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A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village

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A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village is a private nonprofit children's museum located in downtown Salem's Riverfront Park. Founded in 1989, A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village provides innovative and stimulating educational experiences which spark children's natural curiosity. The Village's mission is to "inspire children of all ages to learn and grow through play." This is accomplished through fun and challenging exhibits, summer camps, birthday parties, membership opportunities and outreach programs in the sciences, arts, and humanities.

After graduating from Yale with a degree in medicine and earning an Olympic gold medal in the pole vault, A.C. Gilbert created the Erector Set, an engineering toy that enabled a young child to build such items as Ferris wheels and bridges. He later marketed a variety of other educational toys ranging from American Flyer trains to Mysto Magic sets, chemistry and telegraph sets. With his toys, Gilbert hoped to combine fun with an understanding and appreciation of science. Gilbert realized that a child needed playthings that would encourage creative expression and satisfy a natural curiosity about the world.

A.C. Gilbert was born in Salem, Oregon, on February 15th, 1884. Today, his uncle's Victorian home, the A.T. Gilbert House, is one of three structures that house our museum's exhibits. A display of vintage Gilbert toys and inventions along with an exhibit chronicling his exciting life is located in the Parrish House. At the end of his life, A.C. Gilbert held 150 patents for his inventions. This creative genius that believed that "playing is essential to learning," serves as a wonderful inspiration and namesake for our hands-on, interactive museum.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation:
Mon10:00 AM5:00 PM
Tue10:00 AM5:00 PM
Wed10:00 AM5:00 PM
Thr10:00 AM5:00 PM
Fri10:00 AM5:00 PM
Sat10:00 AM5:00 PM
Sun12:00 PM5:00 PM
Notes: The museum is closed on: January 14-18, 2013 New Year's Day Easter Thanksgiving Day Christmas Day The museum is closes early on the following holidays: Christmas Eve at 3 p.m. New Year's Eve at 3 p.m. Inclement weather: In the event of inclement weather, the museum may close the Outdoor Discovery Center or close completely.


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