to the Utica Children’s Museum to construct a climber exhibit in its soon-to-be-completed new facility on the Memorial Parkway.

“The climber exhibit will be the signature feature of the new Children’s Museum rotunda,” Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. said in a news release. “It’s the first thing visitors will see when they enter, creating a wall of fun adjacent to the main staircase, and it will also be seen from the outside, signaling to passersby the spirit of adventure that awaits inside. Oneida County is proud to provide this attraction at what will become a premiere destination for local families, schools, and tourists alike.”

At 30 feet long and 16 feet high, the climber will provide children with a variety of physical challenges and safe risk-taking opportunities such as navigating up and down a series of ramps, platforms, and curves, and climbing up and reaching two lookout nests at the top. It’s designed to assist in developing gross motor skills and building a sense of understanding and confidence in their physical capabilities.

“We are so thrilled and grateful to receive this funding from Oneida County,” Meghan Fraser McGrogan, the museum’s interim director, said in the release. “This demonstrates the county’s commitment as a true partner as we work to build our all-new Utica Children’s Museum. We look forward to continuing to work together to make Oneida County a great place for families.”

The former museum location on Main Street in Utica closed in 2020, and the new facility is being built at the corner of Holland Avenue and Memorial Parkway. Gallery and exhibit design and fabrication are currently in progress and the new Utica Children’s Museum is expected to open later this year. It is part of a larger project of the nonprofit Integrated Community Alternatives Network (ICAN) to develop a family resource center that houses ICAN family-based programs, a community room available for other organizations, and the museum.   

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