50th anniversary

50 years of play

a monumental milestone

In 1974, when only nine children’s museums existed in the country, a dedicated group of Washingtonians decided that DC’s children deserved their own museum. The museum they founded—first called The Children’s Museum of Inquiry and Discovery and later the Capital Children’s Museum—embodied their belief that experiential learning was the best way to inspire children to care about and change the world. This belief, which is enshrined in our mission, has guided our work for the past 50 years.

From exhibits set up as a museum-on-the-move to a state-of-the-art learning center steps in the heart of downtown, National Children’s Museum has been at the forefront of hands-on learning for 50 years.

Help us commemorate this monumental milestone and launch our next 50 years of play!

Parade for the opening day of Capital Children's Museum

placita mágica

When the Museum opened its first building on Third and H Streets Northeast in 1979, one of the featured experiences was an immersive Mexico exhibit created with the support of the Mexican government. In this beloved exhibit, children were transported to a small village in Mexico where they learned about the country’s culture by exploring a market and making their own Mexican hot chocolate and tortillas.

This summer, the Museum will pay homage to the Capital Children’s Museum and this experience with the opening of a reimagined Mexico exhibit – Placita Mágica – sponsored by Abuelita and developed in partnership with the Embassy of Mexico, the Mexican Cultural Institute.

the stories project

50th fundraising campaign

Celebrate the legacy of hands on learning and help ensure the Museum’s next 50 years as a leader in play!