Wegmans lands in the Smithsonian
Wegmans has funded the first National Mall exhibit tailored for children 6 and younger at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
Wegmans Wonderplace, unveiled last week, is located at the National Museum of American History’s new Innovation Wing.
The exhibit, measuring 1,700-square-feet, features six sections, each with hands-on, play-based interdisciplinary activities. The sections include: the Farm, the Kitchen, the Port, the Construction Site, the Gallery and the Smithsonian Castle.
Portions of the exhibit embrace a farm-to-table theme, including the Kitchen section where a miniature model of Julia Child’s kitchen encourages kids to cook with pint-sized pots and pans. In the Farm section, kids "find the animals" among the weathervanes, milk bottles, farm toys and lunch boxes while planting and harvesting pretend vegetables.
The more than 100 objects displayed around "Wonderplace" are also designed to stimulate early learners’ interest in museums and American history to support the Smithsonian’s mission. It’s the only exhibit at the National Mall aimed at those six and under and the only one where individuals can touch the items. Wegmans Wonderplace is designed to demonstrate the importance of physical interaction in early learning and brain development. John Grey, director of the National Museum of American History, told the Democrat & Chronicle, "Here they play, they touch, they learn.’
Photo: The National Museum of American History
Wegmans underwrote the $1.5 million cost of the exhibit as part of an overall 20-year commitment and will usher in the supermarket chain’s 100th-year anniversary in 2016, as well. Wegmans has been opening stores in the Washington D.C. area.
"Wegmans’ mission is to help our customers live healthier, better lives, and that begins with children," said Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman in a statement. "Having fun through play is the best way to inspire children to learn."
Wegmans is also supporting the Smithsonian’s new demonstration kitchen in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza.
- Wegmans Wonderplace – The National Museum of American History
- Wegmans Gives $1.5 Million To Support New Early Childhood Learning Space at the Smithsonian – Smithsonian/Wegmans
- Wegmans opens 1st National Mall exhibit for young kids – Democrat & Chronicle
- Wegmans opens Wonderplace at National Museum of American History – The Post-Standard
Does Wegmans gain much of a business benefit from the opening of Wegmans Wonderplace? Do you see the benefit as largely consumer goodwill, or is it more beneficial to branding, employee morale or other areas?