Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum

Spotlight On: The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum

Anytime someone visits from outside of Northeast Louisiana, I recommend they visit the places that make our community unique. What could be more unique than a huge purple building right in the middle of Monroe? Big Purple Museum

This very special place is the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum (NELACM), and it has quickly become essential in developing the core skills of Monroe’s children. The museum employs the most caring staff members, who pride themselves in awakening the creativity within our youth.

This building holds the key to unlocking dreams. The museum is a kid’s oasis. It’s filled with activities that awaken curiosities that can lead many children toward their purpose. I bet you did not think something like this could exist in little ole Monroe, Louisiana!

History of the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum 

The mission of the children’s museum is to provide a hands-on learning facility that is safe, educational, and imaginative. NELACM was founded on the concept of creating new ways of teaching children how to use their minds.

The Ouachita Medical Alliance Society sponsored NELACM’s outreach program prior to opening. This allowed the museum team to properly introduce the idea of a children’s museum to the region.

The museum opened in August of 1998 in its current location. It opened with only 12 interactive exhibits, but they were able to reach 15,000 children, parents, and teachers within their first year of operation.

NELACM was able to add a second outreach program, The Earth Balloon, in 2008 with the help of CenturyLink. The Earth Balloon program allows museum staff to visit schools across the state and educate school children about planet Earth.

The addition of The Earth Balloon allowed them to expand tremendously. The museum began receiving an increase of visitors from Mississippi and Arkansas.  They eventually doubled in size in 2004 to 10,000 square feet. The expansion allowed for additional permanent exhibits to be housed in the space.

Today, the museum sees over 50,000 visitors a year and is always striving to add to its lineup of programs and exhibits! The permanent exhibits include The Firehouse, Health Hall, Toddlertown, Kids’ Café, Bubbleworks, and The Big Mouth. NELACM also hosts an array of traveling exhibits from across the United States that are featured throughout the year.

Beloved by the Community

There are many reasons why the museum has been so successful since it opened its doors. Interactive and engaging programs, such as summer camps, and outdoor movie nights have kept visitors from Monroe and all across the region coming back year after year.

The annual Santa’s Christmas Village event is a community favorite! The entire museum transforms into a winter wonderland.

Visitors get to enjoy holiday crafts, ice skating, story time with Mrs. Claus, the Peppermint Post Office, and visits with Santa. The overwhelming amount of joy and happiness felt at this event showcases why the museum is valuable in the community.

Their outreach has expanded to allow other community businesses and organizations to contribute toward the museum’s mission.
The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum operates as not-for-profit organization. It relies on the generosity of the community for private and public contributions.

Pelican is proud to partner with NELACM. The museum helped us show Monroe residents all the ways that Pelican Pays! The Pelican team was able to contribute to NELACM’s commitment to the community by hosting a Pelican Pays event and covering the admission fee of individuals visiting that day. Pelican team members also regularly visit the museum to teach financial wellness to kids!

The Future Is Bright

I am fortunate to have the inside scoop on the future of the museum. I serve on their Board of Directors and Advisory Board Committee, and we are in the process of fundraising for a new museum!

The Founder and Director Melissa Saye has played a critical role in growing NELACM to its current status. The museum team is working with the City of Monroe to plan the building and relocation of NELACM to historic Forsythe Park.  The relocation has  always been a goal of their team and would help strengthen the region and community. Growing and thriving has been a central focus of the City of Monroe, and we are super excited to see the museum be part of that growth.

Melissa Saye

Don’t forget to stop by Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum if you’re ever in Monroe. Ask for Melissa when you stop in, so she can take you on a tour. You would be amazed by her dedication to the museum and her commitment to creating memorable experiences to all who visit.

Let her know James from Pelican sent you over!

You can always find out about upcoming events and make donations by visiting their website. The Big Purple Box of Fun is located at 323 Walnut Street in Monroe.

Have you ever been to the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum? Let us know what your favorite exhibit is below!

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