National Children’s Museum Act Introduced in Congress
October 13, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
– Legislation Supports the Museum’s Continued Success in Its Current Home Through Rent Relief –
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congressman Mike Carey (R-OH) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced the National Children’s Museum Act (H.R. 5937) in Congress, which would provide rent relief to the preeminent hands-on learning institution located in downtown D.C.
Housed within the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, National Children’s Museum is the only congressionally designated museum paying rent for a federal space in the District of Columbia. The legislation, which previously passed the House with wide bipartisan support in 2020 and 2021, would require the GSA to provide the Museum with its space free of charge.
“Most children’s museums and science centers receive rent-free spaces from their local government,” said Crystal Bowyer, president and CEO of National Children’s Museum. “National Children’s Museum is a cornerstone of the Washington, D.C., community and serves visitors from across the country and world. In order to succeed in our previously empty federal space in downtown D.C., we need Congress to ensure our new home is provided rent-free for hands-on, STEM engagement.”
“The National Children’s Museum provides families a prime learning experience,” said Carey. “Our bipartisan bill would make this Museum more accessible for visitors to our nation’s capital.”
“The National Children’s Museum will bring visitors to D.C. from throughout the U.S. and the world,” said Norton. “The bill’s enactment would be a victory for the Museum, the nation’s capital, and especially children. Thank you to Rep. Carey for introducing the bill this Congress.”
Founded in 1974 as the Capital Children’s Museum, the Museum received its congressional designation in 2003 and operated in the years following without a physical location in D.C. until February 2020, when it opened its current home at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. After quickly closing due to COVID-19 and reopening 18 months later, the Museum has since welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors, providing critical hands-on learning experiences across science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
“Every great city has a children’s museum and that’s because children’s museums provide young learners with unique, hands-on experiences that fuel development and support their wellbeing. National Children’s Museum has already made an incredible impact in the D.C. community and beyond,” said Arthur G. Affleck, III, executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums. “Our research shows that more than 2/3 of our museum members receive rent assistance from public sources in some capacity, showing that the National Children’s Museum Act follows best practices from communities across the country. This legislation would signal a commitment to inspiring the next generation of leaders.”
“The National Children’s Museum is a beloved and vital attraction in our vibrant downtown landscape, serving the unique purpose of providing hands-on learning opportunities for our city’s youngest visitors,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital. “Having a centrally located, world-class institution dedicated solely to serving children significantly adds to our ability to attract families to visit D.C.”
About National Children’s Museum
STEAM adventure awaits at National Children’s Museum, located in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C. With a mission to inspire children to care about and change the world, the Museum sparks curiosity and ignites creativity for children under the age of twelve and their families. Through playful science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) based exhibits, programs and virtual offerings, the Museum reaches millions of people each year. Learn more and plan your visit at nationalchildrensmuseum.org.