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Philanthropy Cape-Style

Cape Cod Children’s Museum: Play Together

Text by Christina Galt

In 1990, The Cape Cod Children’s Museum was founded by a group of local moms with the goal of creating a safe space for children on the Cape to learn, play and have fun. Since its humble beginning in the Falmouth Mall, The Cape Cod Children’s Museum has called Mashpee home for the last 20 years and become the largest (and only) museum on the Cape dedicated entirely to children–welcoming over 50,000 guests and members annually.

The museum is open to the public, with a $12 admission fee per person. “We think our memberships are the best deal,” shares Executive Director Lisa Bates. The majority of their memberships are for four people, with two different main membership offers. They offer a year round membership, along with a September to June membership which is geared towards local families who take a break during the summer rush.

Bates announced that this year, the museum has a brand new exhibit as well as new membership called the “Sea Star” membership. This membership is for children under one, the “non walkers.” The Sea Star membership is essentially “bought” by the baby, allowing them to bring whomever they want with them to the museum– they’re the star. “We thought it would be the most flexible way to allow, grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents or nannies to bring them in for the day.”

Bates notes, “We have finally gotten to a place where we can use our admission and memberships to fund most of our operational expenses. It wasn’t always like that in the past, but now we can use grants and other donations to build bigger and better exhibits and add new programming.” The museum offers membership admission with discounts for military families, families receiving benefits, children in foster care, and more. Scholarships are also available for Cape Cod families in need.

“We recently introduced another fundraising piece, a business membership. A business can buy a membership here and use it for their employees, themselves, or clients. When a business buys a membership, we are able to provide a scholarship to another family that can’t afford to come to the museum; we call it a ‘BOGO’–you buy one and it gives one,” says Bates. “It’s a way for businesses on Cape Cod to help themselves, while also helping a local family in need.” Which coincides with the museum’s philosophy, “Play is the right of all children.”

Bates shares, “Our mission is ‘play together.’ What we strive for is families stopping and taking the time to enjoy each other. The kids are learning, having fun and playing while having the full attention of whomever brought them to the museum. That’s a big piece for us and for them to meet other children and play together– which we can do now.” She emphasizes, “I think it is the most important part. Sometimes people will say ‘we’re just a play space,’ which makes us laugh because that is a child’s job, and by playing they learn–we have thousands of opportunities for them to do that here. We are very proud of what we have accomplished so far and we are excited for what the future holds for the Cape Cod Children’s Museum.”

Cape Cod Children’s Museum in located at 577 Great Neck Road S in Mashpee. For more information, visit capecodchildrensmuseum.org or call 508-539-8788.



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