It seems we may have been more than a little gullible in accepting the museum's claim at face value. A post to my blog from yellow dog democrat directed me to an article in Friday's Chicago Sun-Times in which writer Delia O'Hara deconstructs the CCM's inflated sense of self-importance as
"some cultural temple our city's children must experience to claim a complete childhood."O'Hara notes that the CCM has higher admission fees than either of those institutions, but "books one unimaginative commercial traveling exhibit after another, often with licensed characters children are expected to recognize from television."
"The Chicago area has three major children's museums. The DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville and the Kohl Children's Museum in Glenview leave the Chicago museum in the dust."
O'Hara concludes that as "9 percent of Chicago's land is held in parks, less than half that in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco or Boston," it isn't a bunkered, parkland-grabbing CCM that children need. "They need safe, well-maintained, accessible spaces for play they direct themselves. These spaces don't have to be Disneyland. A nice park will do. Let's make a commitment now not to give away any more parkland." Read the full article here.
And if that isn't enough of a blow to CCM's pretensions, another voice is saying the real world-class children's museum in Illinois isn't in the Chicago area at all, but in Rockford.
The child-haters at Parents Magazine rank the CCM in 31st place in a list of America's top 50 children's museums, miles behind the Discovery Center in Rockford, which comes in 5th, the Exploration Station, Bourbonnais, at 15th, and the Children's Museum of Illinois in Decatur, at 23. Indianapolis's Children's Museum tops the list. Read the full Parents Magazine story here.
The Indianapolis museum, the largest in the survey, has 365,000 square feet of exhibits. The proposed CCM building will have 100,000. Which raises still another troubling question: how long will it before the aggressively expansionist CCM returns to the well, with demands to gobble up more and more parkland as it continues to grow?