Mission & History

Our Mission

Child going through net tunnel

Chicago Children's Museum's mission is to improve children’s lives by creating a community where play and learning connect.

About Us

Chicago Children’s Museum is a place where families and caregivers with infants and children are encouraged to create, explore, and discover together through play. The museum features three vibrant floors of exhibits and activities that provide sensory experiences and engaging educational content focusing on literacy, science, math, visual and performing arts, and health.

Some of CCM's most popular exhibits include: Dinosaur Expedition, where kids can dig for dinosaur bones in an authentic excavation pit; WaterWays, an interactive system of pulleys, pumps, and pipes showcasing the wonders of water; Kids Town, an early-learning exhibit featuring a real CTA bus, mini-grocery store and kid-sized cityscape; daily free family art workshops in the Kraft Artabounds Studio; Pritzker Playspace, an area designed specifically for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their parents; Play It Safe, a realistic firehouse and fire truck that invites families to learn about fire safety through play; and Skyline, a National Science Foundation-funded exhibit that explores the science, engineering, art, and technology that keep Chicago's tallest buildings standing.

Chicago Children's Museum (CCM) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) cultural institution.

History

Located on Navy Pier since 1995, Chicago Children's Museum is now one of the city's top cultural attractions and the second most visited children's museum in the country. CCM serves more than 657,000 visitors annually, both on-site and in communities throughout Chicago, particularly in areas with limited access to the museum's rich array of resources.

CCM was founded in 1982 by a coalition led by the Junior League of Chicago in response to program cutbacks in the city's public schools. The then-named Express-Ways Children's Museum opened in two hallways of the Chicago Public Library, now the Chicago Cultural Center, with Getting to Know Hue, the museum's inaugural exhibit on color, light, music, and literature.

Download these documents to learn more about Chicago Children's Museum:

The State of Play
Standards of Excellence