Dr. Seuss Foundation Funds Phase One Of Ted’s House And Innovation Center

Dr. Seuss Foundation Funds Phase One of Ted’s House and Innovation Center

Ted’s House will add yet another reason for visitors to travel to Springfield to see the beloved author’s home town. —Kay Simpson, CEO and President of the Springfield Museums

Springfield (MA)—The Springfield Museums is overjoyed to announce that the Dr. Seuss Foundation has granted the Museums a major gift to begin Phase One of the Ted’s House and Innovation Center project—a rehabilitation of the childhood home of Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, into a museum. The project will be accomplished over the next five years in four phases.

“Ted’s House will add yet another reason for visitors to travel to Springfield to see the beloved author’s home town,” said Kay Simpson, CEO and President of the Springfield Museums. “We are deeply grateful to the Dr. Seuss Foundation for helping us make our vision of a house museum dedicated to Dr. Seuss a reality.”

And Ted’s House and Innovation Center will not be just another house museum—first and foremost because the person who grew up there became Dr. Seuss—the beloved author/illustrator who revolutionized learning to read by making it FUN. Unlike other house museums the focus will not be on furniture or artifacts, but on family, community, and environments of innovation and creativity.

“Ted’s House will honor the legacy of Dr. Seuss as an innovator who believed in the intelligence of children,” said Karen Fisk, Director of Marketing and Communication Strategy at the Museums and project director for Ted’s House.

The house will use multimedia, multi-lingual resources to help visitors engage in an entertaining and exciting exploration of Ted Geisel’s childhood, his home and neighborhood, and the many influences Springfield may have had on his art and writing. The Innovation Center will serve as an incubation and education space for literacy, art, and writing initiatives that might grow to be as influential as Dr. Seuss’s work.

Phase One of the project will get the house renovated and updated for electricity and energy efficiency, Fisk said. The Museums will also return a number of the rooms in 74 Fairfield Street to the period Ted lived there. “It will be as if you walked back into the early 1900s,” Fisk said.

Phase Two will add the house museum interactives and allow Ted’s House to open to the public. Visits will be limited to Friday through Sunday by tour only in vans originating at the Springfield Museums. “We want to be respectful of the impact to the neighborhood,” Fisk said. Phase Three and Phase Four will see the Innovation Center and an artist/author in residence settled in the house.

The Museums are working together with many partners to realize the vision of Ted’s House and Innovation Center. In addition to the Dr. Seuss Foundation and Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the Museums are working with The City of Springfield, the Historical Commission of the City of Springfield, the Fairfield Street neighborhood, Forest Park, the Springfield Garden Club, the Forest Park Civic Association, Springfield Libraries, The Drama Studio, Springfield Schools, the University of Massachusetts Amherst History Department, Public History Program, and the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity—who will facilitate a volunteer day to help with painting the house.

The Springfield Museums hope that Ted’s House and Innovation Center will be a hub of creativity that people travel to from all over the world to experience. “We hope the activities presented in Ted’s House will help people think in transformative ways,” said Simpson. “We hope our visitors will contemplate how genius develops with the support of family, friends, and a neighborhood that both cares and is enlivened by activity.”

SUMMARY OF THE VISION FOR TED’S HOUSE AND INNOVATION CENTER

Ted’s House and Innovation Center will preserve and interpret Theodor Seuss Geisel’s childhood home; promote vibrant discussion of his life, work, and historical circumstances; and inspire commitment to the powerful notion that creativity is transformational—and FUN. The experience in Ted’s House will be an extension of visitor’s experiences in The Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden and at The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum.

Available by tour and reservation only, Ted’s House and Innovation Center will be a house museum and education workshop space administered by the Springfield Museums. Unlike other house museums that preserve the material culture of their inhabitants, the main focus of Ted’s House will be the many ways Ted’s time in Springfield may have influenced his creativity. The main focus of the Innovation Center will be exploring ways of learning and teaching that are fun.

If you are interested in donating to this project, please email us at kfisk@springfieldmuseums.org.