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Museum Facts

Boston Children’s Museum engages children and families in joyful discovery experiences that instill an appreciation of our world, develop foundational skills, and spark a lifelong love of learning.

Boston Children’s Museum’s vision is to be a welcoming, imaginative, child-centered learning environment that supports diverse families in nurturing their children’s creativity and curiosity. We promote the healthy development of all children so that they will fulfill their potential and contribute to our collective wellbeing and future prosperity.

100 Years of Milestones

  • Founded by Boston Public School teachers in 1913 in Jamaica Plain
  • Shares extensive collections of rare artifacts and objects with children throughout the early and mid 1900s
  • Opens groundbreaking, interactive exhibit “What’s Inside” in 1964, the first hands-on exhibit in any museum anywhere
  • Brings hands on learning to classrooms with MATCH Box Kits in 1964
  • Opens in new location on Museum Wharf at Fort Point Channel in 1979
  • Completes $47-million expansion and renovation project in 2007 with 88,000 square feet of exhibit space
  • Becomes Boston’s first LEED-certified “Green” museum in 2007
  • Welcomes 600,000 visitors in 2012
  • Receives the National Medal for Museum and Library Service (2013)
  • Accepts International Lifetime Achievement Award – The Children in Museum Award (2015)

Click here to find out more about 100 years of pioneering work at Boston Children’s Museum.

Groundbreaking Exhibits

Boston Children’s Museum is a leading innovator in the museum field, and is recognized around the world for pioneering work like the first-ever hands-on museum exhibit (“What’s Inside”), the first-ever exhibit created specifically for young children (PlaySpace), groundbreaking exhibits about children with disabilities and cultural differences (“What if You Couldn’t” and “KidsBridge”) and so much more.  The Museum continues this legacy today with innovative exhibits that continue to engage children and families in joyful discovery experiences, such as:

  • Countdown to Kindergarten – Exhibit to help kids and families prepare for kindergarten
  • PlaySpace – First exhibit for young children
  • Peep’s World – Preschool science exhibit
  • New Balance Foundation Climb – Three-story, jaw-dropping maze
  • Japanese House (Kyo-no-Machiya) – Gift from Boston’s Japanese Sister City Kyoto to the city of Boston in 1979
  • Traveling exhibits developed by the Museum – award winning exhibits touring across the United States and Canada

Click here to learn more about Boston Children’s Museum’s exhibits.

Public Programs for Every Interest

  • Culture – Exploring the diverse cultural life of Boston and beyond
  • Health and Wellness – Making healthy lifestyle choices can be fun
  • Literacy – Practice listening, speaking, reading and writing skills
  • Performing Arts – Express yourself through dance, theater and music
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – Notice, wonder, question, play
  • Visual Arts – Explore a wide range of processes and media from collage and printmaking to clay, paper, and fabric

Click here to learn more about Boston Children’s Museum’s diverse range of programs.

Learning Resources

  • Beyond the Chalkboard – First free, online afterschool curriculum, used in over 100 countries
  • Free resources for educators in schools and afterschool programs, including guides to better serving English Language Learners and children with autism, and STEM Sprouts guide and kit for preschool science teachers
  • Professional Development workshops for a wide range of educators
  • School Readiness – Partnering with educators, families and community organizations to help families get ready for kindergarten
  • “Learning Together” – A new Museum staff training curriculum about better serving the whole family
  • “BCM Home Edition” activity guide for parents and other caregivers

Click here to learn more about these resources.

Museum Consulting Services
Boston Children’s Museum provides consulting and design and production services to museums and other institutions that seek to create engaging and interactive learning experiences for visitors.

Click here to learn more about Boston Children’s Museum’s consulting services.

The Museum partners with leading academic institutions to advance research into important childhood development topics. Current research partners include the Early Childhood Cognition Lab at MIT, the Harvard University Lab for Developmental Studies, the Harvard University Implicit Social Cognition Lab, the Boston College Infant & Child Cognition Lab, the Boston College Emotion Development Lab, and the Boston College Arts and Mind Lab.

Museum Operations

  • 60 full-time, 34 part-time staff
  • Annual budget – $11,484,233.95, over half of which is provided by grants and donations
  • 23-member Board of Trustees, 29-member Board of Overseers, and 31 Honorary Trustees
  • Size – 177,074 square feet – entire building – 88,575 square feet (program space, exhibits, and collections– 30,998 square feet (administration space)– 57,501 square feet (tenant space)
  • Accredited by American Alliance of Museums (AAM)
  • Host venue for many meetings, conferences, and receptions

Visitor Demographics

  • 566,000 visitors (2019)
  • 12,731 member households
  • 30% receive free or discounted admission
  • 4% visit with camp, community or school groups
  • Approximately 82% are from New England and 75% from Massachusetts