Open on Monday, March 26th, for Spring Break!

Are you excited for SPRING BREAK? We’ll be open on Monday March 26th from 10 AM – 5 PM to celebrate! Along with our standard Tuesday – Sunday hours (10 AM – 5 PM). All throughout the week, we’ll lead small groups through an erosion science experiment outside and enjoy Springtime crafts! Plan your visits!!

Free Admission on President’s Day!


The Gilbert House Children’s Museum hosts its second annual Legacy of Play Day on Monday, February 19th, offering guests a day of free admission to explore 16 hands-on exhibits, with the addition of Discovery Booths and food trucks between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The event honors the legacy of Gilbert House Children’s Museum’s namesake A.C. Gilbert, a Salem-born scholar, inventor, Olympic athlete, entrepreneur, and magician. By offering a day of free admission, the museum hopes to strengthen a culture of innovation and play within the community.

“We are partnering with a number of organizations to offer fun, hands-on, family-oriented activities,” says Patricia McNab, Community Relations Coordinator at Gilbert House Children’s Museum.  “The list of participants this year includes PGE, Salem Clinic, Café Yumm, Girl Scouts of Oregon, Oregon Virtual Academy and more.  We are excited for this event to extend our mission of ‘inspiring children to learn through creative play.’”

As an added surprise for those in attendance, Gilbert House plans to unveil a new feature of the current All About Me exhibit, an exhibit which encourages children to explore health and medicine through hands-on pretend play.  At 10:30 a.m., guests are invited to gather for the release of an exhibit piece purchased from ScienceWorks Museum in Ashland, an effort sponsored by Willamette ENT.

“In an effort to educate the community about the function of the ear and how to keep our hearing healthy, Willamette ENT provided the funds to purchase the piece,” explains Exhibits & Facilities Coordinator Sierra Langford.  “We have been busy repainting the piece to coordinate with our beautiful ‘All About Me’ exhibit.”

In addition to outdoor Discovery Booth activities, Willamette ENT will host a booth offering free “swag” to guests, in celebration of the exhibit piece unveil.  Activities will run from 10 AM – 2 PM, with free museum admission until 5 PM.

Sponsors of the Legacy of Play Day include Portland General Electric, The City of Salem, Salem Clinic, and Café Yumm!

Gilbert House is CLOSED on January 15th

Open Monday, December 18th!

Kick off your winter break with a day at Gilbert House Children’s Museum!  We are open on Monday, December 18th, all day ( 10 AM – 5 PM) just for you!!  Join us for a festive gumdrop building challenge between 10 AM and 1 PM, or swing by the Gilbert Engineering Studio to build your own car! Visit our newest exhibit “Salem Station” or run out that holiday energy on our outdoor playground… See you there!

Gilbert House Launches New Transportation Exhibit!

Salem Station Grand Opening FB

A new transportation exhibit “Salem Station” launches at Gilbert House Children’s Museum on November 3, courtesy of Cherriots Trip Choice, Amtrak Cascades/ODOT, and generous community partners.

A grand opening for the “Salem Station” exhibit is set for Friday, November 3, at 10:30 a.m. The exhibit highlights different modes of transportation throughout Salem, and provides a hands-on experience for children to navigate, explore, and construct.

“Trains have long been a favorite experience at Gilbert House, and I am excited that we have expanded the opportunity to incorporate different modes of transportation,” says Alicia Bay, Executive Director of Gilbert House.  “A child will imagine a train ride, hop on a city bus, plan a route, design a city, and build bridges all in the same exhibit,” Bay continues.

A.C. Gilbert, the Salem-born man whom Gilbert House Children’s Museum is named after, focused on innovating and inventing, eventually creating the Erector Set, a toy which helped children discover that same spirit of innovation.  His idea for the Erector Set first came while riding a train from New Haven to New York.  Railroad crews were raising new power lines that would convert the train from steam to electricity.  Gilbert was fascinated by the architecture of the steel towers that carried the power lines, and this inspiration jumpstarted his engineering of the Erector Set.  Later, Gilbert purchased the rights to American Flyer trains.

“Salem Station” captures Gilbert’s love of transportation as it opens the mind to the world of engineering. “We are inspiring the next generation to be city planners, engineers, and committed citizens,” explains Bay. “I am certain this will become a new favorite of our visitors to Gilbert House!”

In preparation for this exhibit, Gilbert House staff consulted with Cherriots Trip Choice, Amtrak Cascades/ODOT, along with local craftsman Ric Smith of Smith & Steel Custom Design, to execute key elements of the design.  Visitors will recognize Salem landmarks, such as the Union Street bridge, as they enjoy an interactive tablescape, construction with magnetic blocks, and a child-size bus.

“We are excited to be a Gilbert House sponsor, and this museum exhibit reinforces our optimism for the future of public transit and the critical role it will play in the lives of generations to come,” states Bob Krebs, Cherriots board president.

Funding for the exhibit was also made possible by local philanthropists who provided a financial award to Gilbert House through participation in Nonprofit Share Tank earlier this year: Richard Pine, Rick Day, Dick Withnell, Dr. Selma Pierce, and Michael Wooters.