Five Things You May Not Know About Gilbert House Children’s Museum

by Gayle Gilham on January 6, 2020

in Featured Member

Gilbert House Children's Museum cover image

This nonprofit’s mission is to inspire children to learn through creative play. Did you know…

  1. The Gilbert House Children’s Museum is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) children’s museum connected to downtown Salem’s Riverfront Park. Founded in 1989, Gilbert House Children’s Museum provides innovative and stimulating educational experiences which spark children’s natural curiosity. The museum is designed for children ages 2 to 10, but all exhibits have been designed for children and their grown-ups to play and learn together.
  2. The Museum is named after Salem native, A.C. Gilbert, an extraordinary scholar, inventor, Olympic gold medalist, entrepreneur and magician. An advocate of learning through play, Gilbert was the proud inventor of the Erector Set, the inspiration for the Museum’s giant outdoor Erector Set, the highlight of their 20,000 ft² Outdoor Discovery Area.
  3. In 1918, during World War I, Gilbert testified before the U.S. Council of Defense on behalf of the toy industry after Congress declared a moratorium on the manufacturing of toys. He told Congress that not only were toys valuable learning tools, but they showed the long-term effectiveness of fostering inventiveness, creativity, ingenuity and problem-solving abilities. His philosophy is the inspiration for the Museum’s mission.
  4. The Museum has 16 hands-on exhibits, an Outdoor Discovery Area, camps, field trips, membership opportunities, and educational programs in the sciences, arts and humanities. It’s composed of three historic houses: the Rockenfield House, Gilbert House and Parrish House.
  5. Coming in 2020 is the groundbreaking of the first phase of an innovative nature-based playscape to transform the Museum’s outdoor space. Included in the build is a much-anticipated bubble exhibit, Bill’s Bubble Factory, and additional play opportunities that introduce early learning concepts in physics, chemistry, and the natural sciences. These initiatives are made possible through funding from grants, donors, and business sponsorships.

Cascade is proud to feature Gilbert House Children’s Museum, a leader in providing high quality, hands-on, experiential learning opportunities in science and the arts for children that ignite their imagination and provide essential building blocks for life-long learning.

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