Acting on the principle that learning is a joy, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix’s mission is to engage the minds, muscles and imaginations of children and the grown-ups who care about them. With hands-on, interactive exhibits designed for children ages birth to 10, the Museum focuses on learning through play, with emphasis on early childhood education and school-readiness.
The Museum’s vision is to foster a joy of learning and to:
- Provide engaging projects, exhibits and programming for young children and their families;
- Educate parents and caregivers about child development and parenting techniques;
- Build cultural understanding, positive social interaction, and celebrate diversity; and
- Serve as a gateway to other cultural institutions and community programs.
The Children’s Museum of Phoenix was founded in 1998 as the Phoenix Family Museum by a small group of volunteers. In 2001, Phoenix voters overwhelmingly approved $10.5 million in bond funds to purchase and partially renovate the historic Monroe School as the Museum’s new home.
In 2005, Debbie Gilpin became President & CEO and began the plans for the renovation and restoration of the Monroe School building, developing a strong support base among private individuals and corporations and providing the type of inspirational and diverse programming to make a wonder-filled museum. The Museum launched its Childhood Dreams Built By You capital campaign with a goal of raising $12.3 million prior to opening. In December of that year the Phoenix Family Museum officially changed its name to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix to more clearly convey the Museum’s focus.
Renovation on the Monroe School began in 2006 and the Children’s Museum opened its doors to the public in June 2008.
Prior to opening the permanent facility, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix fulfilled our mission to engage the minds, muscles and imaginations of children through a traveling exhibit program called Museum without Walls (MWW). Consisting of eight hands-on learning experiences, MWW visited schools and community events across the Valley. Over 275,000 participants took part in MWW traveling exhibits between 1998 and 2008.