About

At Kidzu —make, build, explore and learn— an adventurous expanded Museum experience for age infant to tween. Kidzu’s new 8,500 square foot space is multi-sensory, play-centered, and focused on providing area children and their families, teachers, and caregivers an ever-changing menu of exhibits and programs that inspire creativity, collaboration and community. Kidzu Children’s Museum is a hands-on museum dedicated to inspiring young children and the adults in their lives to learn through purposeful play. We are planning to expand to a much larger site in the next few years. Read on to learn more about where we’ve been, what we’re up to, and where we’re headed.

Our Team

Jamie DeMent Holcomb

Interim Executive Director

Jamie DeMent Holcomb is the former Chair of the Board at Kidzu and is currently serving as the museum’s Interim Executive Director. She is a native North Carolinian with years of experience in museums, non-profits, fundraising and organic farming.  Jamie completed her degree as a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Greg Dills

Development Director

Greg Dills is an Oregon native with a development background in a nonprofit museum setting. He is also passionate about hands-on farm and garden programs, and has a degree in Music Industry Studies from California State University, Northridge.

Melanie Hatz Levinson

Creative Director

Melanie Hatz Levinson joined Kidzu in 2007 and has overseen the museum’s expansion from a 2000 to 10,000 SF facility. She received her BA in Art History from the University of Michigan, and holds graduate degrees in Art History and Archaeology from Columbia University and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Kailey Singleton

Visitor Services + Membership Director

Kailey Singleton has over 8 years experience working with adults and children with special needs and worked as a vocational specialist. She’s also volunteered for over 4 years at a therapeutic horseback riding program. She has been with Kidzu since August 2015.

Christy Parrish

Program Manager

Christy has a diverse background in the non-profit and corporate worlds. She has been working with children and families for over 12 years. She has a BA in International Studies from UNC. When she’s not engaging young minds at Kidzu, she spends her free time at the beach.

Sabrina Varney

Administrative + Special Projects Manager

Sabrina has served in multiple capacities with Kidzu since 2013. She has a BS from UNC and previous non-profit experience working with children. In her free time, she plays volleyball and tackles home improvement projects.

Hannah Stewart

Lead Designer Exhibits + Graphics

Hannah joined the team in 2019 but has volunteered since 2017. She has educational design experience from interning at the NCMA and as an international teacher in Thailand. Hannah has a BFA from East Carolina and recently finished her masters in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Vanessa Rivero

Grant Manager

Vanessa has been a part of Kidzu since 2018. She holds a MPH from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health with a concentration in Maternal, Child, and Family Health.

Merisa Tomczak

Visitor Services & Database Coordinator

Merisa is a professional archivist with a Masters’s of Science degree in Library and Information Science from UNC. She has applied her records management proficiency to a variety of development and communications needs at Kidzu since 2019.

Allie Lee

Outdoor Learning Coordinator

Allie has been a part of the Kidzu educational team since 2019. Previously, she worked for seven years in education and programs at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Victoria in her home province of British Columbia.

Alison Davis

Field Trip Coordinator

Alison joined the Kidzu team in August 2019 after teaching in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School system for 5 years. Alison has a BS in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University and coordinates all field trips and School’s Out Camps at Kidzu.

Darien Cropper

Program + Communications Coordinator

Darien studied Anthropology, Art History, and Museum Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Since 2015, she has worked in a variety of museums and art studios with an emphasis on programming for children. Darien joined the Kidzu family in 2019.

Isabel Hutchens - LaPrelle

Makery Coordinator

Isabel has been crafting, gardening, and doing science experiments with kids for the past 10 yers, and at Kidzu since 2016. She has a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and American Studies from UNC, Chapel Hill. 

Our Board of Directors

The Kidzu Board of Directors is a volunteer group of experts from the business, education, legal, development and non profit communities. The Board of Directors meets once a month and the Board Committees meet various times throughout the year.

For more information on the Kidzu Board please contact Interim Executive Director, Jamie DeMent Holcomb.

Jon Mills, Co-Chair | Mary Stowe, Co-Chair | Jeffrey Fischer, Vice Chair
Judy Jones, Secretary | Delores Bailey, Treasurer

Jennifer Jackson, Member-at-Large
Betsy Bennett, Past Co-Chair
Roberto Blanco, MD
Lorna Chafe
Charles Coble
Elaine Foster
Emily Gangi
Pat Heinrich
Dianne Jackson
Mark Kleinschmidt
Will Lloyd
Emily Newman
Lisa Price, Past Co-Chair
Ed Spence, MD
Ellen Stolzman
Mary Stowe
Pam Zornick

Museum Circle Members

The Kidzu Museum Circle is a group of valued community members advising and supporting Kidzu as we work to enhance learning through play and make sure we have a “museum for all” for our community. We couldn’t do this work without their support. Please contact Development Director Greg Dills with any questions.

Lisa Price, Chair
Abdullah & Asuman Antepli
Todd Boyette
Ken & Margie Broun
D.R. & Fran Bryan
Woodrow & Catharine Burns
Anthony Carey
Moses Carey & Peggy Richmond
Bill Chafe
Maggie Connolly
Hans Flinch & Nan Nixon
Alexander & Meagan Julian
Betty Kenan
Tom S. Kenan III
Howard & Lillian Lee
Joel Levy
DG & Harriett Martin
NC Rep. Graig Meyer
James & Susan Moeser
Sharon Palsha
Florence & Jim Peacock
Stanley & Marion Robboy
Susan & Tom Ross
Bill Ross & Susan Gravely
Jim & Mary Sasser
Samia & Mohamed Serageldin
Lee Smith & Hal Crowder
Sallie Shuping-Russell
Joseph & Marilyn Sparling
Amy & Michael Tiemann
Barbara Tyroler & David Cooper
Jerry & Sondra Van Sant
Roger & Ann Waldon
Rosemary & Gary Waldorf
John Watson & Betsy Blackwell

Founding Museum

105 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill 2006 – 2011
Kidzu Children’s Museum opened its doors in March 2006 at 105 E. Franklin Street. In this site, Kidzu served more than 150,000 visitors, provided dozens of educational programs, offered outreach programs to children in need, hosted traveling exhibits from around the nation, and created Kidzu’s first original exhibit, “KidZoom: The Power of Creativity!” Soon after opening, we began searching for a much larger site for Kidzu, where we could meet the substantial demand for our services and become a lasting part of our community. The Town of Chapel Hill generously agreed to provide Kidzu with a new site for the museum atop the Wallace Parking Deck in downtown Chapel Hill.

University Square Location

123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill 2011 – 2013
In November 2011, Kidzu moved across Franklin Street to a sunny new location at University Square. This beautiful, affordable interim site allowed Kidzu to continue serving the community as we planned our permanent museum on the Wallace Plaza. At Kidzu2, visitors enjoyed our popular KidZoom exhibit, a wide array of weekly programs, special programming with Kidzu’s UNC and community partners, field trips, birthday parties, Free Sundays, and much more.

Launch Pad: University Place

201 S. Estes Drive, Chapel Hill Launch Pad 1: February 2014 – July 2014
Launch Pad 2: April 11, 2015- Present
In the February of 2014, Kidzu Children’s Museum moved to University Place (formerly University Mall). From 2014-2015, Kidzu moved around the mall in three different locations: first in a 10,000 sq. ft location which was formerly the Chapel Hill Public Library space, then to a smaller temporary location that was a focused Makery and programs space. Finally we found our home in 8,500 sq. ft. space that acts as our Launch Pad location. This bright and airy location now provides full range of opportunities inline with Kidzu’s Launch Pad initiative. This location allows Kidzu to expand creative design-thinking, create new programming including maker workshops and STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Art and Math) education, and help prepare us to grow even bigger n the future. New exhibit elements, expanded programming, more field trips, better birthday parties and much more are always in the works.

Continuing to Grow

Kidzu’s primary goal has always been to develop a permanent museum of adequate size with outdoor space and room for growth to best serve the children and families of our growing community. Kidzu’s Launch Pad at University Place is a taste of the kinds of exhibits and activities the museum would feature in a permanent location, as well as other exhibits, program spaces, classrooms and outdoor exhibits that would serve, celebrate and reflect the academic and cultural richness of our community. In early 2015, the Kidzu Board of Directors voted to spend the next 8-12 months exploring site and partnership options that would be financially feasible yet able to accommodate Kidzu’s educational vision. We invite you to get involved with Kidzu and help us build a permanent museum that serves all children in our community and inspires learning through creative play!