At 40, A New Lease On Life For Please Touch Museum


Fairmount Park’s Please Touch Museum celebrated its 40th anniversary yesterday. | Photo: Emma Lee, for WHYY

Fairmount Park’s Please Touch Museum celebrated its 40th anniversary yesterday. | Photo: Emma Lee, for WHYY

  • The Please Touch Museum celebrated the start of a 40th birthday celebration that felt more like a rebirth, says NewsWorks’ Avi Wolfman-Arent. Former CEO (1988-2008) Nancy Kolb reviews the difficulties of the last 25 years, from the initial decision to find a new space in which to grow the children’s museum, to raising the necessary funds, renovating and moving into Memorial Hall, only to slip into bankruptcy and begin the philanthropist chase anew. Having just emerged from those precarious financial straits in March, the museum’s current CEO Patricia Wellenbach outlines a course forward that seeks to further innovate upon early childhood education.
  • In Brewerytown, Inga Saffron considers the architectural chops of the one relatively intact complex that contributed to that neighborhood’s name: F.A. Poth Brewing Company’s cold-storage house at 31st & Jefferson Streets. “What exists today has a classic, symmetrical organization, with a five-story central hall flanked by three-story wings.” Noted brewery architect Otto C. Wolf took “pains to emphasize the central portion’s verticality, using arched windows on the upper floors to command the eye upward.”
  • Ten million dollars from Harrisburg’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program has been added to PREIT and Macerich’s funds for the Gallery at Market East. This will be used towards façade work, reports the Business Journal’s Natalie Kostelni, as well as “interior renovations that include the installation of new mechanical systems and the replacement of escalators and elevators.”
  • Valerie Russ at the the Daily News highlights Fox Chase community activist Jean Gavin’s 1,362-signature petition to have sidewalks constructed along the 7700 block of Oxford Avenue, where it curves around a bend of rail tracks. The unnerving stretch of roadway has long compelled pedestrians to seek redress from Councilman Brian O’Neill, who says the installation of sidewalks would be the responsibility of SEPTA or PennDOT, who in turn point out that “sidewalks are a municipal responsibility even if the street is a state road.”
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

Send a message!


  1. Considering Wei is the same developer who bought the Church of the Assumption years ago doesn’t augur well for the old Poth brewery.

  2. Both SEPTA and PENNDOT are not responsible for building sidewalks on Oxford Ave as this is the city’s job to do. Brain O’Neill should know that himself as councilman and long time advocate of zoning. It is his job to insert money in the capital plan for such construction and to ask Streets Department to draw plans for sidewalk. Ideally, we would want to work on the existing partial sidewalk that runs along the apartment house and expand it to cross the tracks and further on to the next street. The other side can be started once we determine how much land we own to install the sidewalk.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Reaching For The Heavens At Cret's Tower Of Chimes

Reaching For The Heavens At Cret’s Tower Of Chimes

May 26, 2017  |  Vantage

Turn a corner in Philadelphia and you will eventually run into a building or bridge designed by Paul Phillipe Cret. Celebrated for his broad, arched infrastructure and Neoclassical landmarks, not much is discussed of his cemetery architecture. Contributor Brian Horne takes a trip out to Montgomery County where a 172-foot tower designed by Cret sends a memorial park reaching towards the sky > more

Rediscovering The Dead Fleet Of The Delaware River

Rediscovering The Dead Fleet Of The Delaware River

May 23, 2017  |  Vantage

The ships of the "Dead Fleet" at Pier 78 rise at low tide from their watery graves in the Delaware River. It's a curious sight, recalling a time when the riverbanks thrummed with a booming maritime industry. Philadelphia shipping historian Robert McNulty takes us on a salty voyage to uncover the backstory of South Philadelphia's ghost ship graveyard > more

Building A Better Future With Bright Common

Building A Better Future With Bright Common

May 19, 2017  |  Vantage

Hidden City editor Michael Bixler catches up with sustainable architect Jeremy Avellino to talk climate change, deep energy retrofits, and the power of passive house building. > more

Restoration Project Gives New Life To Ben Franklin's Grave

Restoration Project Gives New Life To Ben Franklin’s Grave

May 17, 2017  |  News

Benjamin Franklin's tombstone gets some desperately needed TLC. Tyler Horst has the story > more

Summoning The Spirit Of A Victorian Masterpiece

Summoning The Spirit Of A Victorian Masterpiece

May 15, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

Gone, but not forgotten. The Shadow channels the ghost of the Henry J. Morton Guild House, a beautiful Victorian hall designed by famed Philadelphia architects Wilson Brothers & Company > more

The Making (And Marketing) Of The Modern Gayborhood

The Making (And Marketing) Of The Modern Gayborhood

May 12, 2017  |  Vantage

Contributor Kelson Northeimer takes a look at the history of the Gayborhood and its cultural transformation through lifestyle marketing and gentrification > more