New Director Plays Up Vision for Kids’ Museum

WHEELING — New director Terra Crews has a vision for the Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley that includes exploration and discovery stations that children experience on their own terms.

Crews, a Buckhannon, W.Va., native whose husband, Micah, is from Wheeling, came on board last Monday and said her first orders of business are to give the museum space at 1000 Main St. a thorough cleaning, clearing out and painting.

“We really want a fresh look,” she said.

The museum offers a variety of fun, hands-on, exploratory exhibits for local children, but she envisions installing

— a fidget wall with door knobs, locks, switches and buttons “to utilize those really fine motor skills and stay busy”;

— a sensory space with a variety of textured items, as well as sounds and smells “to encourage their senses to be invigorated”; and

— a music discovery center with all types of musical instruments they can freely explore, adding to the piano and organ already on site.

Crews studied elementary education at a master’s level and has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from West Virginia University. She worked at a youth center in Buckhannon as a teenager and beyond; she has run the after-school program at Wheeling Country Day School; and most recently, she taught Tinkergarten classes at Oglebay Park. Tinkergarten is an outdoor-play-based program for children 18 months to 8 years.

She also is the mother of three children, 2-year-old Foster, 4-year-old Harper and 5-year-old Cooper. Her husband took a job in Canonsburg, Pa., three years ago, “and we chose to live here because we have family here plus we love Wheeling,” she said.

Crews said she plans to keep many of the programs the museum has in place, including the Tot Time from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and the Girls Who Code for sixth-graders through seniors, as well as several summer camps with the option of half-day camps for younger children and full-day camps for older children.

In addition, she is planning two fundraisers in 2018: a children’s festival in downtown Wheeling and a circus-themed gala.

The nonprofit museum purchased a building on Market Street in Center Wheeling several years ago that Crews noted needs $1 million to $2 million to become fully operable.

“My focus is to work on what we have, use the space to the best of our ability, make it great, and make sure people understand the future and the plan for the museum,” Crews said.

“We are beyond thrilled to welcome Terra Crews as the newest member of the CMOV family. Terra brings enthusiasm and a whole new vision for the museum,” said Mimi Parsons, board member, former president and current secretary.

Anyone interested in learning more about Crews’ vision and how to help the museum is invited to a spring mixer at 6 p.m. March 22 at the museum. The adults-only event includes food and beverages from local businesses. To sign up to attend, email cmovmanager@ or call 304-214-5437.