What’s Happening in the Museum?

Maintenance & Holiday closures

Please note: We will be closed Nov. 21-24 for facility maintenance needs and the Thanksgiving Holiday. We apologize for any inconvenience. Next month we will be closed Dec. 24, 25, and 31, as well as Jan. 1, 2018. We wish you and your family a joyous holiday season!


Join us for a holly, jolly First Friday in December

Friday, Dec. 1 is First Friday and admission is free for everyone from 5 – 7 p.m.! We’ll be making bookmarks and will help get you in the holiday spirit with karaoke and an ornament making activity for the kids. The ornaments will be placed on our tree here in the museum, but you’re invited to return after the holidays and retrieve your ornament so you can decorate your own home with it next year. It promises to be a fun evening for the entire family!


It’s a holiday celebration downtown, Dec. 2

Don’t miss the Parade of Lights on Saturday, Dec. 2! Between 12 pm and 5 pm, there will be all sorts of family-friendly activities downtown, including a winter mitten craft for kids to do here in the museum! Santa arrives at the Florence Building at 1 pm, and there will be free carriage rides at the corner of Pine and Pattee Streets.  At 6 pm, the parade travels down Higgins Ave. to the XXXXs where caroling and the lighting of the tree will follow. We’ll be open regular hours that day (10 am – 5 pm) and provide a great place for the family to warm up and have a little fun! For the full schedule of events, click here.


Give the gift of membership

Share all that you love about Families First Children’s Museum with your friends and family! With a gift of membership to our organization, you can experience our exhibits, programs, and classes together. It’s a gift that lasts a full year and promises to bring hours of fun and laughter! Memberships may be purchased at the front desk of the museum or by calling (406) 541-7529. You may also email Sarah, our museum manager, or click here.  Don’t forget, admission passes and Play-All-Day passes also make great stocking stuffers.


Welcome Nacho!

We’re very pleased to welcome Nacho Tejerina to our museum team. Nacho is a college student from Spain pursuing a degree in marketing from UM. As part of his class requirements, he’ll be helping plan some exciting First Friday events and social media marketing campaigns for the months ahead. He’ll also be helping out with other activities around the museum! We’re excited to have Nacho join us—and excited about the ideas he’s already helped to hatch. We’re sure you will be too!



The Halloween Bash was a big hit—Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who attended this year’s Halloween Bash! We welcomed over 200 children and family members dressed as ghosts, goblins and all things Halloween and it was a bewitchingly good time! Special thanks go to Museum Manager Sarah Osteen and Museum Assistant Mary Fussell who transformed the museum so magically and to the entire museum team—Mingzhu Yuan, Katelyn Scholle, Mikaya Terzo and Amanda Wilgus— as well as our volunteers Pam Carlton and Board Members Sharon Rhodes and John Strong making the day memorable for everyone who attended. We’d also like to thank our entertainers–“Spiderwoman” Sarah Clark, violinist Geoffrey Paul Taylor and Family Education Director Claire Phinney for putting on the oozing pumpkin show!  Of course, none of this would have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors: First Security Bank; Garlington, Lohn & Robinson;  Milodragovich, Dale & Steinbrenner; and Biga Pizza. Please show them your appreciation!




Our 15th annual Halloween Bash will be held on Sunday Oct. 29, from 12 – 5 pm and promises to be a Spooktacular event like none you’ve seen before! We invite you and your kids to join us and travel through the Snowy Arctic Graveyard and the Haunted Forest; explore the “Monster Mouth” and toss  snakes (not real ones of course!) in the snake pit! You can even bob for treats in the water table, play put put golf with a ghoulishly goofy pumpkin and take part in the freakishly fun spooky dance party! It will be an afternoon of special fun for kids that will include games, treats, and entertainment every hour on the hour between 1 and 4 pm!

Everyone is encouraged to come in costume and we’ll have extra dress-up gear on-hand in the lobby for for little ones who might like to wear a costume but arrive without one.  Admission is $5 per person (Sorry, membership benefits do not apply for this special event!) Join us and get your goblin on!

For more information, call (406) 541-7529!

Exciting schedule set for museum programming

This fall, we’re bolstering our museum programming! Each weekday, there will be stimulating, educational activities for kids centered around a particular theme. It promises to be both entertaining and enjoyable. And, as always, our programs are FREE with your admission! Join us for:

  • Tunes on Tuesday!, a day that will feature exciting music related activities and performances.
  • Arts, Crafts and Games on Wednesday, a day that will feature visual arts and good, old-fashioned fun!
  • Story Garden Thursday, a day when we’ll help children grow through books by reading a children’s story and inviting the kids to take part in a story-related activity.
  • Science Friday, a day when we’ll have interesting science-related projects that inspire kids to explore, investigate and learn! (Except for First Fridays, when we’ll do special activities between 5 and 7 pm, when admission is free for everyone!)

Tunes on Tuesday during October will feature Silly Heather (a.k.a. Heather Scott, who will offer a taste of her Little Woodstock Music Together® classes. These non-performance based classes are designed for children ages 0 to 5 and bring families together to sing, dance, play instruments, drum and experience The Joy of Family Music®. Classes will run from 10:15 am – 11 am. Space is limited. Please call (406) 541-7529 to reserve a spot for you and your child!


First Friday features art and soul!

First Friday was a special day in the museum this month as we introduced children to some of the world’s best known artists through face painting that mimicked their work! Thanks to the talent of Museum Assistant  and artist extraordinaire Mary Fussell, the styles of Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein came alive before the kids’ very eyes–in fact, it was all around their eyes, noses and mouths! We also offered children a special art activity–Picasso portrait puzzles–that were fun and colorful! This was part of our efforts to strengthen our programming and increase opportunities for learning through play–something we strive to do every day in the museum!  Moving forward, we’ll have special programming  every first Friday between 5 and 7 pm, when admission is free for everyone! It will replace normal daytime programming for that day. Watch our newsletter and Facebook for details about what’s coming up!


Join our team as a volunteer

We’re looking for volunteers. Can you help?  By contributing just a few hours of your time you can make the museum a more special place for Missoula’s children and families! There are several current needs including:

  • Handyman (or woman!) to assist with minor repairs and maintenance
  • Birthday Party Assistants to act as hosts and assist with set up and cleanup, usually on weekends.
  • Halloween Bash Helpers who help with games and other activities.

By volunteering, you can get a discount on birthday parties of your own and even earn a free membership!

Learn more here or call Sarah at (406) 541-7529 for more details.


Sept 5, 2017

It was almost magic how Sarah Osteen became our new museum manager.  A native of Arizona, she often came to town with her husband Scott and two young sons, Nolan and Liam, to visit her brother-in-law, who lived in the area. Because they’re outdoor enthusiasts who love to camp, hike and fly fish, Missoula seemed like a perfect place. The fact that her kids loved the children’s museum didn’t hurt either.

For nearly a decade they talked about moving here, but it was just talk.

“It was getting to the point where we had to quit daydreaming about it, and do something,” Sarah says. “So we did.”

Earlier this year, her husband was hired by A & E  Architects here in town, and just as they were preparing to move, Sarah noticed the job opening for the museum manager. She went through the hiring process and was offered the job. Accepting it and starting work in late August has been exciting.

In Arizona, there was always a feeling of magic when she’d take her kids to the Phoenix Children’s Museum. Think Tom Hanks in the movie Big. She wants that feeling  here in Missoula–for children and adults alike.

“I want to create that feeling of magic,” she says. “I want to wow people with the experience when they walk through our door.”

She learned about “magic” as a college student working for a summer in Disneyland—the Magic Kingdom. It’s a feeling where you’re almost living in a Fantasyland and your inner child bubbles to the surface. All your senses are engaged and happiness percolates from your very being. That’s what she envisions for our future

Already, Sarah has big plans to improve the museum and link it more closely with our parenting programs. And looking to the future, she’s can’t wait for our new location in the forthcoming public library—a location that ironically—or perhaps magically!—is being designed by  her husband’s architectural firm. “I’m bananas with excitement about the potential of that space!” she says enthusiastically.

In the meantime, Sarah’s enjoying the sense of community she’s found in Missoula and all the area has to offer—in addition to the fact that you can be outside without melting in 115 degree temperatures! She’s also eager to hear from you about your suggestions for the museum and how we can improve your experience here–now and in the future.

She wants it to be your museum. And She wants it to be magic.

“Only magic!” she says.

Do you have a suggestion or thought for Sarah? Contact  her by phone (406) 541-7529 or email.