The Rabbit hOle is an artist-driven non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of a new museum experience around literature. It began as the vision of Debbie Pettid and Pete Cowdin, co-owners and operators of Kansas City’s beloved Reading Reptile bookstore for nearly three decades.
In 2015, we began our perilous journey to create The World's First Explor-a-Storium, an immersive storybook wonderland and national center for the children's book.
From 2015-2017, The Rabbit hOle designed and built a series of full-scale exhibit prototypes to test future programming. In February 2018, The Rabbit hOle purchased a 165,000 sq/ft warehouse that will serve as our permanent home. Renovations and construction begins in early 2019 with the intent to celebrate our national grand opening .
The Rabbit hOle is in the vanguard of a growing number of arts organizations in the United States dedicated to providing multi-sensory immersive experiences and discoverable environments to a new generation of families and museum-goers eager for physical and social engagement.
In building the world’s first Explor-a-Storium, The Rabbit hOle will not only deliver Kansas City’s first truly immersive museum experience, it will bring national prominence to the city as a visionary center for children’s literature. Classic and contemporary works of children’s literature will be featured at The Rabbit hOle in breathtaking ways through a combination of narrative environments, immersive experiences, curated exhibits, and an evolving array of permanent exhibits throughout the space that will surprise and delight visitors of all ages.
The Rabbit hOle will house a print shop and bindery, a maker-space, a bookstore, a resource library, and a performance space. These essential program drivers will offer a rich spectrum of artistic and educational opportunities for all ages in areas of performance, maker workshops, writing and story labs, book-making, professional development for educators, and ongoing national author events and residencies.
The Rabbit hOle will be an economic driver drawing visitors to Kansas City from both regional and national markets while providing an invaluable, one-of-a-kind experience to thousands of families and educators across the metro.
Literacy is the foundation upon which our democracy is based. Accordingly, our success in work and life depends largely on the quality of our reading lives. The data bear this out. And yet we struggle as a country to address the persistent and malignant literacy gap that threatens the future of our children. Nor is it for a lack of concern or the efforts of many fine agencies to remediate the problem. Yet solving the problem lies well beyond the reach of remedial measures. It’s a cultural problem that demands our attention.
Besides libraries, where in our culture do we celebrate literature and the activity of reading? What places can we point to in our communities that reflect the importance of a literate commonwealth? Why are we relying on the allure of a slice of pizza to compel our children to read? We must take a stand on the side of success for all and begin investing in a culture of new and vibrant experiences around literature that validates the reading lives of our children.
The Rabbit hOle represents a new and larger way of thinking about literacy and our relationship with literature - a new way of engaging readers and non-readers alike, young and old, that will fuel the imagination and bring the joys of reading to life, literally. The Rabbit hOle will provide an invaluable and unprecedented resource for parents, educators, and children that will help create life-long readers and scaffold our efforts as a community to close the literacy gap.