What Is A Children’s Museum?

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By Laura Huerta Migus

Children’s museum professionals face a unique challenge in the museum field: people often ask us, “What is a children’s museum?”

Children’s museums have led the way in so many important trends in the museum community: a focus on using objects, hands-on learning, and putting children first. But this work can be invisible to those unfamiliar with it.

Over the past couple of years, ACM has grappled with this question, resulting in our new document, “What Is A Children’s Museum?,” which articulates how every children’s museum–regardless of its size–functions across four key dimensions: local destinations, community resources, educational laboratories, and advocates for children.

We debuted this document at InterActivity 2019: FearLESS. Since then, we’ve fine-tuned it into a two-pager that shares “What Is A Children’s Museum?” and “The Four Dimensions of Children’s Museums.”

The document will join ACM’s Strategic Roadmap as a guiding document in service of our mission to champion children’s museums worldwide. We hope that it will be a resource for your museum and staff in your advocacy, fundraising, and visitor outreach and education efforts.

Laura Huerta Migus is executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM). Follow ACM on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Photo by Chicago Childrens Museum