Grey Roots to launch a children's gallery this fall

·3 min read

Grey Roots Museum and Archives will be adding a new children’s gallery to its offerings this fall.

Fairmount Security Services, a security company that actively works in Simcoe, Grey and Bruce counties, has teamed up with Grey Roots to sponsor the creation of a children’s gallery for $20,000 over five years.

“Kids like to touch stuff and that is sometimes difficult at the museum. So, I thought by creating this interactive area that is designed directly for young children, this could enhance what they already have going,” said Tom Wheildon, owner and CEO of Fairmount Security Services.

“Thanks to the generous support of Fairmount Security Services, staff will have the resources necessary to implement minor renovations and make unique equipment purchases to better serve Grey County families,” said Claudette Martin, engagement manager with Grey Roots.

Wheildon said his company looks to give back to the community in various ways and in previous years has sponsored local hockey and figure skating clubs.

“Successful companies, they give back to the community. I don't think it's right, to just take and take,” he said, adding that the company currently employs almost 100 people that live and work in all three counties.

The sponsorship offer comes on the heels of Grey Roots staff identifying the need to expand its offerings in the area of children’s programming through its strategic plan.

“The proposal was met with great excitement given the strategic direction staff were pursuing to enhance the experiences for children to better support families as a target audience demographic,” said Jill Paterson, manager of museum and archives for Grey Roots.

The sponsorship will see $6,000 donated to Grey Roots in the first year and $3,500 every year for an additional four years.

“Staff are keen to launch a dedicated year-round children's gallery at Grey Roots and are confident that the equipment and experience will reach well beyond the five-year sponsorship period,” Paterson added.

The children’s gallery will include an interactive learning space for kids of varying ages, as well as quiet reading spaces, building activities, art projects and games.

“Unique, child-focused, and relatable objects from the museum collections will be paired with lively wall murals, hands-on items and expressive text in order to support the exploration of nature and history from a Grey County perspective,” Martin said.

Staff also plan to roll out scheduled programming and activities that will focus on sharing Grey County stories that are relevant and of interest to kids.

As part of the sponsorship, the children’s gallery will be named ‘Zooz Place’ after Fairmount Security Services beloved and hardworking security dog, Zeus.

Zeus is a Labrador Retriever and has been actively working with Wheildon for the past two-and-a-half years as a drug detection dog with the security firm.

“Zeus will indicate on seven different types of narcotics. We use his services in the private sector, as well as commercial and industrial settings,” explained Wheildon, adding that Zeus is very friendly and loves to interact with children.

“Eventually, we're going to do some different sessions at Grey Roots where we will set up an area and the kids can actually watch Zeus work,” Wheildon added.

Grey Roots expects the children’s gallery to open in fall 2021 – it will be installed following the summer travelling exhibit Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion which will be open May 22 to August 30, 2021.

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,