NORWALK -- "Like all young parents, I was out and about with two very small toddlers looking for quality experiences," said Gigi Priebe of New Canaan, of the start of an amazing eight-year journey to spearhead the creation of Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, a haven for hands-on, experiential learning.
"The idea is to nurture curiosity in an environment where it’s safe to explore," she said.
Nearly 18 years later, the museum sees an astounding 250-thousand visitors a year. Parents and caregivers flourish there, too.
"If they’re paying attention, they can learn a lot about how their child chooses to learn, chooses to interact with the exhibits, experiences, other children," said Priebe. Now, she is embarking on a new project involving families. Her first children's book was recently published. It's called The Adventures of Henry Whiskers.
"The book and the museum aren’t too different from another," said Priebe. "Each invites a child to enter its world on their terms, in their pace, however they want."
She and her family lived in England for two years, near Windsor Castle. This mom-of-three was inspired by Queen Mary's Dolls' House, an intricate exhibit for displaying mini collectibles.
"It’s got hot and cold running water, it’s got grandfather clocks that chime," says Priebe. "It’s an excellent place for a mouse family to call home."
The main character, Henry, is forced out of his comfort zone to help his sister. Priebe is writing more Henry Whiskers books, continuing her mission to help kids grow, ask questions and love to learn.
"In the best of both worlds, this museum will continue for years to come and so will The Adventures of Henry Whiskers," says Priebe. "And both will touch lives in who knows how many countless ways. That would be a pretty nice thing."