Please Touch Museum's new mascot is gender non-binary

Squiggles was unveiled ahead of the museum's Family Festival: OutFest on Saturday.

Hadas Kuznits
October 11, 2018 - 8:30 pm
The Please Touch Museum has introduced its new mascot, a purple, fuzzy, wide-eyed creature named Squiggles.

Please Touch Museum


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Ahead of Family Festival: OutFest on Saturday, the Please Touch Museum is encouraging museum-goers to meet Philadelphia's other mascot — no, not Gritty; the city's other new mascot, Squiggles.

And museum CEO Patricia Wellenbach noted that Squiggles, a purplish, fuzzy, wide-eyed creature, is neither a boy nor a girl.

As a gender non-binary mascot, Squiggles likes to be referred to with the pronouns they, them or their, Wellenbach explained.

"It is an interesting concept to wrap your brain around," she said. "It is how people who do not specifically gender identify like to be referred to with their particular pronouns."

And much like a teddy bear, it's also why Squiggles does not wear clothes.

"The team made a decision that Squiggles would not identify with any gender, boy or girl," she added. "Clothes are an identifier of people's gender identity and hosts of other things."

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Even further, Squiggles' color is not even directly blue, pink or purple, but a blend of many colors.

"Color does have a tendency sometimes to create gender identification, particularly in younger children."

So far, Wellenbach said people have been very receptive to Squiggles and the inclusivity they inspire.

"And I like to say that we're the place where children come to learn through play, but most of the time it's the grown-ups in the room that are learning as they're playing and thinking about how the children want to learn through play," she said.

For those who want to meet Squiggles in person, they will be appearing at the Please Touch Museum weekends in October and especially on Saturday to celebrate OutFest.