Highlights of 2017: New exhibits, increased access, and playing to learn
2017 has been an incredible year at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota. We saw visitors from 48 states (missing Delaware and West Virginia) and even saw visitors from Argentina, Australia, Japan, Russia, Spain, and Sweden.
But more than that we took seriously our mission to spark imagination in children and their grown-ups through play, creativity, and discovery. Following are just a few of the highlights:
Tangle Town created with help of community
Not only is Tangle Town a beautiful sculpture that sits on our 4-acre prairie, but it is the definition of community. Seventy-seven volunteers, ranging in age from 14 to 82, put in more than 600 hours of community service to create the sculpture alongside artist Patrick Dougherty and museum staff.
The sculpture includes 9 structures that lean together to make a stick town for children and adults to explore. It was created with 6 tons of sticks gathered from 6 harvest sites. Weather-permitting, it will be available on our prairie for the next few years as a place to explore and imagine.
Maker Studio unveiled on second floor
The Maker Studio, located on the second floor of the Children’s Museum, officially opened in October. The space promotes important educational principals such as inquiry, play, imagination, innovation, critical thinking, problem-solving and passion-based learning. The activities change regularly and range from circuitry, coding, and robotics, to wire sculpture, Lego play, and drawing.
The Maker Studio is available Tuesdays through Fridays from 3-5 p.m. as a drop-off program for children age 5 and up. The schedule can vary with school breaks and holidays, so be sure to check out our calendar.
Connective Construction traveling exhibit offers place to build
An all-new traveling exhibit called Connective Construction opened in early December providing guests a place to build, create, and design with a variety of materials including PVC pipes, blocks, and geometric plastic shapes. The exhibit contains more than 1,300 loose parts offering guests a great place to play on the second floor of the museum. Guests are invited to share images of their creations on social media with #PlayTwoLearn and have the photo featured on the monitor in the exhibit space!
Music Meadow creates beautiful sound in great outdoors
A Stonophone, a music wall where you can create music by dropping stones into it, is located in the museum’s outdoor prairie. It was formally named and dedicated in honor of Suzanne Hegg, the founding executive director of the Children’s Museum, in May 2017.
Access Initiative offers museum lowered admission rates to those who need them
We are committed to increasing and improving museum access for all children and families from all backgrounds and abilities. Families receiving some form of public assistance such as Medicaid, free/reduced school lunch, or WIC, are eligible for $1 admission through our Access Initiative. Access Family Membership is a $15 yearlong membership for families receiving public income-related assistance. An FAQ on our website explains the program further.
Seize the Play blog seeks to educate
We are big into play at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota, and our education team has been busy sharing their stories on the Seize the Play Blog. 2017 was the first full year for the blog, which shares information such as recipes for play (check out the cloud dough!) and real-life stories of learning at the museum. Be sure to subscribe to updates so you can get the inside scoop on how to make the most out of play as a learning tool.
Mama well-rested after spring break
Who could forget Mama’s spring break? Following nearly 7 years of standing guard, the life-size T. Rex known as "Mama" was replaced with an exact duplicate in April. Speaking of spring break, it will be here before we know it. Be sure to plan a trip to visit us before then!