The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is the catalyst for building a stronger, more vibrant community around play so that all children in our region share in a bright future of opportunity and well-being.
Ignite the natural curiosity of every child through the power of play in a dynamic, awe-inspiring environment.
Over the next five years, we will establish sustainable operations and grow the new Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota’s audience and impact.
Newly opened at its fantastic and permanent location in Mankato, the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, features exhibits, activities, and spaces to engage all ages. From the Betsy Tacy-inspired Play Porch to the mind-inspiring attractions of the two-level makers space, and with a towering Mankato Clinic Tree of Forts Climber so tall that it burst through the roof, there’s plenty to do and see — all within a safe, inviting, and comfortable space. Follow this link to browse a gallery of the Museum’s interior and exterior spaces. Courtesy of ISG, photos by Dean Riggott Photography.
Take a peek at the Children’s Museum’s indoor and outdoor galleries by watching the video by True Facade Pictures:
We are pleased to share with you the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota’s first five-year strategic plan as an open museum. Click here to download the Museum’s 2015 – 2020 strategic plan.
The Museum’s Learning Experience Master Plan is comprised of these components:
Follow this link to download the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota’s Learning Experience Master Plan.
Inspired by every child’s enormous promise and readiness to learn, a group of educators, business leaders, and community members envisioned opening a children’s museum for families across the region. In 2006, the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota was granted official 501 (c)(3) nonprofit status and began forging ahead with mission. The Museum’s clear vision—to provide a safe and inviting place for children to play, learn, and grow—allowed it to provide museum experiences in three temporary locations over the past several years. At the same time, dedicated community members remained devoted to making their vision of a permanent museum a reality. Thanks to the support of generous individuals, businesses, local civic organizations, and families, the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota found a permanent home in the City of Mankato’s former Mass Transit Building. It made its amazing transformation into an awe-inspiring children’s museum over the course of many exciting months from the summer of 2014 to May 1st, 2015.
The glimmering Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota that exists today builds upon the hard-won successes of its past. At its prior locations, the Museum’s exhibit prototypes and hands-on activities attracted over 50,000 visitors from 53 Minnesota counties and 25 states, and hosted over 100 field trips and group visits. The Museum Access Program’s efforts helped enrich the lives of over 1,800 children who would have otherwise been challenged by one or more barriers to participation. Regular programming offered at the interim sites covered a variety of topics, from the agriculture of Southern Minnesota to the physics of rockets. The Museum also provided a playful presence at many off-site events, such as Arts by the River, Songs on the Lawn, and the Mankato Marathon.
The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota now welcomes the public to its new, permanent home in downtown Mankato. The new site features place-based exhibits and dynamic hands-on programming, all designed to stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), agriculture, and arts, while also calling attention to Southern Minnesota heritage and Dakota culture.
Playworkers act as floor staff in the Museum’s gallery and exhibit space, interacting with and engaging children and families at the Museum. We are not currently hiring Playworkers, but if you are interested in this position, you may submit an employment application.
Graphic Design Intern
The Graphic Design Intern will support the Museum’s Marketing and Communications team by helping to design and produce internal and external communications and marketing materials. This is an unpaid position and is applicable towards course credit. Minimum required hours are 10 per week. Click here to read more.
To apply, submit a cover letter and resume to Ines Wingert, the Museum’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator
The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota strongly supports worthy causes, organizations, and events throughout our community. We accept requests for Museum passes, coupons, materials, and other items that would make a fitting difference and, in order to make sure we can honor your request, please give us at least a three week notice.
Follow this link to complete the Donation Request Form. Thank you!
All contributions are subject to change, availability, and our discretion.
I enjoy seeing the children having fun while learning and exploring throughout the Museum! Watching all the wonder in their eyes and smiles on their faces is truly heartwarming and rewarding.
I love working with a team of highly creative, talented, and passionate people to create amazing experiences for children and families. I love that our Museum began due to the grit of early childhood teachers and continues to develop based on learning from prototyping. I love that we work with our community to provide access for our community. Oh, I also love ideas and natural materials!
My favorite thing about my job is working in a happy place that families and kiddos look forward to coming to; I love the laughter and the awe, and the cries when it’s time to go home. I love working with a staff that is good at what they do and always thinking about how to make this place even better. Except we don’t cry when it’s time to go home!
I love working on our fundraising events and helping people plan events at the Museum! Whether it is a birthday party, company picnic, family reunion, or a wedding reception, we have one of best venues in town that is fun for all ages!
I love being able to see the joy of learning through the power of play on the faces of children and their caregivers every time I step onto the Museum floor. I also love working with an incredibly passionate and creative team of co-workers that inspire me every day.
My favorite thing about my job is having the chance to meet so many wonderful people! Through the programs I manage, I connect with students, educators, families, community leaders, and our team at the Museum. The experiences and insights they share mean so much to me and make coming to work a lot of fun.
Bio coming soon!
I love the farm and outdoor life so this is a great job for me! I work with an incredibly talented staff and love watching our visitors explore exhibits and learn from their experiences. My favorite time of year is opening up our outdoor area in the spring and the excitement that comes with seeing the new farm animals, growing gardens, and enjoying nature and being outdoors!
My favorite thing about working at the Museum is being a part of such an amazing organization! Every day I come into work and see smiling faces. I love working for an organization that actually wants my children to play, learn, and grow just as much as I do!
I love seeing the interaction between the children and adults at the Museum. Something special happens when adults let down their guard and play. I highly recommend it!
My favorite thing about my job is that I have the privilege to go to work each day with a group of innovative people in an awesome environment. I enjoy the excitement of children and families as they play and learn together, discovering something new at each visit. And sometimes I play too!
I love being able to play and share with the kids, and see the excitement in their eyes as they explore new things. It has been fun to watch how they have changed and matured in the years since I began work here. Being a Playworker at the Museum is a dream job!
My favorite thing about my job at the Museum is watching and encouraging kids to perform. Whether it’s on the stage, in the backyard, around the kitchen, or up in the Loft, I love it when children feel free and confident enough to show others what they can do.