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October 24, 2014

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Children’s museum plans for Smith Center expansion

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Justin M. Bowen

Taj Snavely plays with the bubble feature at Lied Children’s Museum Wednesday as the museum announced they will be relocating to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Lied Children's Museum Relocation

Steven Anderson, President of the Reynolds Foundation addresses the crowd during an announcement Wednesday that the Lied Children's Museum they will be relocating to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Launch slideshow »

Map of Smith Center for the Performing Arts

Smith Center for the Performing Arts

361 Symphony Park Ave Las Vegas, NV, Las Vegas

Beyond the Sun

As Myron Martin made a big announcement at the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum Wednesday morning, yards away, dozens of kids yelled and played, blowing giant bubbles or shopping in a fake grocery store.

Martin, who is president and CEO of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, was announcing the center would house the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum once the complex is complete in March 2012. The museum is currently at 833 Las Vegas Blvd. N., where officials discussed the new site during a Wednesday news conference.

The Smith Center and museum will be adjacent to Grand Central Parkway in downtown Las Vegas.

“The children’s museum exists to inspire kids. The Smith Center exists to inspire people of all ages,” Martin said. “I’m most excited about the synergies that are created.”

Martin said the Smith Center, which has been in development for more than 10 years, will be a world-class performing arts center. It will host plays, musical performances and other cultural events, officials said.

Once it relocates to Symphony Park with The Smith Center, the children's museum will be renamed the Discovery Children’s Museum, dropping the name of its previous donor.

Las Vegas is the largest U.S. city without a world-class performing arts center, Martin said.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said he thought the center would be an important contribution to the city’s cultural offerings, serving locals and fostering a sense of community.

“The city council had a vision,” he said. “We wanted to establish an area of the downtown that would be one for the ages.”

The museum will be located in what will be called the Donald W. Reynolds Discovery Center, named after the foundation that has donated more than $190 million to The Smith Center for development. The Discovery Center will cost $43 million, officials said.

“We think the children’s museum rounds out the cultural offerings of the entire complex,” said Steven Anderson, president of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

Linda Quinn, executive director of the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum, said she was excited to work with The Smith Center’s organizers. She said she envisions an area where people who go to see a play will wander into the museum to explore exhibits.

“It really provides a lot of opportunity for families,” Quinn said.

Martin said he hoped The Smith Center’s education team would be able to work closely with the museum to provide unique programming.

“Education is in our DNA at The Smith Center,” Martin said. “It really does matter to us.”

Quinn said the new space comes at an opportune time. In 2006, she said, the museum had about 80,000 visitors -- a number that has continued to increase.

The extra space will not only allow for more visitors, she said, but the three-story, 58,000-square-foot building also will allow for nine distinct exhibit spaces. The current museum is 35,000 square feet with two exhibit spaces, she said.

The Smith Center is a public-private partnership, with about half of the money coming from public funds, Martin said.

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