Discover Our Impact
Igniting Curiosity in young minds
The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota provides an environment for children to explore, think, discover, and learn through play. The Museum features exhibits, activities, and spaces to engage all ages. From the Northwoods Cabin, to the mind-inspiring attraction of Cecil’s Imagineering space, to the Dotson Back 40 beckoning children to romp in its green space outdoors. There’s plenty to do and see – all within a safe, inviting, and comfortable space. And it is only going to get better!
Gateway to Play
access memberships by the numbers
Gateway to Play memberships are available to families who experience barriers to play at the Museum. A “barrier” can be many things — income, language, cultural factors, ability, special need, or another special situation.
of all CMSM Memberships
After operating in several temporary locations throughout the Mankato area, the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota has welcomed children and families at 224 Lamm Street since May 1, 2015.
But we didn’t stop there. In fact, we were just getting started! Since opening our doors at our current location, over 650,000 guests have walked through our doors. We have added exhibits, programs, and in April of 2022, we acquired an additional lot adjacent to the Museum to expand our play space even more!
The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota was founded.
CMSM welcomes children at temporary sites throughout the Mankato area
CMSM opens at current location, 224 Lamm Street
Campus expansion is expected to begin
“The Children’s Museum has not only helped my child grow in social interactive and cognitive skills, it’s helped my mental health as a mother to have somewhere to go and get out of the house.”
an interview with longtime CMSM supporter
What makes CMSM special to you? What do they do best?
I witnessed the dedication and commitment founding members displayed over the years that brought us to where the museum is today – they moved locations, lost everything in a flood and had to start over, had changes in leadership, recently they had to deal with covid, but every step of the way the museum has come out bigger and better.
What the museum does best is make discovery and learning fun, while staying true to our culture and heritage. Every exhibit is created with input from community experts. That they are hand crafted and authentic is so impressive. The Farm to Table exhibit with the vegetables, deli counter, “real” money, or the North Woods Cabin with the fishing pond and the snowman, the Stone Quarry with real cranes, hard hats and diggers. Outside we have the gardens, animals, water, mud! Every new exhibit is more awe-inspiring than the last! There is always something new to discover and learn!
How do you give back? Do you donate, have a membership, volunteer?
I have donated money, given my time and volunteered my skills. I will purchase a membership as soon as I take my new grandson to the museum! Over the years I have been involved in many phases – I helped make the bottle cap mural, coordinated the creation of the Lauri Kuch theater, volunteered with the sewers and the DigIt events, lobbied for funding at the Capitol, and now serve as a director on the museum board. I get great satisfaction being a part of a group that is committed to the development of children and community.
Why do you give back? What impact does your gift have? What does your philanthropy make possible at CMSM?
I give money as a way to lead by example and support a cause that is important to me. I believe in the museum’s mission, I enjoy talking about the museum to parents and grandparents who don’t really understand how impactful the museum can be. When they visit the museum for the first time they are amazed! And it is only going to get better!
The mission of the Museum is important to me,
Why should others give back?
It takes a village to raise a child and the museum is just one piece of the village where parents can go and be surrounded and supported by others with the same objectives. It provides a better quality of life for our community.
Your support enables the Children’s Museum to foster experiences and encourages play opportunities that are locally relevant and educational.
“I learned about the Children’s Museum of Mankato from one of my Autism mom friends who has brought her four kids multiple times. She said it was amazing, incredibly inclusive, fun, and easy to navigate. As a mom of a 6-year-old, high energy, very curious, little boy with autism, I can tell you… finding places like these are a challenge but are a priceless find! Our son definitely benefits from these types of places to explore, discover, and learn on his own terms in his own way 🙂 We definitely look forward to giving him that!”
–Mound MN Family
The mission of the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is to ignite the natural curiosity of every child through the power of play in a dynamic, awe-inspiring environment.
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.
Why Our Visitors Love Us
Enjoy a variety of exclusive benefits while also supporting the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota by becoming a member today! Several levels and add-on options are available to fit your needs.
The generous support from individuals and businesses helps the Museum to provide a place where all children can play with new, creative, and interactive exhibits and educational programming.
Volunteers are an important part of our team at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota. There are ongoing and special volunteer opportunities, with scheduling options to fit your personal lifestyle.
A Note From our CEO
“Less than 20 years ago, the idea for a regional children’s museum in Mankato was just beginning to take shape. In a relatively short span of time, community interest grew into genuine support and commitment. From the start the organization held itself up as a catalyst for building a stronger, more vibrant community around play so that all children in our region can have a bright future of opportunity and well-being. It was a bold undertaking then, but no less today.
8 years old
Grow it Gallery
Favorite Play Buddy
Tree of Forts
Favorite Play Date