I’ve lived in Portland for 13 years and I can’t remember the last time we had so many snow days. Growing up in Oregon, snow was a commodity that didn’t come around too often but when it did, we made the most out of it. The main goal being, of course, for school to be cancelled. My sisters and I would wake up early every morning there was even a hint of snow in the forecast just to see the word “CLOSED” scrolling across the bottom of the TV next to the name of our school district.
Now, working at Portland Children’s Museum, I find myself torn between loving the snow and not looking forward to it. Falling snow is so beautiful to watch and it makes everything quiet and peaceful. Of course there is sledding and the occasional snow ball fight that makes us feel like kids again to look forward to. But I feel unsettled when we can’t open our doors to families who want to come to visit. Typically, when schools are closed for holidays, the Museum is hopping with guests. But when our own staff can’t safely get to the Museum on snow days that means no fun for anyone. It’s not just because children won’t get to play, after all, they can play anywhere. It’s because the Museum offers a wide canvas for children to use their big imaginations and grow as human beings. The Museum is chalk full of areas to explore and objects to be curious about. There are so opportunities to collaborate with friends, parents, professional artists, and natural materials—or just play as an individual.
So when it snows and we can’t open the Museum doors, it’s both disheartening to think about all the creativity that will have to wait, and exciting to wonder how I’m going to safely get my car out of Washington Park.
-Written by Mary Beebe, Marketing and Communications Manager at Portland Children’s Museum