A NEW MUSEUM EXPERIENCE...
that will celebrate and bring to life a century of American children's literature for visitors of all ages. The Rabbit hOle will be the first museum of its kind in the United States. The museum is projected to open in 2023.
To create a living culture around literature, accessible to all, that will nourish, empower, and inspire the reading lives of children and adults.
THE WORLD'S FIRST EXPLOR-A-STORIUM
Spanning three floors, the Rabbit hOle’s Explor-a-Storium will bring countless works of children’s literature to life. Visitors will become explorers in an immersive, multi-sensory, narrative landscape filled with discoverable environments. Within this radical literary wonderland, you can catch a ride with Nana and CJ on the bus to the Last Stop on Market Street; whisper “Goodnight Moon” in the quiet dark of the great green room; outshine Mr. Sun with Sam and the Tigers; feed jum-jills to The Funny Thing, or find yourself scaling the cliffs of My Father’s Dragon.
In support of the Explor-a-Storium, The Rabbit hOle will also house a letterpress printshop and story lab, a full-service bookstore, a makerspace, a resource library and reading room, and a traditional gallery space. These critical program drivers will deliver innovative programming for children and adults, including book-making workshops, writing labs, professional opportunities for educators, exhibit-related performances, national and local author events, residencies, and a multitude of hands-on, literature-based art making activities.
IMPACT / OUTREACH
Museums have always played a vital role in the transmission of stories that help us gain a better understanding of who we are, where we come from, and what lies ahead. The best museums do this in ways that encompass a diversity of voices and perspectives. We want all young people to see themselves inside the museum. We want them to discover their own stories and find their own voices. We want to support them with the tools and the confidence to reimagine themselves in the world in a future of their own making. By inviting young people to actively explore and participate in stories, engage in new ideas, and learn about themselves and others, The Rabbit hOle will build on the power of books to facilitate empathy and critical thinking.
In addition to regularly scheduled free family nights, The Rabbit hOle will participate in the IMLS “Museums for All” initiative, offering free and reduced admission to low-income families. Traveling exhibits, sponsored field trip opportunities for Title 1 schools, and extensive collaborative programming with our many community partners including the Kansas City Public Library, the Johnson County Public Library, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, North Kansas City Schools, Operation Breakthrough, Turn the Page, and Lead to Read will ensure that access to the museum and its programming reaches underserved populations across the region.
RABBIT HOLE TIMELINE
The Reading Reptile, an independent children's bookstore, owned by Pete Cowdin and Deb Pettid, operates in the Kansas City neighborhoods of Westport and Brookside for 28 weird and wonderful years. Well known for it's off-beat author events and whimsical ever-evolving interior, The Reptile receives national acclaim and a cult following.
1988 - 2015
The Rabbit hOle sets up a temporary shop in the Crossroads Arts District, where we develop our concept, conduct fundraising activities, and design and execute a series of full-scale exhibit prototypes to test future educational programming.
The Rabbit hOle designs and constructs an immersive exhibit based on Jon Agee’s The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau. Rabbit hOle artists and volunteers construct the exhibit and over 3,400 people visit the immersive in a 6 week period of time.
The Rabbit hOle's first Outreach Pop-up prototype is built, based on Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants. The mobile exhibit is deployed beginning in February of 2016. Schools and libraries around the Metro host the pop-up for one-week visits. Over 13,000 students (grades K - 6) engage the pop-up in meaningful ways facilitated by their classroom teachers and librarians.
2016 - 2017
The Rabbit hOle partners with the Kansas City Public Library and Crossroads Academy to produce LitFestKC, a city-wide literature festival featuring Jon Scieszka, Sophie Blackall, Brian Selznick, Javaka Steptoe, John Bemelmans Marciano, Nina Crews, and Shane Evans. Modeled after the Reading Reptile's long running Children's Literature Festival, LitFestKC attracts more than 1,300 students and 200 educators from across the Metro and serves as a prototype for future Rabbit hOle festivals.
The Rabbit hole purchases a 165,000 sq ft building in North Kansas City, moves into a temporary workshop and secures an architect of record. Demolition and RAB FAB construction begin.
Staff moves into a permanent home at RAB FAB, where we continue capital fundraising efforts, host events, and design exhibits. We engage J.E. Dunn and launch the first two (of three) major construction packages inside the museum. We secure rights and permissions for more than 50 books for exhibition.
COVID-19 strikes. We pour ourselves a stiff drink and prepare to pivot. We postpone the third phase of building construction, and ramp up exhibit production instead. We successfully retain our entire pre- COVID staff and continue growing our creative team. Full steam ahead!
We continue to build and design exhibits and acquire rights and permissions to more than 70 books for exhibition. We continue to expand our staff and prepare to welcome visitors to The Rabbit hOle in 12-18 months!