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.
The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, opened its doors at the current location in May 2015. The Museum 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.
Kim Kleven – Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial, Early Childhood Coordinator
Heather Carlson – Mankato Clinic, OB/GYN
Ann Hendricks – ISD77 School Board, Board Officer
Barb Kaus – Greater Mankato Area United Way, CEO
Tom Koch – Ridley Inc./Hubbard, Director of Organizational Development
Mark Monson – Minnstar, President
Trevor Park – United Prairie Bank, Credit Analyst
Sarah Richards – Jones Metal, President & CEO
Sue Schwickert – Le Sueur/Henderson School District, retired Technology Director
Paul Shneider – Blethen Berens, Partner
Christie Skilbred – Coughlan Companies, Capstone, and Jordan Sands – Corporate Giving and Literacy Center Manager
Parker Skophammer – City of Mankato, City Manager Assistant
Jerhod Smithback – Nidec, Vice President
Liz Ulman – Dotson Iron Casting, Vice President
Chastity Valvick – Compeer Financial, Communications Consultant
Shane VanEngen – Bremer Bank, Market President
Heather VonBank – Minnesota State University, Mankato, Department of Family and Consumer Science Chair
Christi Wilking – Mayo Clinic Health System, Community Relations Officer
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.
Mary Jo Hensel
Heidi Hudson – Roberts
The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota seeks a proven innovative and collaborative Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead the Museum into its next chapter. The ideal candidate must have knowledge and experience building community partnerships, securing donors and funds, and fostering innovation in a non-profit, educational, or children’s museum setting.
Under direction of the Board of Directors, the CEO provides innovative leadership, effective planning, and resourceful management to sustain and grow the Museum. The CEO leads the Museum’s leadership team.
The ideal candidate will be committed to 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. The CEO is expected to work collaboratively with other private, public, and non-profit leaders in achieving this vision.
To download the Chief Executive Officer recruitment profile, click here.
We are not currently hiring Playwork staff, but we’d love to have your application.
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.