The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota (CMSM) has become a favorite destination for families from across our region. From the very beginning, the founding Board and community stakeholders envisioned a beautiful gathering place that would be welcoming and accessible for all. This group made a commitment that holds true through today: to ensure all children have opportunities to experience the power of play at the Museum. The Museum’s Gateway to Play access initiatives have taken root out of this vision and commitment.
As of March 2020, 30% of all Museum members represent children and families that experience barriers to participation. Currently, over 600 members are able to engage in all the Museum has to offer through their Gateway to Play Museum membership.
The positive impact Gateway to Play memberships have on children and families cannot be measured fully. Just listen to what our access members have to say about the Museum:
“My kids LOVE the Museum and make so many friends… This past year, my little ones were able to learn about and watch the butterflies grow. My daughter was the first to see the first chicken egg hatch. She came every day after to watch “her” chicken grow! This program allows families like mine, that can’t afford much, to experience fun, healthy and safe new things. Myself as a mother, I get to learn what my children like to do. I get to watch them grow and become themselves… I learn about my kids as they get to learn what they like and don’t care for. So thank you for giving my children the opportunity to grow.”
“My son is not afraid to play here and has become comfortable with all of the other kids and noise. He is autistic, so this has been a huge help! His development has improved significantly with attending and trying all the different choices of activities and exhibits he is able to interact with.”
“The Children’s Museum is an awesome place to let my toddlers, preschoolers, and even school age kids explore, create, and pretend! Thank you for valuing experiential play and allowing us to participate.”
Thankful for the Support
Opening the gateway to play for these and hundreds of other families that participate at the Museum through free or pay-as-you-are-able Museum memberships would not be possible without the support of business sponsors, grant funders, and donors. In fact, many Museum members choose to gift a membership to a family in need. This amazing gesture ensures that other families have just as much hands-on fun as their family experiences at the Museum. For all of the generous support that continues to make the joy of learning through the power of play accessible for all, many thanks!