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.
110 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)
- Earns coveted 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator (2017)
- Opens You, Me, We! Exhibit – Complex topics of identity exploration that fosters respect and empathy (2023)
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
- You, Me, We! – Families encouraged to connect with each other around questions of fairness in the world and express themselves through guided identity exploration
- Traveling exhibits developed by the Museum – award winning exhibits touring across the United States and Canada
Public Programs for Every Interest
Innovate with STEAM
Whether children are designing miniature houses from cardboard, building circuits, programming robots, sculpting masterpieces, or getting to know live animals, STEAM programs foster curiosity, creativity, and learning.
Embrace Your Artistic Self
Experience the Museum’s multi-sensory art programming that emphasizes self-expression and experimentation. Make collages, sculpt with clay, craft a puppet, try printmaking—the opportunities for creativity are endless.
Make Some Music
The Museum is alive with music, dance, and theater. The Museum partners with many organizations in Boston and beyond, offering young children a gateway to observe and be a part of the right world of performance.
Get Active, Be Healthy
Practice a new yoga pose, learn about growing vegetables by exploring gardening, or try out your dance moves. The Museum promotes health and wellness with fun, interactive programs that encourage active play, healthy eating, and understanding of our bodies.
Dialogue about differences and similarities is a critical part of building respect for self and others. Programs at the Museum that are designed to help all of us see and accept each other as unique individuals help us to reflect on our own identities and develop lifelong understandings about and empathy for people of all backgrounds.
- Beyond the Chalkboard – First free, online afterschool curriculum, used in over 100 countries www.beyondthechalkboard.org/
- 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
- Power of Play – Through play, children develop the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills they need to thrive both now and into their futures
- School Readiness – Partnering with educators, families, and community organizations to help families get ready for kindergarten
- “Learning Together” – A Museum staff training curriculum about better serving the whole family
- “BCM Home Edition” activity guide for parents and other caregivers
- Play and Learning Activities Library
Museum Consulting Services
We bring an experienced and thoughtful approach to our work with both emerging and established organizations and museums and have worked with museums all over the world. Our process reflects the skills and experience of our exhibit developers, designers, educators, and the knowledge gained from rigorous evaluation and field-testing of all of our work.
The Museum partners with leading academic institutions to advance research into important childhood development topics.
- Staff – 95 (full-time and part-time)
- Annual budget – $15,531,381 (FY2022) over half of which is provided by grants and donations
- 33-member Board of Trustees, 28-member President’s Council, and 36-member Honorary Trustees, 29-member Advisory Board
- 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 the American Alliance of Museums (AAM)
- More than 25,000 items in the Museum’s collections
- Host venue for many meetings, conferences, and receptions
- 371,082 Visitors (FY2023)
- 7,000 Family Member Households
- 227 Library Members
- 58 Corporate Connections Members
- 40% Receive Free or Discounted Admission
- 8% Visit with Camp, Community, or School Groups
- Approximately 82% are from New England and 75% from Massachusetts