Growing up, museums and historic homes/sites were always on the itinerary of my family’s vacations. I have wonderful memories of exploring country music, baseball, art, science, and much more. Some families, however, may be hesitant to include these places. Will their kids be bored? Is there enough to hold their interest?
I can assure you that Kenosha’s five museums entertain, educate, and inspire those who walk through their doors. They have taken kids into consideration when designing their exhibits and programming. In fact, two museums recently redesigned space to offer even more exciting activities for kids. I’ve gotten the scoop (and photos) from Kristine Camilli, External Relations Manager with the Kenosha Public Museums, on these remodeling projects.
The Civil War Museum Resource Center
While a few kids’ activities were offered before (including dress-up), the Resource Center on the second floor of The Civil War Museum now features numerous activities for kids, including:
- a kid size cabin made out of giant Lincoln Logs
- a dollhouse
- children's books
- a play schoolhouse classroom with desks and a chalkboard
- a play kitchen
- Civil War era games
The Resource Center is open 12-5pm, Wednesday-Sunday. The Resource Center, as well as general admission to the museum, is free. There is a fee for people 16 and over to visit the main exhibit, The Fiery Trial.
Kenosha Public Museum Field Station
The Field Station on the first floor of the Kenosha Public Museum is designed to give kids an opportunity for hands-on exploration in the fields of art, science, and history.
Kristine shares: “There is a kid size wood cabin trading post that kids can play in, and trade real animal furs for ‘food’ and other supplies. In the art section, kids can discover colors and patterns on the sculpture wall. Additional art projects will change throughout the year based on the art exhibits on display in the second floor galleries. Currently, kids (and adults!) can create origami, or paint on Buddha Boards which is watercolor that disappears, teaching the artist to relax and let go.
On the opposite side of the room, drawers are filled with plastic bugs, butterflies, skulls and other specimens. In addition to learning about each of these, kids are encouraged to take them out of the drawers and put them in the display cabinets, thus creating their own Cabinets of Curiosities in the museum.
Along with these activities, there are plenty of ways for kids to use imagination like playing with several animal puppets, fishing for stuffed fish, or enjoying some quiet time in the reading nooks.”
The Field Station is open the same hours as the museum. The Field Station, as well as general admission to the museum, is free.
Our museums are located within a one-mile radius of each other – in Downtown Kenosha and near the Lake Michigan shore. Three are Smithsonian Institution Affiliates: The Civil War Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum, and Kenosha Public Museum. The Kenosha History Center preserves Kenosha’s automotive (including AMC) and industrial heritage. We even have a maritime museum: the seasonal Southport Light Station Museum.
Now grown up, museums and historic homes/sites are still on the itinerary of my vacations and staycations! I’m an auntie who enjoys seeing what excites the kids inside a museum. I also love to treat us with a few museum gift shop purchases … a few for them … and a few for me.