In an effort to become more inclusive, Salem’s Gilbert House Children’s Museum will begin constructing an updated and modernized Outdoor Discovery Play Area this year. The construction will close that section of the museum to the public until sometime in April, 2023. Other areas of the museum will remain open with normal hours, including the new “Bill’s Bubble Factory” which was installed in 2020, as well as the engineering studio and creative space.
Some of the features of the new Outdoor Play Area will remain in place, such as the iconic Erector Set structure, while being expanded to include exhibit space inside the structure for expanded play. Features being added include sensory and mobility friendly nature-based “playscapes” like the Dig & Discover sand area, a Rain & Rainbows sensory garden, and a modernized Sticks & Fabric fort building area.
“Gilbert House is such an asset to our community,” said Sasha Shay, a Gilbert House board member. “It gives an opportunity to kids to engage with the world around them, explore and adventure, and gets them off their screens.”
The renovations to the play area will be funded in part by an Impact Partnership grant for $25,000 from the Maps Community Foundation, a non-profit operated by Maps Credit Union.