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The Power of Mothers Creates a Museum of Wonders At The Children's Museum of Sonoma County

By Elisha Neubauer

The Children's Museum of Sonoma County is the perfect example of what happens when a band of mothers come together for a common good.

Wanting something more for her children, Collette Michaud gathered together a group of friends with one intention in mind: to create a safe, welcoming, educational atmosphere for children and parents to gather and prosper.

Knowing there was a lack of nearby learning experiences for the youth of Sonoma County, Michaud and her co-conspirators created a local gathering place where parents, grandparents, and teachers could support a child's natural craving for curiosity and exploration.

"Inspired by my visits to children's museums across the country, I knew firsthand the need for providing children with enriched, learning experiences," Michaud said.

The program was granted a non-profit status and, in 2005, the Museum opened, although not in its current format. As the Museum was launched with absolutely no outside funding, it began as a Museum-on-the-Go. This mobile science and art outreach program quickly gained momentum and outgrew its home base several times. In 2008, the program received its first seed funding of $35,000 spread over three years. In 2011, the Museum entered into its first brick and mortar lease.

Since its first funding in 2005, the Museum has seen several grants, donations, and fundraisers. As the Museum began to grow, so did its buildings, with the permanent home opening to the public in 2014. Its mission is to inspire children's creativity and stimulate their curiosity to discover the world through playful exploration of the arts and sciences.

"The CMOSC property is a safe space for children and their parents alike to explore, imagine and play," Michaud said.

The Museum's play area is a combination of outdoor nature based exhibits and indoor exhibits, which are specifically designed to inspire creativity and learning in an enchanting way. Age-appropriate exhibits, such as the TOTopia and the Science and Imagination Gallery, draw in children with exhibits crafted for their precise mental stages. The Museum offers a perfect mix of activities, play, opportunities for socialization, and educational processes.

""Not a playground. Not a science museum. Not an adventure park. It is all of these together," Michaud said. "Children should be free to be children, and learn in the best way possible: through play.""

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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