Value of the museum for the whole family to connect

by Michelle Steele

I first visited the Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester during the last week of the museum’s very first exhibit. I was immediately impressed by the quality of the exhibits, how developmentally appropriate they were, and how my children could play and make messes that I did not have to clean up. We immediately became members.

We had just renewed our museum membership when I learned my four-year-old son had kidney cancer. Our family was devastated and the diagnosis turned our world on its head.

We endured six months of surgeries, hospital stays, and chemotherapy appointments. As a stay-at-home mom, it was a very difficult time for our family. Our lives had been completely upended, now all about doctor visits and hospitals and void of the socializing and fun we’d been enjoying before the diagnosis.

When my son finished his cancer treatment, we returned to the museum for the first time in six months. We were greeted with open arms, and it felt wonderful to get back to normal, to play and connect again to see my son resume “normal” life and just be a boy again.

There is so much value in the power of play, the power of discovery, the power of imagining and learning together. The Children’s Museum of Rochester is the perfect place to do that as a family.

As our community grows and attracts more visitors, we must advocate for places like the Children’s Museum that provide space for quality of life, education, and connectedness to intersect – for people of all ages. Please reach out and engage our city leaders in conversations about the value of this powerful community asset.

Michelle Steele, parent, longtime museum member, parent advisory committee, and helped with fundraising efforts

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