Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, California

The Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo were created in 1934 during the Great Depression in the United States. Palo Alto resident Josephine O’Hara proposed that the community create a small museum to occupy the area’s young children during a time of great poverty. Her idea immediately caught public support.

Today the Children’s Museum is a hive of excitement with a solar system exhibition and an upcoming dinosaur garden. An addition currently being enjoyed by visitors is several musical instruments from Percussion Play.

As a museum with hands-on exhibits, the instruments were a perfect fit. Exhibits Director Tina Keegan is in charge of the design and was pleased to come across Percussion Play when looking for something for a new exhibit room.

Tina says, “I wanted something that I didn’t have to design and would come quickly but importantly provide a hands-on experience for visitors. I thought Percussion Play’s instruments looked well-designed, sturdy, and beautiful with a nice variety of sizes.”

Currently, the instruments are inside the museum, but they plan to move them outside at a later date when they change exhibits. Harmony Flowers feature alongside the Rainbow Trio Ensemble, which includes Rainbow Bongos, Rainbow Metallophone, and Rainbow Chimes.

Tina says, “At first, our staff were nervous as they thought it would be really loud inside. But we had an acoustic carpet fitted to the walls, and even if the children are all playing at once, it all sounds so nice- a beautiful sound comes out of the room. We have parents joining in too; it’s great for all ages and abilities”.

The museum regularly has visitors with disabilities who benefit from using the instruments too. Being easily accessible, they are a perfect fit for the museum, which has expanded and changed significantly since The Great Depression. We wonder what Josephine O’Hara would think of the museum today!