National Children’s Museum is a unique hybrid institution, combining learning elements found in a science center with children’s museum experiences. Through science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) focused exhibits and playful, in-person and virtual program offerings, the Museum sparks curiosity and ignites creativity for all learners.
To inspire children to care about and change the world.
We will spark curiosity, ignite passion, and foster inclusivity to empower future innovation.
National Children’s Museum served children and families for 30 years in its original home on H Street in Northeast DC. Founded in 1974 as the Capital Children’s Museum, this community museum was run by local volunteers and hosted a charter school and adult literacy programs in its early years. In 2003, the Museum was renamed with Congressional-designation and sold its building. Without a federal appropriation or space, for 17 years the Museum worked to serve children in various temporary locations throughout the District and Maryland. During that time, DC was the only major city in America without a children’s museum or science and technology center, leaving a void for hands-on, early childhood and science learning.
“If good things come to those who wait, D.C. area kids certainly deserve the National Children’s Museum, a learn-through-play space.”
— Washington Post, February 25, 2020
a modern museum
In 2016, the District of Columbia provided critical start-up funding to reopen the National Children’s Museum. After a long search, the Board of Trustees identified an empty federal space in downtown DC and hired a President and CEO from the science center community to lead the initiative. Building from the ground up, National Children’s Museum was envisioned as a next-generation institution, upending expectations for how a Museum designed for families can look and feel. In February 2020, National Children’s Museum reopened in its new home at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, welcoming visitors into a first-of-its-kind children’s museum + science center designed for modern families.