Located just a few short blocks from Monterey, California’s, world-renowned coastline, the Monterey County Youth Museum, otherwise known as MY Museum, is a place that families visit to engage their children in hands-on activities and exploration on a large scale. Children climb, build, touch, smell, see, and create at their own pace in an environment that is designed to encourage growth, discovery, and self esteem.
Formerly located on Cannery Row, MY Museum has moved to a larger facility on Washington Street in downtown Monterey. Children and parents alike have been anticipating the museum’s grand re-opening, and it was well worth the wait—it’s bolder, brighter, bigger, better, and busier than ever before. But don’t worry, the large well-planned space has been designed to accommodate a lot of busy little bodies.
Upon entering, children are greeted by a lighthouse that uses mirror images to display light and prisms through a giant kaleidoscope. MY Museum’s large colorful space is filled with familiar scenes and exhibits reflective of Monterey County—the beach, golf, and agriculture. There are also three replicas of some of California’s most recognized architecture: a Pacific Grove adobe, historic Carmel Mission, and Monterey’s first fire station. At the museum’s center, you’ll see MY ImagiTree, a fantastic tree house that fulfills every child’s dream. You’ll yearn to climb it, whether you’re four or forty.
Executive Director, Lauren Cohen, shares, “The theme for the new and improved MY Museum’s exhibits is What Makes Monterey County Special.” The museum’s designers traveled to various businesses and industries throughout Monterey County to explore ways of incorporating its world-famous industries. The agricultural industry chose to address the fundamental needs of cooperation, interdependence, and time-management involved in producing agriculture. These essential elements are cleverly displayed in the Ag-Exhibit, From Farm to Table. The medical industry wanted to remind people that there are many different professional opportunities in the medical field—physical therapists, anesthesiologists, X-ray technicians—not just doctors and nurses. MY Hospital incorporates this notion and much more in their “emergency room,” fully equipped with an ambulance and a life size “Operation” game.
Among all of the new interactive exhibits and play areas, there are five favorites from the original MY Museum that were too good to let go—the beloved fire truck; Build-a-House, now adjacent to an actual Victorian playhouse; the bubble machine; the magnetic exhibit; and, of course, the costumes, now known as MY Theater, complete with stage lighting, sound effects, and backstage dressing rooms. MY Creation Station is reminiscent of the former arts and crafts exhibit, however, it is much more sophisticated, with individual work stations, ample arts and crafts supplies, and, quite simply, a lot more room to create. All of the exhibits include interactive features to encourage cooperative play.
MY Museum has created an exceptional environment for families to spend quality time together and in doing so, has become an amazing California destination. Visitors from all over the world and from all walks of life can appreciate the magic at Monterey County Youth Museum, aptly named MY Museum and known as “the place children play to learn and adults learn to play.”