Inclusive Music Garden Opens to the Joy of Community Members of All Ages
When Play Sharity Children’s Museum and Resource Lending Library created a music garden, they fully expected the children to embrace the range of instruments. However, they hadn't prepared for how the garden could transform and promote intergenerational play opportunities within their community.
Located in Deming, New Mexico, Play Sharity was the brainchild of five mothers who each had the same dream: to create a clean, interactive space for children to play, discover their talents, engage in learning, and promote family wellbeing. Play Sharity services a community with deprivation, homelessness, and mental health issues. Opened in August 2021, the children’s museum now provides a safe place for parents and guardians to engage with their children. Local parks are not the safest place for children to play in, but the museum is free for everyone in the county to use and enjoy.
The idea of the outdoor musical garden came from when one of the directors experienced a music garden. The directors started to research outdoor musical instruments, came across Percussion Play, and found that the instruments were well-suited to the garden they wished to create.
Executive Director, Monica Topham, says, “Even when we are not open, people stop by and play them. We have a few adults with mental disabilities who enjoy playing the instruments, along with the children who have really embraced creating music outside. We have a lot of multi-generational homes, grandparents with young children, for instance, and it is magical to see them connect over music.”
What was important for the museum when creating the music garden was that it was inclusive. The way they installed the instruments meant that wheelchair users could easily navigate the garden and have equal access to make music.
The garden has transformed the outdoor space and, importantly, is a transitional space at the museum. Monica says, “We wanted to create a transitional space so leaving the museum isn’t upsetting to the children. The music garden is the perfect place for children to top off their visits and make some music before heading home!”