Friday Fiver: Nichole Myles

nichole mylesIf you’ve got a child 10 or under in your life and haven’t been to the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, you are missing out. If you have a child 10 or under in your life and have been to the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, you are probably ready to plan your next visit. The CML brings hands-on, interactive learning experience for kids in an exciting and vibrant setting. We sat down with Nichole Myles, who took over as the Executive Director for CML in July, for this week’s Friday Fiver.

What would most surprise a first-time visitor to the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry?

There are so many wonderful surprises at CML but I think one of the most remarkable new additions is the Odeith mural in our lobby.  This large-scale original painting was custom created for us by mural artist Odeith this October and utilizes his signature 3D anamorphic art technique. Visitors are encouraged to ‘step inside the painting’ by actually standing on the painted floor. When a photo is snapped from an opposing corner, it looks like the participant is actually in a 3D environment, holding a giant Rubik’s cube!

You recently launched a program called Museums for All, in which a family on public assistance can be admitted to the museum for $1. Why is it important to make sure the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is accessible to everyone in the community?

The Children’s Museum has a mission of reaching all children and providing them with opportunities that inspire curiosity and spark imagination. We firmly believe that children are capable, creative and full of promise and that each of them should have access to the valuable play-based experiences we offer. To that end, we have joined the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) and the Association of Children’s Museums in offering $1 admission for up to 6 people for any family that receives SNAP/TANF benefits when they present their card at the CML desk. This program breaks down barriers of cost AND time by being in place every day that the museum is open. We are very proud of our free admission programs such as PNC Play Days and Fam Jam but the Museums for All program is unique in that it allows year-round access during any of our open hours. This program brings unrestricted opportunities for PLAY to the entire community and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

The arts are a major component of the CML, with lots of hands-on learning experiences for children. What is one of your favorite arts components of the CML?

That’s a tough question! I get such joy out of watching the children in each of our 9 arts exhibit explore, create and discover. Still, I think seeing the children engage in dramatic play, storytelling and puppets in the castle is always a highlight!  Their imaginations really seem to come to life in that space.

Prior to moving to Charleston, you spent time in New Hampshire, Iowa, and Maine. What has been the biggest adjustment living in the Lowcountry?

Short sleeves on the first day of December! Honestly, I am really enjoying the Lowcountry but probably the biggest adjustment has to be the distance from my family and friends.

What is your favorite way to unwind on a day off?

I tend to have a bit of wanderlust…so exploring all Charleston has to offer with my kids is a great way to spend any free time. We love downtown and the beach best at the moment. I have a degree in music and really enjoy live music – I’m hoping to get back to more playing/performing again someday.  I also enjoy creative arts/crafts activities, which are especially fun this time of year.

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