Behind the Scenes with Museum Kids- Why we chose Soapbox Derby as our Summer Edition theme

In March 2022 the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre launched a new museum membership designed just for kids! Included in the membership is a quarterly subscription box designed to bring the museum to you. The summer edition of Museum Kids is themed after Soapbox Derby racing and this is why.

Black and white image of the starting line of the 1947 St. Catharines Soapbox Derby race. two racers are header down a ramp while officials stand at the top of the starting ramp. Crowds are behind a fence on the left side.

Some readers may remember that St. Catharines has a very rich history steeped in this racing tradition. The local chapter of the St. Catharines All-American Soap Box Derby originally intended to provide mentorship for local youngsters and encourage community participation. The races very quickly became a staple activity of growing up in St. Catharines.  Every year, beginning in 1947, youngsters would race to sign up for the race in the early months of the year. Soapbox sign up day was met with great fanfare in the community. The St. Catharines standard was present to do interviews and potential sponsors were present as well as community members and local officials.

Sign up day was just the beginning as the derby was more than just race day once a year. Derby participants built their own soap box derby cars. The cars were built independently and without any hands-on help from adults. Winning the derby was an accomplishment that came with rewards. The winner received a trip to Akron, Ohio, to compete in the All-American race, but sponsorships, prizes (sometimes including a puppy!), and the attention from the local press, elevated the winner to celebrity status.  Racers would meet often throughout the year, and stayed lifelong friends, even after their racing days were over.  

Image of the All-American Soap Box Derby race in Ohio. Stands are filled with thousands of spectators as a marching band leads a parade on the race path. A grand stand is set up over the raceway to watch the races.

What more appropriate theme to celebrate summer vacation with Museum Kids than Soapbox Derby? Our subscription boxes are designed to provide hands on activities to engage kids with their local history. A natural fit for this theme? A Soapbox Racer of course… at least a tabletop version of a Soapbox Racer (to make sure the supplies fit in the box). We know it has been a while since Soapbox racers were commonplace, so we have included all the supplies and instructions to build a racer with your Museum Kid. Even better we have included the link to an exclusive Museum collection video of the 1947 St. Catharines Soapbox Derby!

The fun and learning doesn’t stop when you finish your box activities either. To enhance the experience, we are inviting St. Catharines Museum Kids to come in and visit the Museum with their racers to see our derby artifacts firsthand in the Soapbox Derby exhibit.

Black and White image of a soapbox derby entry car being weighed on a large scale. This was for the 1947 race and the contestant is sitting in his car while a crowd watched the officials take the numbers down.

Soapbox Derby was an exciting box to produce! With plans underway for our September box, get your Museum Kids subscription today, so you don’t miss the Soapbox Derby box! Our upcoming Museum Kids subscription box exclusives will feature fall’s Carousel box and winter’s Winter Wonderland box.

What’s Next?


Subscription details are provided below and a link to take you to our sign-up page. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have by email at or by phone at 905-984-8880.

How does the Museum Kids membership work?   

A new box comes every three months, filled with exciting, educational, and screen-free activities which highlight our local history. With the included Museum Kids Magazine, subscribers will be experience St. Catharines’ rich history, and learn more about the objects and photographs from the Museum’s collection. 

Who’s it for? 

The boxes are designed for children, aged 7-11. Each box is a curated experience that will appeal to children across that age range and will focus on a local history topic.  

What’s included?  

Each box includes the Museum Kids Magazine full of interesting local history and photos, along with the instructions for the activities. Most materials to complete the craft are supplied, except scissors. All boxes include a video of the craft components for participants to learn more or get help with their craft. We welcome participants to upload pictures of their completed projects and brag about what they’ve learned on our social media accounts.  

How much?  

$40 + tax for a one-year, 4-box subscription. Shipping within Canada included. Please contact us to arrange for international shipping. Boxes will ship mid-month beginning March, June, September, and December. 

Feedback and Ideas? 

We’d always appreciate feedback and ideas on how to improve the experience of the boxes. Just reach out to us! 


You will be contacted to renew annually before the date of your fourth mail-out.  


Cancel any time by contacting us before the next mail-out date. Pro-rated refunds will be issued based on remaining amount on subscription. 

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