Adults Take Over Kids Museum for ‘Retail for a Reason’

The ‘learning playground’ of the Delaware Children’s Museum was alive on Wednesday night last week with happy visitors bustling about to house music, and enjoying food and drink. But on this occasion, something was missing in the Riverfront venue: kids. 

This was strictly an adult night at the museum, with grown-ups taking over the place for  “Retail for a Reason,” the first-ever shopping and cocktail party fundraiser.

The event was the brainchild of Board member Vicky Pettinaro Martelli, who has three children under the age of six. For many, it was their first opportunity to peek inside the museum and see some of the magical displays that attract teams of children every day.

Twenty-five local vendors, offering a mix of women’s and children’s apparel, jewelry, and beauty supplies, set up exhibitor spaces throughout the first floor. One children’s vendor – Penny Lane Emporium from Kennett Square – was tucked right beneath an enormous carved out tree trunk. Exhibitors paid a nominal space fee and donated a percentage of their profits to the Museum.

Caffe Gelato of Newark donated staff and all of the passed hors d’oeuvres. Painted Stave Distilling, Wilmington Brew Works and Moore Brothers also donated their home brewed beers, spirits and wine. And each loaned staff to work at the event.

I don’t really know what I was thinking when I said, “Let’s have a big shopping event at the museum,” quipped Martelli. “But I really wanted to attract new people here. The museum is such a fun place to be, whether you are coming to an adult-only event or you’re bringing your children here. It’s a great resource here in Wilmington.”

Admission was free. But staff also accepted small (and large) donations at the door, which helped the Museum raise over $3,500 for the evening.

Board Chair Karen Rose said the Museum, which inspires young children up to age 10, has a  focus on science-related discovery and art activities. “We have an enormous amount of programming that makes it a different experience every time people come.  It’s also a safe space for kids, grandparents and family members to have a good time and learn by doing lots of hands-on things that they otherwise be able to do at home or at school. It’s just a fun place to be.”

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About the Contributor

Christy Fleming

Christy Fleming

The managing editor of, Christy Fleming also supports a variety of non-profit initiatives in Delaware. Her background includes positions in public relations, advertising and journalism.