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The Manitoba Children's Museum is a non-profit, charitable children's museum located at The Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.[1]

Manitoba Children's Museum
Manitoba Children's Museum at the Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba.JPG
Buhler Welcome Centre of Manitoba Children's Museum
Location45 Forks Market Road
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
R3C 4T6
TypeChildren's museum
Visitors135,000+ annually


The museum was founded in 1983. It opened its first exhibit in a 4,000 square feet (370 m2) warehouse on 21 June 1986.[1] The museum boasted three permanent galleries: the Grain Elevator and Train, Making Sense and The Big Top, and drew 65,000 visitors the first year.[2] The museum expanded at the location in 1988, doubling its space.[1][2]

In 1989 plans were initiated to move the museum to a new space. In 1994, after a $4 million capital campaign, the museum moved to its permanent home at the former Kinsmen Building[2] (also known as the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Repair Shop or the CNR Bridges and Structures Building)[3] in The Forks.[1] The building at the Forks location is the oldest surviving train repair facility in Manitoba.[1] Constructed in 1889 by the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Company, the building originally included a machine and blacksmith shop, engine house and a ten-stall roundhouse and turntable.[1] Designed by John Woodman, it was typical example of a late nineteenth-century industrial building and was formally recognized as a Provincial Heritage Site on 22 March 1995.[3]

Entrance to Manitoba Children's Museum

Following a $10M capital campaign in 2010 and 2011 which included the development of 12 new permanent galleries, a renovated Arts & Exhibition Centre, and the Buhler Welcome Centre addition, the Children's Museum reopened to the public in celebration of its 25th birthday on 4 June 2011.[2] The 12 galleries were designed as separate structures so that if one is under repair or construction, it does not affect the other galleries.[2] The galleries were designed by Montreal's Toboggan Design.[2] The 2011 renovation included the addition of a new 3,500 square feet (330 m2) Welcome Centre,[4] that includes a new admissions desk, museum shop and lunch room.[2]

The majority of the funding for the renovations came from the federal government ($2.5 million under Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund and $1.25 million under Infrastructure Canada’s Infrastructure Stimulus Fund), the provincial government ($1.25 million) and the City of Winnipeg ($446,000). The rest of the funding came from private donors, including philanthropists John and Bonnie Buhler ($800,000), as well as other fundraising activities.[4]


The Children’s Museum features twelve permanent galleries.[5] Visitors can hop aboard the authentic 1952 diesel locomotive and 1910 Pullman passenger coach, explore the five-storey tall Lasagna Lookout, test their perceptions in the giant Illusion Tunnel, perform water experiments in Splash Lab, and much more. A toddler exclusive space, Tot Spot serves the needs of the museum’s smallest visitors.

The museum provides public services, programs, workshops and special events - including memberships, spring and summer day camps, birthday parties, museum rentals, and more.

18% of the museum's operating budget comes from supporting levels of the government. Earned revenue (including admission and membership fees, shop sales, birthdays, and museum rentals) and fundraising initiatives cover the remaining 82% of operating costs.[6]


Current museum galleries include:

The museum is also home to the historic Eaton's fairytale vignette display, Eaton's "Santa's Village", which is open seasonally from mid-November to early January for the holidays. The display has been fully restored and relocated from the ninth floor annex of the Eaton’s downtown store. The display includes fifteen vignettes including classics such as Cinderella, Humpty Dumpty, and Three Blind Mice.[19]

Previous galleries include:

  • The Tree & Me
  • WonderWorks
  • OurTV
  • LiveWire
  • The Sun

The Childrens museum hosts a different travelling seasonal gallery every summer. These galleries have been:

  • Tapescape
  • Castle builders
  • Run jump fly


The museum is affiliated with the Canadian Museums Association (CMA), the Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC), the Association of Children's Museums (ACM), the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN), and the Virtual Museum of Canada.

Awards & RecognitionEdit

  • Listed as a "Manitoba Star Attraction" by Travel Manitoba.[20][21]
  • Received Rand McNally's "Best of the Road" Attraction in the 2010 Road Atlas.[22][23]
  • Voted "Best Place for a Children's Party", "Best Place to Take Your Child on a Crummy Day", and "Best Indoor Play-Place" by readers of Winnipeg Parent Newsmagazine in 2011.[21]
  • "Shop", the museum's gift store, has routinely received an excellent grade from Project Peacemakers for their "Violence is Not Child's Play" annual toy inspections.[21]
  • Recognized as an International Reading Association "Celebrate Literacy Award" Winner by the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg in 2011.[21]
  • Recognized as Where Magazine's "Best New or Improved Attraction" Winner in 2011.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "About the Children's Museum". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Vesely, Carolin (2 June 2011). "Bigger, better Children's Museum set to reopen after $10-million makeover". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Repair Shop". Canada's Historic Places. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  4. ^ a b "GOVERNMENTS CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF THE MANITOBA CHILDREN'S MUSEUM RENOVATIONS" (PDF). Manitoba Children's Museum. 18 August 2011. p. 2. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Children's Museum Now Open to the Public" (PDF). Manitoba Children's Museum. 6 June 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  6. ^ "Children's Museum posts surplus budget for 2011" (PDF). Manitoba Children's Museum. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Time Squared". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Tot Spot". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Tumble Zone". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Mellow Marsh". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  11. ^ "Illusion Tunnel". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Junction 9161". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  13. ^ "Engine House". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  14. ^ "Story Line". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Milk Machine". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  16. ^ "Splash Lab". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Pop m'Art". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  18. ^ "Lasagna Lookout". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  19. ^ "EATON'S FAIRYTALE VIGNETTES". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  20. ^ "Manitoba Children's Museum". Travel Manitoba.
  21. ^ a b c d e "2011 Annual Report" (PDF). Manitoba Children's Museum. p. 3. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  22. ^ "About Us". Manitoba Children's Museum. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  23. ^ "Best of the Road". Best of the Road Blog. 9 September 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2012.

External linksEdit