Step 1: Download the Great Bitterroot Gingerbread Journey map and see the amazing gingerbread creations!
Step 2: Buy tickets and vote for your favorites!
Step 3: The more times you vote, the more chances YOU have to win $1,000!
Do you want to take a sweet creation home for the holidays AND get 2x the chances to win $1,000?
All our amazing gingerbread creations are also for sale...just click the link below!
Any houses not sold will be auctioned off at the holiday Culture Crawl at Explore the ARTS on Saturday, Dec. 9th, noon-3 PM.
Saturday, Nov. 18th 1-5pm
Come decorate your very own gingerbread house with Mrs. Claus and her helpers! There will also be keepsake ornaments, fun holiday activities, and a service project make-and-take!
$30 fee per house for one adult OR one child/one adult working together.
The Bitterroot Discovery Children's Museum is a new nonprofit organization working under the fiscal sponsorship of Bitter Root RC&D. The museum is being formed to provide an engaging environment for children and their caregivers where they are able to participate in unique educational and cultural programs and exhibits centered in discovery and play. Our primary focus will be centered around the specific developmental needs of early learners, ages 18 months through primary school, and their caregivers. Although this is our target audience, we intend on creating an inclusive environment that attracts and encourages far-reaching community participation and tourism opportunities.
Our facility will house twelve individual exhibit rooms containing both permanent and rotating exhibits. Each room will be designed around a unique theme. The exhibit rooms will be developed in such a way as to promote scaffolded learning opportunities for participants. Multiple educational topics will be included in each exhibit room for an interdisciplinary experience. Exhibits will be highly visual and immersive spaces. Signage will be designed for older guests and caregivers to assist and encourage their participation as the teaching facilitators to their younger children.
In addition to the exhibit rooms, we will have administrative offices, an exhibit production workshop, a coat/locker/stroller room, two classrooms, a fenced outdoor children’s garden, and a community flex space, which can be utilized for meetings, parties, or other civic functions as needed. We will also house a small gift shop which will sell affordable branded museum items and unique educational toys and games not readily available in “big-box” stores.
We will offer weekly volunteer-lead programming, including story times, art, music and movement, STEM/tinkering, and citizenship. Monthly events will include opportunities for outside partnerships, such as special performances, guest visitors, and workshops. We will also hold larger quarterly events, summer camps, as well as an annual community-wide fundraising event.
We realize that after-school childcare is of critical importance to the families of the Bitterroot valley. We will not serve in a day-care capacity; however, we do intend to provide multiple opportunities for children to participate in programs for small groups of up to five children who will be chaperoned by a paid staff member. Their time at the museum will include both structured activities as well as free-play time. These programs will be designed for 3-4-hour blocks, and have weekly or monthly registration fees.
In order for The Bitterroot Discovery Children's Museum to come to fruition and be viable, it may be necessary to have the physical facilities donated. There are several children’s museums across the nation who have worked with local leaders to utilize government-owned properties in order to bring added revenue streams and tourism to their communities. Likewise, partnerships have been successfully managed between children’s museums and local school districts to provide added enrichment to students. Ideally, the Bitterroot Discovery Children's Museum would like to locate in the downtown Hamilton area. We are interested in partnering with Ravalli County, the City of Hamilton, or the Hamilton School District to locate a facility that would be mutually beneficial. Alternatively, privately-owned space that is donated for long-term use may be acceptable.
Because of the extreme importance and nature of the museum’s particular physical requirements, our fundraising efforts will largely be impacted by the facilities we are able to secure and the support of our local leadership.
The mission of the Bitterroot Discovery Children's Museum is to provide a nurturing environment for children and their caregivers where they can explore the world through exhibits and programming rooted in hands-on discovery and the power of play.
The vision of the Bitterroot Discovery Children's Museum is to be a resource dedicated to supporting all children, their families, and their community by creating a welcoming space for meaningful experiences, memorable connections, and learning through discovery.
We respect children and the adults who support them. We strive to understand, accept, and support each individual in our community.
We believe play is essential to healthy development and lifelong learning. We believe that play has the ability to change the world.
We know that families are our children’s first and most important teachers, and our efforts are geared toward strengthening and empowering families, in all their shapes and unique circumstances.
We value the kaleidoscope of culture, and look for ways to create new connections and insights. We celebrate community and seek innovative ways to grow and evolve with our neighbors, while honoring our roots and those who came before us.
Play is one of the most important aspects of early childhood education. It is through play that children first engage, explore, and interact with the world around them. Play gives children access to a safe space for mastering the world around them, which aids in the development of confidence and resilience to face future challenges. Play allows children to learn to work with others, to share and negotiate, as well as to practice conflict resolution and self-advocacy. In addition, play can lead children to discover their own areas of interests and aptitudes.
The importance of creative play in a child’s healthy development has been well supported by decades of research. 90% of brain development happens before the age of five, and one of the most important ways young children learn is through the foundational building blocks of play. Play contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children.
In addition to the many positive aspects it has on a developing child, play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to fully engage with their children in meaningful ways. The interactions which occur through play communicate to children that their parents are fully paying attention to them, which can strengthen and encourage strong relationships. Parents who play with their children often learn to communicate more effectively and nurture their children in ways that are often overlooked during day to day life.
Despite all the research, studies show that creative, open-ended play is being seriously endangered in the US and many other countries by being pushed out of children’s lives due to economic pressures, a more hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure, increased importance placed on academic proficiency, and dependence on electronic entertainment.
Click below to read an exceptionally thoughtful article about the power of play and its importance on early childhood development. Written by David Elkind for the National Museum of Play.
Discovery museums are known for being joyful spaces that focus on facilitating the important informal learning that occurs through play. By their very design, they are uniquely equipped to facilitate experiential, open-ended inquiry and learning.
Discovery museums are a community-wide investment in children and families. These institutions allow for educational partnerships with schools by bringing learning to life and reinforcing skills needed for academic achievement.
As cultural attractions, discovery museums also have a decisive impact on local economy by functioning as local destinations that naturally attract visitors into downtown areas. Additionally, discovery museums strengthen entire communities by serving as entry points for partnerships that involve schools, youth organizations, nonprofits, corporate partners, and community leaders.
And, they’re fun!
Read what the Association of Children's Museums has to say about discovery museums and how they benefit children, their caregivers, and their communities!
Our community is blessed with natural beauty, a thriving local agriculture movement, outdoor recreation opportunities including park access, trails and rivers, a vibrant art scene, tech and medical businesses, and close-knit neighborhoods. However, economic hardships and inadequate access to educational resources are also a way of life. While there is access to several paid opportunities for recreation and informal learning experiences, not all community members are able to participate due to the price tag.
Area children are also supported with limited access to community programs through museums and libraries, however there is no continually available provider for children’s programming in the valley. Based on research modeling on education in rural communities, this uneven distribution of learning experiences may contribute to placing students in the Bitterroot valley at a long-term disadvantage over students from larger communities. With a focus on highlighting the many positive characteristics of our community and providing a venue designed with access to all—regardless of economic status, we feel the time to invest in our children is NOW.
Click below to read, "Addressing the Challenges of Rural Students," by Daniel Bailey for the George Lucas Foundation, whose mission is to transform K-12 education so that all students can acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive in their studies, careers, and adult lives.
We would not be able to bring this museum to our community without the support of the Bitter Root RC&D as our fiscal sponsor! Please click below to learn more about this great organization!