While the Souris Valley Museum has been open to the public since July 6, all this time their programming was available in online format only.
October marks the month when they will get back to more traditional in-person programs and camps with a safety twist.
Museum executive director Mark Veneziano said that museum is starting some in-person I Am series, as well as No School Days and camps, following all regulations issued by the Saskatchewan Public Health Authority.
“We are able to start doing some programs for the community to attend,” Veneziano said.
No School Day workshops for kids ages six to 10 are coming back as well, but the format and capacity of the activities will change.
“We are restricting both programs to only six participants, so that way we could ensure safety for the participants and staff.”
The museum will also only have kids attending half days to allow for more children to enjoy the fun and engaging activities. For No School Days, parents can register either for morning sessions for 9 a.m.-12 p.m. or afternoon sessions, 1-4 p.m.
On Oct. 26, the museum will have a Creepy Crawly day. In November there will be three No School Days, with such topics as Prehistoric Times, Who did It and Game Over – History of Video Games.
“That way we can ensure that things get properly sanitized between sessions,” explained Veneziano.
The I Am series are for children ages three to five. The morning sessions are 10:30-11:30 a.m. and afternoon sessions are 1-2 p.m. Oct. 16 sessions will be I Am a Monster and Nov. 13 sessions will be I Am a Firefighter.
Veneziano stressed that they have enhanced cleaning procedures, besides, they space kids’ working areas. The staff and volunteers are wearing masks, which is not mandatory but recommended for guests.
There is also a bigger event coming to the Souris Valley Museum in October. Following the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s regulations, the museum will host Spooky Museum Family Fun on Oct. 31.
“It’s for families to come out on Halloween day. We are opening up the museum for activities. We are offering sessions throughout the day starting at 10 o’clock and going until 4 p.m. We are asking families to book times, and families have 45 minutes to explore and participate in activities,” said Veneziano.
The high-touch areas will be cleaned after each session.
“It’s going to be a fun day for families. It’s definitely going to be different for staff and volunteers due to all the sanitation measures, but we are following that to ensure that everyone is safe.”
The Halloween event is $2 per child, parents are free and costumes are highly encouraged for both children and parents. Veneziano also said that people should book their sessions sooner rather than later because spots are filling up quickly.
There is also a new program coming to the museum in November. They’ve partnered with Limitless, which is a not for profit organization promoting healthy living for children with disabilities, to bring in the program called Old Timey Craft Hour. The program will take place on Mondays at 5-6 p.m. at the museum. For more information and to register, people can contact Limitless via email@example.com. The program capacity is limited to six participants as well.
November will also see the museum doing in-person fall camps. While virtual summer camps that the museum had to come up with due to the pandemic were quite popular, many parents said that it “just wasn’t the same.” So now the museum is trying to catch up and provide more exciting experiences for their young patrons.
Camps will be one or two days. Museum Curator Camp will take place on Nov. 7 and 14 for kids ages nine-15. Participants will have an opportunity to explore the museum’s collections, learn what curators do at museums and organize their own exhibitions. The other two camps will be one-day. The Dirty Jobs Camp will take place on Nov. 14, and children ages six to 10 will learn about messy jobs.
And on Nov. 20, the museum will host the Camp of Curiosity, where young patrons ages three-five will be exploring things that people find curious.
On Nov. 19 the museum will also host an event called History and Coffee, which is for the seniors in the community to come out, enjoy a cup of coffee and have a good time with friends.
“The museum will be providing some of our reference materials about the history of Estevan and they will be more than welcome to go through all the books that we have referencing Estevan’s history,” said Veneziano.
The museum wasn’t able to host their annual Senior High Tea this summer, so they decided to try out a new format for the event. They are also hoping to have a conversation with guests about what seniors would like to do at the museum in the future. If the event proves to be popular, it may become a monthly occasion.
“We are truly looking forward to a busier November and we hope that a lot of people will take advantage of our fall camps,” said Veneziano.
The museum is open to the public and walk-ins are welcome. But people are encouraged, if possible, to call in advance to book their self-guided morning or afternoon tour times. That way the staff can ensure the proper sanitization between groups and the particular time will be reserved and guaranteed to the visitors who booked in advance.
To book any kind of activity people can call 306-634-5543 or do so on the website at sourisvalleymuseum.com.