Frequently Asked Questions
Please choose from one of the following Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.
Children’s Museum Industry FAQs
Gallery & Museum Service FAQs
- Who Designed Your Galleries?
- How Did You Plan & Test The Galleries?
- What Is There For My 1-Year-Old To Do At The Museum?
- I’m An Adult And Would Like To Visit The Children’s Museum Without A Child. Is This Possible?
- Safety & Cleanliness
- Museum Staffing
- Why Do You Allow Corporate Gallery Sponsorships At The Museum?
- Admission Costs
- Membership Costs
- Why Don’t You Offer A Family Membership?
- Do Your Prices Limit Accessibility To The Museum?
- Are Your Admission & Membership Costs Comparable With Other Family Activities?
- Why Do Adults Have To Pay The Same Admission As Children?
What Is A Children’s Museum?
Children’s museums are educational places where children learn through play and exploration in environments designed just for them. Reflecting the diverse communities that they serve, children’s museums create playful, interactive, learning experiences. In an increasingly complex world, children’s museums provide a place where all kids can learn through play with the caring adults in their lives. Many children’s museums are located in major travel and tourism destinations. More and more families visit children’s museums each year for unique, hands-on fun, enlightenment, and shared experiences not found in traditional museums or other popular destinations.
(Content adapted from the Association of Children’s Museums)
How Should I Make The Most Of My Trip To A Children’s Museum?
By calling ahead or visiting a children’s museum’s website before your visit, you can learn about seasonal programs, permanent galleries, temporary and travelling exhibitions, hours of operation, admission days and costs, museum policies, any special museum services that may be offered, and even whether the museum has a café or allows visitors to bring their own snacks and beverages. The physical size, type of galleries, exhibition themes, and facility operations and services differ greatly among children’s museums, which means each children’s museum offers a unique experience. When arriving at a children’s museum, study the map of the gallery floor and check the daily activity schedules.
Let Your Child Be The Guide
While it may be tempting to nudge your child along so that the family can see every gallery and participate in every activity in order to get the full “value” of the museum, your child may equate quality rather than quantity as the best indicator of time well spent. So go ahead and let your children explore just one or two galleries if that’s all they are interested in – they’ll appreciate the experience even more for it.
Support Your Child’s Learning And Play Styles
One of the best ways to support your child’s learning and play styles is by asking questions that don’t require a yes or no response. Such as: What do you think will happen next? Why do you think the (object) works that way? After you leave the children’s museum, you may find yourselves in a place that reminds you of your museum experience. Use these moments to reflect with your children about the museum experience and how it compares with the present environment. Be prepared for some surprising discoveries!
(Content adapted from the Association of Children’s Museums)
Who Designed Your Galleries?
The people who designed our galleries, Toboggan Design of Montreal, are international children’s museum gallery and exhibit designers. They have been involved in gallery and exhibit design for a number of children’s museums including the Canadian Children’s Museum, the London Regional Children’s Museum, Please Touch Children’s Museum in Philadelphia, a children’s museum in Argentina, as well as many travelling exhibitions for children’s museums in North America.
All our galleries and exhibits are prototypes – they are unique, one-of-a-kind creations, not off-the-shelf experiences. This brings both excitement and challenges as we bring them to life. In developing our galleries and exhibits three things were always in the forefront of the design process:
- A safe experience;
- A developmentally-appropriate, educationally-sound experience; and
- An experience that offered opportunities for hands-on, creative learning through play.
How Did You Plan & Test The Galleries?
We looked to educators, provincial school curriculum, kids, parents, teachers, daycare workers, architects, artists, librarians, children’s entertainers, children’s museum experts and more for ideas and feedback. We reviewed societal trends and forecasts. We spoke with community leaders. Our designers designed, these people reacted, our designers re-designed, and then these people re-reacted again and again. Models were built for many of the small components within the galleries. They were kid-tested and re-adapted not once but many, many times. Actual components were fabricated, and they too were kid-tested before being brought into the museum.
We are still working on components, replacing, adjusting, and refining. We are learning what works under visitor traffic of 800+ hands in a day, and we are learning what may need further tweaking. We have had a few bumps and are grateful for the information and feedback we receive from our visitors.
What Is There For My 1-Year-Old To Do At The Museum?
There is TONS of fun for 1-year-olds (and other toddlers) at the Children’s Museum!
In addition to Tot Spot, a gallery devoted exclusively to children under 2-years-old, many of our galleries have toddler-friendly components and activities built into them.
As with all areas in the Children’s Museum, we believe that the role accompanying adults play in their child’s visit is what helps make a museum trip a fun, engaging, and meaningful experience. Toddlers will look to you for cues and support in ways to interact with museum components – and we have created special “Partners In Play” prompts to help you engage your child. If you are having trouble finding activities or areas for your toddler to explore, please see one of our Guest Services staff who would be happy to assist you.
If you have a toddler, we encourage you to consider visiting the museum for our special Mini Mondays programming. From September through April, join us for Mini Mondays on Mondays from 10:00AM to 2:00PM when we provide special programming tailored to suit the needs of our youngest visitors, including crafts that help develop fine motor skills, activities that aid in dramatic play, and special story times in our Story Line gallery. While we cannot prohibit older children from the general public from visiting on Mondays, we do reserve our School Program Bookings on these days for Nursery and Kindergarten classrooms only so that toddlers can explore the museum among groups of other guests of a similar age.
Click here to learn more about Mini Mondays.
I’m An Adult And Would Like To Visit The Children’s Museum Without A Child. Is This Possible?
The Children’s Museum exists to spark kids’ creative learning, and was therefore designed as a facility intended for children under the age of 10 and their accompanying caregivers.
The Children’s Museum enforces a general admission policy whereby we reserve the right to restrict admitting children unaccompanied by adults as well as adults unaccompanied by children.
This policy is intended to protect the physical safety and security of our child guests and to preserve the life of our exhibits. Additionally, age, height, and/or weight restrictions may also be noted in several locations throughout the Children’s Museum.
In accommodation, we offer adults the following opportunities to visit the Children’s Museum:
- A Hosted Tour and/or Facilitated Visit
Drop-in guests will be offered a complimentary hosted tour of the facility (subject to staff availability) or provided the opportunity to contact our Sales & Bookings Coordinator at 204.924.4005 to discuss the possibility of arranging a facilitated visit at a later scheduled date and time.
- Individual and Organizational Volunteer Opportunities
With volunteer opportunities available in our programming and galleries, as well as at special events, the Children’s Museum is always on the lookout for adults interested in helping us spark kids’ creative learning! Anyone interested in becoming a Children’s Museum volunteer must complete a Volunteer Application Form and register to attend a Volunteer Information Session.Click here to learn more about the Children’s Museum Volunteer Program.(Please Note: Children’s Museum volunteers must demonstrate acceptable results on a Child Abuse Registry check. In addition in instances where the position may warrant, volunteers may also be required to demonstrate acceptable results on a Criminal Record check.)
- Access to the Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes
During the holiday season, we offer the following opportunities for adult visitors unaccompanied by children to visit the Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes display:
- Guided Tours
The Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes are a holiday favourite for generations of Winnipeggers. We are pleased to honour that tradition by offering guided tours of the exhibition at various dates and times while the exhibition is on display for the holiday season. Contact our Sales & Bookings Coordinator at 204.924.4005 to book your visit or to learn more.
Click here to learn more about the Eaton’s Fairytale Vignettes and/or upcoming related events.
- Guided Tours
Safety & Cleanliness
In constructing our galleries we worked closely with the City of Winnipeg’s fire, health, and other safety-related departments. For example, we found out that many climbing structures in public indoor places do not have sprinklers – and for the safety of our children, we have installed 13 in our Lasagna Lookout alone on the advice of the experts! In all cases we have met city requirements, and in many other areas, we exceeded these requirements.
Cleanliness is extremely important to us. We start out every morning with a clean slate and as soon as we open our doors and the first group of guests starts exploring, we start cleaning. We adjust to our visitor traffic, and adapt our cleaning routines in areas where more attention is required.
Being an historical building, we can experience challenges with dust from the interior brick work. We clean up many dust bunnies at the end of the day, but some days it isn’t long before they re-appear and we clean them again.
We depend on the support of our adult guests to ensure that they and their children all care for our exhibits, so that the next guests after them will also have a great, clean, safe time. Sometimes this is not possible in all the excitement with mad dashes to the next experience. Sometimes it will take more time than we like to get a staff person into an area to clean-up or even to become aware there is a problem. We encourage our guests to let a staff person know of a problem that requires attention.
We have a dedicated team of staff committed to ensuring the safety and cleanliness of our museum. Through experience, we have determined which areas of our facility need more staffing, so you might see more staff in certain areas during your visit or at certain times of the day. During certain times of the year, there can be lots of training going on – which is often done through job shadowing. Sometimes we may appear to be overstaffed in an area as we train new staff. Other times, staff may seem not to be around, but be assured they are. It may be taking a bit longer to locate or prepare the supplies for a gallery or to collect the proper cleaning tools for a particular exhibit – or they might even be assisting another museum guest. If at any time you need staff support and can’t find a staff member to assist you, please go to our Admissions Desk and we will find someone to help.
Why Do You Allow Corporate Gallery Sponsorships At The Museum?
The Children’s Museum is a non-profit charitable organization. We receive less than 10% of our income from government funding – significantly less than many other cultural and not-for-profit organizations in our city. The museum relies on earned revenue through admissions, fundraising events, foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, and sales from its gift shop to account for the remaining 90% of its operating costs.
With this in mind, corporate sponsorship is one way we are able to build and operate the Children’s Museum. Some examples of our current gallery sponsors include Dairy Farmers of Manitoba (Milk Machine), Pollard Family Foundation (Junction 9161), FLOFORM Countertops (Illusion Tunnel), Richardson Foundation (Splash Lab), Investors Group (Mellow Marsh), and The Winnipeg Foundation (Time Squared).
Regardless of a gallery’s sponsorship status, we have worked closely with Toboggan Design, our gallery designers, to ensure that all our exhibits have specific learning outcomes – whether it is Milk Machine’s representation of modern dairy farming practices which explains how milk gets from a cow to a carton in a grocery aisle, or Pop m’Art’s representation of the good that can come from recycling and the creativity that reusing materials can inspire.
If you would like to learn more about current sponsorship opportunities at the Children’s Museum, please contact our Development Department at 204.924.4010.
Current admission rates are $12.00 for visitors ages 1 – 101, even though the actual cost per person to visit the Children’s Museum is approximately $15.50 – resulting in an average subsidy of $3.50 per person.
The museum receives less than 10% of its income from government funding – significantly less than many other cultural organizations in our city. The museum relies on earned revenue through admissions, fundraising events, foundation grants, corporate donations, and sales from its gift shop to account for the remaining 90% of its operating costs.
With 12 permanent galleries and seasonal travelling exhibitions comes maintenance, infrastructure, and staffing costs – all of which are reflected in our admission and membership rates.
Children’s Museum memberships are best suited for frequent museum visitors. If you plan to visit the Children’s Museum four or more times in a year, than membership is an ideal option for you.
The Children’s Museum offers risk-free payment plans to anyone interested in a membership but uncertain they will visit frequently enough to make a membership cost-effective. Information on payment plans is available in person at the museum’s admissions desk.
Why Don’t You Offer A Family Membership?
Due to the extensive range of household and lifestyle situations that exist in our community, the Children’s Museum does not define membership in terms of “family,” but rather by individual.
An individual membership affords the flexibility for members to utilize their membership whenever they visit the museum, rather than when they visit with a primary household caregiver. As members, children can visit the museum not only with the adults in their household, but with grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, friends, and more – and still experience the benefit of free museum admission.
Do Your Prices Limit Accessibility To The Museum?
The Children’s Museum is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to sparking kids’ creative learning – and the museum believes that all children should have equal access to the facility regardless of their financial circumstances.
For those unable to afford a visit, the museum offers the Free2Play Access Program that brings children to the museum for school visits, day camps, special parties and after-school clubs FREE OF CHARGE! The Free2Play Access Program is open to Manitoba schools, qualifying not-for-profit daycares, and select social service organizations.
The Free2Play Access Program is generously supported by local foundations, organizations, and individual donors like you. If you’d like to see more children experience all the Children’s Museum has to offer free of charge, please support the Free2Play Access Program by making a donation to the Children’s Museum.
Are Your Admission & Membership Costs Comparable With Other Family Activities?
General admission to the Children’s Museum is comparable to the admission costs of other local cultural organizations and family entertainment facilities.
Membership costs vary across local cultural institutions and entertainment facilities, however they are primarily dependent on such issues as: membership benefits and limitations, hours and annual days of operation, membership attendance/use, annual operating budget and government funding levels, and other means of affording public accessibility (i.e., existence of access programs).
Membership to the Children’s Museum is best suited for frequent museum visitors. If you plan to visit the Children’s Museum four or more times in a year, than membership is an ideal option for you.
The Children’s Museum offers risk-free payment plans to anyone interested in a membership, but uncertain they will visit frequently enough to make a membership cost-effective. Information on payment plans is available in person at the museum’s admissions desk.
Why Do Adults Have to Pay the Same Admission as Children?
The Children’s Museum experience is not restricted to the pleasure and exploration of children alone.
It’s comparable to seeing a children’s movie or a children’s theatrical performance – though the content of the movie or the play may be intended for children, admission comes at a price point for adults and children alike.
The mission of the Children’s Museum is to spark kids’ creative learning. The relationship children have with their accompanying adult, be it a parent, relative, teacher, or caregiver is fundamental in this process. The experience provided at the museum through the interactions of children with their adults is one the can add to the building of strong, healthy, affirming relationships.
For more information about the Children’s Museum’s galleries, museum services, or pricing, please contact us by:
- Mail: 45 Forks Market Road, Winnipeg, MB, R3C 4T6
- Phone: 204.924.4000
- Email: Through our departmental comment page