There are more than 300 children’s museums in the world serving millions of families, but each one is unique. We know that children’s museums are joyful spaces for learning and play, but they are much more than just places to visit. In fact, all children’s museums—regardless of size —function as local destinations (with designed spaces, like their exhibits), educational laboratories (with programming for children and families), and act as community resources and advocates for children.
There’s so much to love about children’s museums everywhere. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked children’s museum staff: What do you love about your children’s museum? Here are some of their answers!
“I love that we are a safe place for kids to learn and grow through self-guided play. They get to experience different careers and practice the examples they see in our homes and community in our different exhibits. I love that I get to use my formal education background to help the kids learn in an informal setting… without even knowing they are learning new things!”
-Erica Bickhart, Children’s Museum of Findlay (OH)
“I love working for a children’s museum because every day welcomes a new adventure! Whether it’s leading one of our fun educational classes or dressing up as a princess for an event, no day is ever the same.”
-Allison Armstrong, Sacramento Children’s Museum (CA)
“Sacramento Children’s Museum is a great place for young guests to grow, learn, and explore! Our programs and classes are so much fun. Our Van-Go mobile museum is a great way to reach out to the community when it’s hard for them to come to us. We play, we inspire, and we reach out.”
-Denver Vaughn, Sacramento Children’s Museum (CA)
“I love how embedded our museum is within our downtown community. When there are events in our town we are right in the middle of it. We have built longstanding relationships with the other downtown businesses.”
-Gracie Chaffin, Louisiana Children’s Discovery Center (Hammond)
“I love watching kids be able to play and learn and have a safe place to come to! I love our nature room—and one thing we just added to it is a tower garden. We always wanted to have plants, and this is so easy and kids love to see the veggies growing each week!”
-Robin Kussmann, Playzeum Yuba Sutter (Yuba City, CA)
LOVE seeing families playing together. Less heads down with phones and more heads up for play!
-Mandy Volpe, Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, Inc. (Gainesville, GA)
“We love that we are the first children’s museum in the state of Mississippi located one block from the Gulf of Mexico in the renovated Mississippi City Elementary School, constructed in 1915 and an architectural exhibition itself. Lynn Meadows Discovery Center offers 15,000 square feet of indoor hands-on exhibit space, seven and a half acres of outdoor play space, a spacious theatre, Viking kitchen and other great facilities for children, families and community use. Just like the children who enter our doors, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is continually growing and improving, expanding and changing our exhibits, adding and enhancing our offerings and constantly learning along the way!”
-Sonja Gillis, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center (Gulfport, MS)
There are so many things to love about Cheshire Children’s Museum! One special thing we do is recognize early childhood educators in our region. Each year, we celebrate all early childhood educators at an event at the museum, culminating in naming one Early Childhood Educator of the Year! He/she is selected by a panel of judges ahead of time after reviewing nominations from colleagues, directors, and family members of children they serve. We have donated prizes for the winner and door prizes. This year we will have a proclamation from our mayor.
-Deb Ganley, Cheshire Children’s Museum (Keene, NH)
“There is so much to love. On the amusing side—I really love how kids dress for PLAY.”
-Sharon Stone Smith, Sacramento Children’s Museum (CA)
What do you love about your children’s museum?
Top photo courtesy of Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.