Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the appropriate age range for the Museum?
Exhibits are designed for children ages two to ten years old. However, older siblings (and grown-ups) enjoy being the play guide for younger relatives.
When is the best time to visit the Museum? Are there busy seasons?
Determining the best time to visit depends on what sort of activity level you are seeking for your child. If you would like your child to have the opportunity to play and interact with various ages of children, then weekdays and weekend mornings may be the best time. If you are looking for quieter time with your child, weekday afternoons after 2 pm are ideal. During our field trip season (April through mid-June) we typically see a high volume of school field trips Tuesday-Friday between the hours 10 am – 2 pm. You may call the Museum before your visit to inquire about a specific day, and we can provide information about Museum activity and school group visits.
A note about school group visitors:
School group visits are an important part of the Museum’s mission, “inspiring children to learn through creative play.” By reaching out to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit the Museum, group visits provide students the opportunity to have a hands-on and interactive learning experience outside of the traditional classroom.
How long does it take to visit the Museum?
On average, many of our visitors explore the Museum for about an hour and a half. We advise planning for 1-3 hours. However, many families like to take their time and spend a few hours enjoying the exhibits and activities. When the weather is nice, you can spend hours outside exploring our 20,000 ft² Outdoor Discovery Area!
Is the Bubble Room still there?
In 2012, we had to remove the Bubble Room because of extensive water damage caused to the historic Gilbert House from over 20 years of bubble fun in that room.
Is the museum wheelchair/stroller accessible?
Because our exhibits are housed in three unique historical houses, the first level of each house is accessible by wheelchair, which includes about half the exhibits. The Outdoor Discovery Area is accessible all the way up to the Erector set climbing tower.
Persons who cannot make it to upstairs exhibits due to wheelchair accessibility will be admitted at ½ regular admission rate. One attendant who stays with this individual will be admitted free of charge. If you have any questions about accessibility and would like help planning your visit, please call us at the Museum at 503-371-3631.
There is no formal stroller parking but they can be left in the Museum lobby. Gilbert House Children’s Museum is not responsible for any lost or stolen items. We ask that you not take your stroller into the exhibits, except under special circumstances, to ensure there is adequate circulation for all guests. Strollers may be used for the comfort of sleeping babies.
Do you have lockers or a place to put my personal items?
We do not have lockers or coat storage. The Museum is not responsible for lost or stolen items. If you need to return to your car, please take your children with you and do not leave them unattended.
What about other special restrictions?
For the comfort of our visitors and their families, we are a weapons-free zone. We ask that visitors not bring any sharp objects or concealed weapons into the Museum.
When is the Museum closed?
The Museum is closed on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We also close early on Christmas Eve. Every September, we are closed for a week for annual maintenance. We are closed on Mondays when school is in session—see our hours page for more information.
Where can we enjoy a snack or lunch?
You are welcome to bring your own food and have a picnic! There are picnic tables available outside, benches in our courtyard, and a covered pavilion area with some tables and seating. We also have a few snacks, drinks, and hot coffee available in our gift shop. Please note that only covered beverages are allowed in our indoor exhibits.
Where can I park?
There is free parking under the bridge in front of the Museum. The city-metered parking lot and permit lot marked by signs are monitored by the city and available at no cost during weekends and legal holidays. Please pay attention to all posted parking signs. Riverfront Park, just down the street from us, has many events throughout the spring and summer and our parking will occasionally be impacted due to proximity. Please refer to the City of Salem’s website for more information about available free parking in the downtown area.
Can I leave and come back?
All visitors get a hand stamp and can use it to come back to the Museum on the same day. Please keep your receipt with you as well.
Where on site can I nurse my child?
Mothers are free to nurse without exception; please feel free to nurse anywhere, anytime. If you are seeking a quieter spot, there is a big comfy chair in the Play Room specifically in mind for nursing moms, as well as in the Gilbert House Family Room. It’s a quiet room next to Tinker Tracks in the Gilbert House.
What is the easiest way to find out about current offerings?
- Email: The Museum sends out a bimonthly e-newsletter with current events and activities. Sign up using the opt-in in the left sidebar.
- Website: The Museum makes best efforts to ensure that our extensive website contains the most current visitor information. Visit our calendar here.
- Facebook: Like and check our Facebook page often for more information about Museum happenings.
- Printed flyer: A small flyer about monthly events is available at the Front Desk.
- Museum signage: Refer to the bulletin boards located in the front entrance and throughout the site to learn about day-of and/or upcoming offerings during your visit.
What does your sign mean “You May Be In Pictures” at the Front Desk?
Gilbert House Children’s Museum occasionally takes photographs and video of Museum visitors and activities which may be included in future media or marketing materials. With admission into the museum, you give permission for the Museum for the recording of photographs and/or video of yourself, your dependents, and accompanying group. You grant the Museum all rights to use these images for educational, promotional, advertising, and other purposes which advance the overall mission of the Museum, “inspiring children to learn through creative play.” All rights to the photographs and video belong to the Museum. We never use identifying information with a child’s image. Please notify the Front Desk if you do not consent to this policy due to safety concerns. If you see a staff photographer wearing a Museum nametag taking pictures, feel free to let them know if you do not want to be photographed.
I don’t have any children but I am a kid at heart, can I come and enjoy the museum?
Please note that Gilbert House Children’s Museum exhibits and programs are designed for children, ages 2-10, with the following admission policy:
- Minors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult—we do not admit children without an adult.
- Parents under the age of 18 are always welcome with their own children.
- If you are interested in viewing our museum or our A.C. Gilbert exhibit in particular, our visitor services staff will be happy to give you a brief tour of our facility.
- The Museum reserves the right to refuse admission.
Why do adults need to pay admission at a children’s museum?
The Museum’s mission is to create a community where children and their grown-ups learn through play. All of our exhibits have been designed for adults and children to play and learn together. We encourage you to explore and experience our Museum with your children and are certain that you will “play” too.
What if my child gets hurt?
We have visitor services staff that is trained in basic first aid and can assist with minor injuries. Please notify a staff member with a purple lanyard and/or the front desk immediately if an accident should occur.
How can I become a volunteer at the Gilbert House?
We’re glad you asked! Please see our volunteer page, where you can find more information and submit an interest form to our Volunteer Coordinator.