Museum Access & Inclusion Programs | Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier

Museum Access & Inclusion Programs

Arts and Culture Programming

Inspires and cultivates self-expression and collaboration through child-centered art explorations museum-wide and in a professionally staffed Art Studio and offered museum wide—filling the void found in many public schools and communities.


Beyond Incarceration

Supports children with incarcerated parents through three programs: 1) series of six art explorations and a community art showing, 2) museum-based visitation with their incarcerated parent, and 3) field trips for extended family and support network who often reside in communities disproportionately affected by incarceration.

  • $120 funds transportation for one museum-based visitation with an incarcerated parent
  • $2,280 underwrites two field trips and transportation for children’s extended family and support network


Father Engagement

Engages African American and Latino fathers from low-income communities, empowering parents to understand the importance of play for both learning and relationship development.

  • $200 underwrites museum admission for 25 people during Papapalooza, a community event and resource fair
  • $1,500 funds a father symposium on the state of fatherhood in south side Chicago.


Field Trip Scholarship Program

Underwrites museum admission and transportation for schools and organizations serving children and families with barriers making it difficult to access or afford a museum visit; opening the door to a shared cultural experience and hands-on learning.

  • $500 provides a free field trip for a school group from an under-resourced community
  • $2,500 underwrites transportation for 10 kindergarten classrooms


Museums for All

Welcomes families facing food insecurity to the museum any time for just $3 with either an EBT card (formerly food stamps) or participation in WIC. On average, this program serves 1,500 people each month.

  • $200 provides program materials for one month
  • $2,500 welcomes 465 children and families facing food insecurity to the museum


Play for All

Provides free events and opportunities for children and families with disabilities to experience the museum at their own pace, including specialized programming and assistive devices.

  • $250 underwrites adaptive sports, dance, or an art activity for children who have a disability
  • $2,500 provides eight state-of-the-art wheel chair buses for groups attending a sensory friendly family event


Playing with Numbers

Empowers kindergarten and first-grade teachers with the tools to deepen their students’ understanding of fundamental math concepts through play-based learning.

  • $250 underwrites hands-on learning materials for one participating kindergarten or first grade teacher
  • $3,489 sponsors one kindergarten or first grade teacher’s participation in the year-long program


STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Programming

Inspires child-driven experiments and projects in the museum’s maker spaces, providing a greater understanding of physical science and igniting innovation and problem-solving prowess.

  • $200 covers a month’s worth of materials in the Tinkering Lab maker space, bringing science and math to life
  • $4,800 underwrites STEM family programming museum-wide


WePlay Young Parent Playgroup

Provides support and resources on child-development, self-care, and parenting to young mothers (ages 16 – 24) in state care with young children. They have limited family support and face challenges such as access to employment.

  • $500 provides guest speakers and resources on child-development, self-care, and parenting for 10 WePlay families
  • $1,500 builds a child’s home library by supplying ten books for ten WePlay mothers