Baby dolls were lining up for their check-ups this afternoon at the ribbon cutting for the newly remodeled Doll Hospital at The Building for Kids Children’s Museum in Appleton. This year marks the 10th anniversary for ThedaCare’s sponsorship of the exhibit.
“The hospital has been there since 2006,” says Megan Mulholland, a spokesperson for ThedaCare. “But it needed to be renovated and updated, especially with our new logo. It had been well-loved and well used by the children of Northeast Wisconsin, and we needed to give it some TLC, too.”
And well loved it will be. Children have been fulfilling their duties as doctors, nurses and even radiologists since this past weekend with the soft opening of the hospital. The grand opening took place this afternoon. According to Katy Compton, marketing and communications specialist for The Building for Kids, “There were a couple of kids still playing even as all of the adults (members of the Chamber of Commerce) were filtering in for the ribbon cutting.”
It didn’t take long after the Chamber members left before the little ones were back to work. “It’s like you’re taking actual care of the baby,” shares Sophia, 9, as she used a stethoscope on a doll. “If you want to be a doctor or something, you could just practice here.”
In a press release about the exhibit, Dr. Kenneth Branstetter, a pediatrician with ThedaCare Physicians-Pediatrics in Neenah says something similar, “Pretend play encourages problem solving, and if children are playing with others it builds social and emotional skills. Their language grows because a doctor or nurse speaks differently than a teacher or a storekeeper. Kids can be anything they want by just pretending.”
And pretending is exactly what The Building for Kids is about. With around 2,200 people visiting each weekend during their busy season, the museum is due for some remodeling. The Doll Hospital isn’t the only exhibit it’s looking to expand, says Compton. “Our 25th anniversary is coming up this fall, so we’re updating and renovating just about everything at this moment.” That includes the addition of a brand-new Pierce fire truck, an update to the Happy Baby Garden and the insertion of simulators into the Gulfstream Aircraft.
For more information, visit buildingforkids.org.