Summer Camps At Home

Hello from Gilbert House Children’s Museum!  It’s been awhile.  We have been busy preparing something special for you and your family this summer… introducing Gilbert House Summer Camps At Home.  This has been an effort supported by a number of community partners, for which we are very grateful.  Though “camp” is not the same without the excitement of being together, in the spirit of camp we hope to inspire fresh creative learning in your own spaces.

Each week we are selecting activities from our themed summer camps to provide a guide for you to explore in the comfort of your own home.  We post these guides regularly on our website, or if you are a member, we are sending them straight to your inbox.  Perhaps you have another friend that would like to participate with you!  Within each guide we provide curated activities, a themed reading list, and additional video inspiration.  Our suggested activities are hopefully a springboard for some of your own ideas, as well.  Of main importance is simply choosing to foster a summer of curiosity, adventure, creative play, and investigation for your kiddos.  So, let’s get started!  As always, we love to see what you are up to… especially during our closure.  Tag us on instagram, on Facebook, or share directly with our community of fellow caretakers in our Facebook Group.

Enjoy a summer of memory making, and keep playing…

Summer Update for Gilbert House

Dear Friend of Gilbert House,

We are writing to let you know, that after careful consideration, we have made the decision to remain closed to the public throughout the summer. Staff and Board consider the well-being of your children to be our highest priority. We are closely monitoring the reopening process of the State of Oregon and maintaining communication with our museum partners throughout the country to determine the appropriate reopening time for Gilbert House. However, we are confident we will not reopen before September and wanted to provide you with the update.  In alignment with our extended closure, all summer camps at Gilbert House are cancelled.  Refunds are being processed for all registrants. 

This is a difficult decision, and we seek to remain a relevant resource for your family in new ways We invite you to join our community on Facebook for engaging activities to explore at home and an opportunity to connect with other parents. There is already two months of content available for you through this resource. 

Thank you for believing in our mission of inspiring children to learn through creative play. Your museum visits, class and camp participation, and excitement for new exhibits are the reason we continue to do what we do.  We look forward to engaging together again and unveiling Bill’s Bubble Factory at the right time. 

With Appreciation,

Gilbert House Children’s Museum Board of Directors
Karen Larson
Scott Meyer
Sasha Shay
Maria Rivas
Sadie Blackhall
Joshua Feil
Brandon Schmidgall
Jessica Kreitzberg Schultens
Stacy Swiderski
Joshua Wolfram
Stephen Younger
Alicia Bay, Executive Director 

Membership Extension

How are you doing?  We’ve been thinking of you, your family, and all of the parents and children in our community during this unusual time.  We are right there with you, as we miss the typical day-to-day activities and routines, especially connecting with you through creative play at Gilbert House Children’s Museum.

We’ve been considering the best way to serve our members as our museum continues in this long “pause” of a season.  We have some good news to share with you, as we would like to offer you a membership extension.  All memberships in active standing upon our closure will receive an extension to account for lost play time due to COVID-19.  This extension will be applied to your membership by the time we reopen.

We will also honor this extension for any new memberships purchased or memberships formally renewed throughout the time of our closure.

Your membership dues are a vital part of the museum’s economic health, and we want to be sure you are receiving the full benefit and experience of your membership investment.  Thank you for your ongoing partnership.

We understand this is a difficult time for everyone.  Whether you are working from home, serving our community, or taking on the role of full-time caretaker, we invite you to join other parents in our GHCM Facebook Community Group.  We provide activity prompts that give you a few more ideas of how to keep your little ones busy, active, and engaged at home.  We focus on creative activities that require little to no purchases, using materials or items you already have on hand to facilitate new play opportunities.

Stay healthy, stay home, and keep playing!

Temporary Museum Closure

Following recent developments in Oregon’s measures to contain COVID-19, and the new announcements regarding Salem-Keizer’s school closure, Gilbert House Children’s Museum has assessed the need to close the museum as a precautionary measure to protect our community members, staff, and the families we serve.  The health and safety of our visitors is our highest priority at this time.

Beginning Saturday, March 14th, the museum will be closed until the mandatory nonessential business closure is lifted in Oregon.  We continue to monitor this situation according to the guidance from the CDC, OHA, and public health officials, as we make decisions regarding future events and programs.

Summer Camp registration will open March 16th, as planned, for those who would like to reserve their placement in our summer programs.  Please be assured that any necessary camp cancellations pertaining to COVID-19 will be fully refunded.  As our offices will be closed during this time, we thank you for your patience in returning any calls or emails regarding registration assistance.  For spring educational programming that has been cancelled as a result of our closure, parents will be contacted directly by our education department staff.

We are proud to be a part of the Salem-Keizer community, and are looking forward to resuming our operations in April.  As you look for ways to inspire creative learning during an extended break from school, we invite you to visit our Pinterest Page for activity ideas.


Stay Healthy, Play Healthy

*3/18 UPDATE:  Gilbert House Children’s Museum will be closed March 14th-April 28th.
Following recent developments and the closure announcement impacting Salem-Keizer schools, the Museum will follow suit as a precautionary measure for the health of our community. 

At Gilbert House Children’s Museum, the health and safety of our visitors is a vital priority year-round.  We have daily cleaning and sanitation schedules in place to provide a safe and healthy environment for families to enjoy.

It is natural to have concerns and questions regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Oregon.  It is our goal to provide you the information you need to make the right decisions for your family, and to provide assurance of the protocols we currently have in place.  Our Facilities and Visitor Services team have actively reviewed these procedures and increased the intervals of routine sanitation:

  • Highly accessed surfaces, including doorknobs, banisters, and handles are disinfected every hour.
  • Exhibit and bathroom surfaces are disinfected twice daily.
  • Soft props (e.g., dress-up clothes, puppets, etc.) are laundered every day.
  • Hard props (e.g., play food, sand toys, etc.) are disinfected every day.
  • Items that require immediate attention (i.e., objects placed in a tiny mouth) are placed in cleaning bins throughout exhibits and disinfected before returning to the play area.
  • Classroom spaces are sanitized before each class/workshop.
  • We’ve pared down the quantity of props, removing items of particular concern.

The Museum remains open for play Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.  We are following best practice regarding our operations in accordance with guidelines provided by Association of Children’s Museums and Center for Disease Control (CDC).  Any vital updates pertaining to the museum will be posted on our homepage, and Facebook page.  Current programming announcements include the following:

  • Field trips scheduled within the next 30 days will be postponed, or cancelled.
  • The Museum will be limiting our daily visitor count to 250.  You may call before your visit, if you’d like to check on our daily count: (503) 371-3631.
  • Our Members Only Night, scheduled for March 13th, has been cancelled.
  • The Creative Space and The Gilbert Engineering Studio activities will cease for 30 days.

We ask that our visitors do their part in keeping the museum and our community a healthy place.  We encourage visitors to practice hygiene protocols of frequent handwashing (scrubbing for 20 seconds) or use of hand sanitizer.  We request that if you or your child are feeling unwell, that you refrain from visiting the museum for the benefit of others, until symptoms subside.  Thank you for helping Gilbert House Children’s Museum maintain a worry-free play environment.

There is no need for healthy individuals to refrain from play at the museum.  Talk with your children about fighting germs and illness by handwashing, eating healthy foods, and getting good rest.  Choose a favorite song to sing together for 20 seconds while washing hands, and model good hygiene.  To learn more about prevention, the World Health Organization (WHO) is a trusted resource we recommend.