Central Oregon is known for the high desert landscape and outdoor recreation, but lacks informal learning opportunities and educational programming for the youngest members of the community. For decades, research has shown that understanding STEAM concepts begins in infancy (Wiley 2012, Butterworth 2005), but engagement and play opportunities based on these concepts still lag for young children. Caregivers and educators recognize this need, but often find themselves with limited resources.
In an increasingly complex world, a Children’s Museum is a place where children and their families can experience the world through hands-on-play and exploration in surroundings designed just for them. At CMCO, visitors will step into a rich and immersive environment of STEAM-based exhibits and programming that is firmly grounded in the local environment and history of Bend and Central Oregon. As the only region in Oregon without a Children’s Museum, CMCO will become a much needed quality of life resource for informal, hands-on family learning. With a deep commitment to accessibility and inclusion, CMCO will be a community connector across the region and a place where visitors feel welcomed and accepted.