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Multi-million dollar children’s gallery

Three-year-old Sophie with a dinosaur skeleton in the museum’s sandpit. Picture: Josie Hayden. Source: Herald Sun.

Michelle Pountney, Melbourne Museum opens $5.8 million Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery, Herald Sun, 4 December 2016

A new multi-million dollar children’s gallery isn’t Melbourne Museum’s only gift to Victoria’s tots, with the museum to give new babies a special present next year.

The museum’s new children’s gallery opens for business today and its developers and testers were as young as just a few months old.

The new $5.8 million Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery is designed for children from birth to age five and more than 500 tiny tots helped developers fine tune the final inclusions.

And to celebrate, Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos launched the beginning a special gift for every Victorian child born, fostered or adopted in 2017.

The Museum Generation will gift a free six-month household membership for two adults and up to four children) to Museums Victoria, ensuring everyone can access, enjoy, play and learn in the brand new space.

“Access to quality early-learning experiences is critical for all children and this new gallery brings together learning, creativity and play in a powerful way,’’ Ms Mikakos said.

Melbourne Museum education and community programs manager Georgie Meyer said children from local childcare centres, kinders and other groups took part in workshops, design, development and testing of the new 2000sq m space.

“This new space is very much dedicated to the learning needs and play space for the very young child, from babies to five-year-olds,” Ms Meyer said.

“The original children’s gallery was built when the Museum was built in 2000 so it was 16 years old and time for a refresh.

“That space was aimed at three to eight year olds but so much more is now understood about how learning occurs from birth and how a child’s brain develops from birth and the importance of coming to cultural institutions and making them welcoming for babies and toddlers.”

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