Did you know that the Museum’s first official mascot was a seahorse? Kurt Vonnegut, Sr., father of acclaimed author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., was one of the first Trustees of The Children’s Museum. Kurt was an architect and his interest in art led him to design the seahorse, which served as the Museum’s first logo and later the mascot. A wooden seahorse sign hung above the Museum’s first home, the Propylaeum Carriage House, located at 14th and Delaware streets.
Why a seahorse? Well, Mr. Vonnegut was in charge of establishing a program of junior memberships and the Museum’s Board thought that membership buttons would be a fun way to attract children to the Museum. One theory as to why Mr. Vonnegut chose a seahorse for the button is that the unusual creature might pique children’s interest and make them curious about the museum.
Sidney the Seahorse ended up representing the museum for 50 years! In those days the museum was free, and for part of that time this donation box sat out so visitors could make donations to support the museum and its mission. Coins would run down Sidney’s nose and ring a bell as they fell into the box.