The Case for Children's Museums
Children’s museums are cultural institutions committed to serving
the needs and interests of children by providing
programs that stimulate curiosity and motivate learning. There
are approximately 350 children’s museums around the world. Here are
highlights on how children’s museums positively impact children,
families and communities.
Children’s museums help children develop
essential foundational skills.
In the past ten years, neuroscience has confirmed
what the social sciences have long contended, that
the first years of life are essential to future
learning. Grounded in well-established pedagogy,
children’s museums are leading a movement that
combines specific learning objectives with play in
informal learning environments that are
developmentally appropriate for infants, toddlers
and children. Safe, inspiring, stimulating and
centrally located facility that all
children of our community can
benefit from and be challenged by.
Children’s museums respect
Helping to balance widespread
cultural influences that compress
childhood, children’s museums
produce programs and exhibits that
transcend age, IQ and experience,
and empower children to set their
Children’s museums light a creative
spark for discovery and lifelong learning.
Research from the University of Illinois finds that
children feel bored as much as 50 percent of the
time while at school or doing their homework. At
children’s museums, kids become excited about what
they are learning while they are playing. As
multidisciplinary institutions, children’s museums
are defining how to teach the arts, humanities,
sciences, mathematics and culture across
Children’s museums are environments
where families play and connect in meaningful ways.
With today’s workplace demands, adults have less
time to spend with children. Children’s museums are
places away from work and household distractions,
where parents and caregivers can spend quality time
with children, learn something new themselves and
experience the luxury of becoming lost in the
present moment as they play.
Children’s museums serve as town squares
and build social capital.
A landmark examination of civic engagement, Working
Together: Community Involvement in America,
indicates that children are one of the most likely
subjects to motivate community involvement.
Children’s museums engage families and individual
citizens to share their talents and points of view.
Children’s museums are uniquely
positioned to help reverse stigma and
Children’s museums are popular, yet neutral, sources
of information, attract a diverse cross-section of
people and provide shared experiences through
interpretive and interactive exhibits. By exposing
adults and children to unfamiliar concepts in a
non-threatening, hands-on approach, and ensuring
that the museum experience is accessible to those of
differing abilities and backgrounds, children’s
museums create bridges of understanding.
Children’s museums strengthen community
resources that educate and care for children.
Children’s museum art, science, math, music,
literacy and other exhibits and programs for
children are valuable resources, especially in
communities where such programs have been reduced or
completely eliminated from schools and libraries due
to budget constraints. Additionally, children’s
museums hold workshops about informal learning for
parents, teachers and childcare professionals.
Children’s museums contribute to local
economies and reduce economic barriers.
More than 30% of children’s museums are part of a
downtown revitalization project. According to ACM
data, the total economic activity of its children’s
museum members is $449 million. Children’s museums
are sought-after local and travel destinations. More
than 30 million individuals annually visit
children’s museums around the world. One in two
children’s museums offer discounted/free admission
for low-income individuals.
The Case for Children’s Museums - Association of Children’s