The New Children’s Museum is strongly committed to being a community resource, and currently have several programs that reach deeply into local communities and stimulate, cultivate and nurture creativity for children and families. During the Museum’s extended closure, we have expanded our access efforts to reach further into the San Diego community.

Access to Art and Creativity Out in the Community

During our closure, we have worked with our community partners to respond to their needs. Despite not being able to offer face-to-face interactions, we are reaching thousands of families with our Think Play Create Learning Kits, designed and assembled by our in-house team. We believe that providing learning kits, craft and art supplies to those who cannot afford it, helps children, educators and families get through these challenging times with creativity and hope. Our Think Play Create Learning Kits serve the following access programs:

pARTners in Creativity

We are providing learning art kits to social service organizations that are part of our pARTners in Creativity access program. Kits include standards-based lesson plans with a video tutorial, additional learning activities and art supplies for children and their families.

Organizations in our pARTners in Creativity program include: Braille Institute, Community ConNext, Migrant Education, Monarch School, Ronald McDonald House Charities, San Diego Center for Children, SDYS Foster Care, Support the Enlisted Project (STEP), USO San Diego, Vista Hills, Voices for Children and Words Alive.

This VSA program is provided in 2019-2020 under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

pARTners in Creativity is made possible through generous support from Autism Speaks, Charles and Ruth Billingsley Foundation, the Issa Family Foundation, Kiwanis Club of San Diego, the Maurice J. Masserini Trust, Maryanne and Irv Pfister, the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, Southwest Airlines and the USS Midway Foundation.

Mass Creativity

Mass Creativity is an artist-led community outreach program that involves the community to help provide inspiration for a new art installation in the Museum created by an artist-in-residence. This year’s Mass Creativity artist-in-residence, Panca, is working with the Museum to create a new installation called El Más Allá, inspired by free virtual workshops with seven community centers. Later this fall, we will be providing art kits inspired by Panca’s installation to the community centers. Learn more about Mass Creativity 2020 here.

Mass Creativity community centers include: Barrio Logan College Institute, Casa Familiar Civic and Recreation Center, City Heights Weingart Library, Paradise Hills at Skyline Library, The San Diego LGBT Center, Solutions for Change and South Bay Community Services.

Mass Creativity is made possible by Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Dow Divas Investment Club, US Bank, Cox Communications, Southwest, The Gossard Family, The City of San Diego, Chula Vista Cultural Arts Commission, County of San Diego and First 5 San Diego.

Lindsay Community School

The Museum is providing weekly virtual tutorials with lesson plans and art supplies for pregnant and parenting high school students of the Lindsay Community School. The program is centered on supporting these students’ specific needs as caregivers through experiences that allow them to tell their stories and connect with each other. View lesson plans here.

This program is made possible thanks to the generous support from the California Arts Council, a state agency. 

Virtual School Visits

Virtual School Visits are an online alternative to the Museum’s school visits program. Our Virtual School Visit classroom kits include an online video tour of the Museum’s art installations and studio spaces with standards-based art activities and supplies, and are made free to educators at Title 1 schools. Learn more about Virtual School Visits here.

The Virtual School Visit experience is made possible by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Additional support by County of San Diego, Nordson, Qualcomm and the Rice Family Foundation.

Innovators LAB

We are offering Innovators Toolboxes through the Museum’s makerspace, The Rosso Family Foundation Innovators LAB to our community partners. These STEAM-based kits are designed by artists and other professionals that include activities, art supplies and tools for hands-on exploration with art and science at home. Kits will provide fun design challenges and projects that build a child’s creativity, imagination and critical-thinking skills.

This project is made possible by the generous support of The Rosso Family Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Access to the Museum

When the Museum is open, we have a wide range of programs that provide free or deeply discounted access to the Museum for thousands of children and families.  Access programs include:

pARTners in Creativity

We partner with social service and other organizations that share our passion for providing educational experiences with art. Through pARTners in Creativity (when the Museum is open), we host group visits for children and families from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, with special needs or other life challenges. We have worked with numerous organizations over recent years, including: Braille Institute, Community ConNext, Migrant Education, Monarch School, Ronald McDonald House Charities, San Diego Center for Children, SDYS Foster Care, Support the Enlisted Project (STEP), USO San Diego, Vista Hills, Voices for Children and Words Alive. Voices for Children’s CASAs and their case foster children are also offered free visits.

Please contact our education department at education@thinkplaycreate.org for more information about pARTners in Creativity.

This VSA program is provided in 2019-2020 under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

pARTners in Creativity is made possible through generous support from Autism Speaks, Charles and Ruth Billingsley Foundation, the Issa Family Foundation, Kiwanis Club of San Diego, the Maurice J. Masserini Trust, Maryanne and Irv Pfister, the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, Southwest Airlines and the USS Midway Foundation.

Accessibility Mornings

The Museum hosts Accessibility Mornings quarterly throughout the year. With a variety of high-sensory activities and designated sensory-break zones, Accessibility Mornings provide children with disabilities and their families with the opportunity to explore the Museum with comfort and safety before the Museum opens to the general public (and then stay for the day if desired).

Due to the Museum’s closure during the COVID-19 pandemic, Accessibility Mornings 2020 events  have been canceled or postponed. In its place, we are providing online art resources and virtual arts programming from partner organizations. Click here to access these resources.

Salute Our Troops: Military Access

The Museum embraces military families and strives to provide an affordable, enriching place for them to feel appreciated and at home. When the Museum is open, we provide discounted admission to military personnel and their families, as well as participate in Blue Star Museums with over 2,000 museums nationwide to provide free admission between Armed Forces Day and Labor Day. Some military groups further serve their constituents through our Museum Pass program. See also the Partners In Creativity program that provides tailored art-making workshops for Support the Enlisted Project (STEP) and USO San Diego. Click here to watch a recap of our recent military breakfast kicking off Blue Star Museums!

The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Military and up to five family members. Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID) or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card.

Our military effort is sponsored in part by U.S. Bank, BAE Systems, the Epstein Family Foundation, the Issa Family Foundation, the USS Midway Foundation and the Walter J. & Betty C. Zable Foundation.

Museums for All Initiative

The Museum participates in Museums for All, a cooperative initiative between the Association of Children’s Museums and the Institute for Museums and Library Services that encourages families of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum habits. When the Museum is open, visitors can present a WIC Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and photo ID at the Welcome Desk to receive $1 admission for up to 4 people.

Check Out NCM Library Pass

The Museum offers a 10-day Museum Pass through San Diego City and County library branches. Thousands of children and families have been able to “check out” what the Museum has to offer for free through the Check Out NCM pass. These passes are valid for up to four people per visit.

Schools and Groups

Thousands of children each year come for school visits at little to no cost through our School Visits/Title I Access Program. We also work with an increasing number of organizations who serve children with disabilities and other life challenges.

See our education page for more information about our education resources and this program’s generous supporters.

CASAs

Our Museum maintains a partnership with Voices for Children and its CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program, granting free admission to children and CASA volunteers. To take advantage of our program, just come in to the Museum with your CASA identification card and your case child or children to enjoy a free day at the Museum. For more information contact us at education@thinkplaycreate.org.

Museum Collaborations

The Museum participates with San Diego’s 40+ museums through the San Diego Museum Council to provide free and discounted access for San Diego residents and tourists. The Museum provides half off in February (during Museum Month) and free admission for kids in October (through Kids Free October). The Museum is also an active member of the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) that nationally includes over 200 children’s museums. All Museum members receive half off admission at ACM member organizations across the United States.

In addition to the program funders listed within each of the categories above, access opportunities are generously supported by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

We Need Your Support!

Learn how you can support us during our closure through the reNEWing Hope Fund and shopping our online store.