Cloisters future remains uncertain BALTIMORE COUNTY

December 26, 1992|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

The future of the Cloisters property in Baltimore County remained unclear yesterday, after a decision to move the children's museum there to downtown Baltimore.

Dudrea W. Parker, who died in 1972, willed the residence and roughly 50 acres of land to a private foundation. The will stipulated that the Dudrea and Sumner Parker Foundation would function as a nonprofit group "for the primary purpose of preserving in perpetuity 'The Cloisters' for public use."

Another part of the will stipulated that if the private foundation was unable to fulfill its role, they were to give The Cloisters property to the state, the City or the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Dr. Beatrice E. Taylor, director of the Cloisters Children's Museum, said she did not know what would become of the Cloisters property and referred questions to the city solicitor's office. City Solicitor Neal M. Janey said no decision had been made on what to do with the property.

Yesterday, County Executive Roger B. Hayden said he is sorry to see "a very positive program" leave the county, but noted that "it's not leaving the Baltimore metropolitan area. . . . It will still be available to kids."

Mr. Hayden also said that, because of the museum's semirural location and the fact that its visitors mainly were children, the museum had little economic impact on any nearby businesses.

Baltimore was granted deed to the property Jan. 19, 1978.

Since 1976, the Cloisters Children's Museum has operated on the old Sumner and Dudrea Parker estate on Falls Road, just west of Towson. The museum will be moving within two years to its new location in The Brokerage in downtown Baltimore.

"We're thrilled to be moving," said Dr. Taylor.

The new location, which the city agreed to buy Wednesday for $5 million, is more accessible and will give The Cloisters museum more space, said Dr. Taylor. The old Parker residence is about 10,000 square feet. The museum could fill as many as 50,000 square feet The Brokerage, depending on the outcome of a six-month feasibility study.

Also, said Dr. Taylor, the museum's current location at 10440 Falls Road is not on a Mass Transit Administration bus line, whereas The Brokerage is downtown and close to a planned subway stop.

Museum officials hope the new location will allow them to offer more exhibits and programs. They also hope to increase last year's attendance of 50,000 children, said Dr. Taylor.

Displays at the museum often ask questions, and children can find out if they've given the right answers, said Dr. Taylor. The museum also puts on weekly children's shows.

This Sunday, for instance, the museum will hold a Kwanza show starting at 2 p.m.

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