Children’s Museum Isn’t Playing Around with Install and Renovation

Light streams through the papered-off front doors of the La Habra Children’s Museum as it undergoes dual projects: renovation and the installation of a new exhibit, Destination: Space. Lisa Reckon is the woman pressing all the buttons, making sure the La Habra Children’s Museum reopens on time with a stunning new exhibit to showcase, as well. Established in 1920 as a train station, then converted to a museum in 1977, the La Habra Children’s Museum is a landmark, and Reckon has been with the Museum for 14 years, spearheading the creative drive of the museum staff.

“The most interesting thing about this museum is that it is small and underfunded, but we have a creative and enthusiastic staff who can create nationally recognized exhibits out of thin air.” Reckon comments.

The museum staff only has five weeks to renovate and install its new exhibit, so Reckon is on the clock every day during those five weeks at 7 a.m., with a whiteboard checklist full of tasks to accomplish before the day’s end.

“The best part of this job,” Reckon says, “is the freedom I have. It’s completely up to me about what to do for an exhibit, and the staff trust me to come up with something good, and I have trust in myself that I will do a good job. If I weren’t here,” she continues, “there is nobody else who can do what I do.”

On the off-season, in between installation of exhibits, Reckon is building, planning, funding, designing, and shopping for exhibits as far into the future as five years.

“Every year, our hope is to improve the museum, not just to maintain a certain standard, but to move that much closer to a higher standard.” Reckon says.

The La Habra Children’s Museum reopens on Sep. 20, with its new exhibit, Destination: Space running through March 8.