Children's Museum of Denver
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|Location||2121 Children's Museum Drive Denver, CO 80211|
The Children’s Museum was established in 1973. It originally opened in a converted school bus; by 1975, it had outgrown this facility, and moved into a restored turn-of-the-century dairy. At this location, the Museum vastly grew in popularity with about 10,000 visitors per month. By 1979, the Museum was outgrowing this facility as well, and the Museum decided to build its new facility in the proposed Gates-Crescent Park, along the Platte River. The Museum opened in 1984 in its new location, where it has remained ever since.
In 1997, the Children’s Museum changed its mission, establishing standards that focused on serving newborns through 8-year-olds. With this focus, a first-floor renovation was completed in 2000 and the Center for the Young Child, an exhibit designed exclusively for newborns through age four, opened.
The Museum's attendance has grown 74% since 2000. The Children’s Museum of Denver serves more people per square foot of exhibit space than any other children’s museum in the country.
Beginning spring 2014, the Museum is starting construction on a $15.8 million expansion project that will nearly double its size.
The Children’s Museum of Denver’s team focuses on five key developmental domains when designing its exhibits and programs: hands-on development, social-emotional growth, sensory awareness, language and cognitive development and large motor development. In addition, the Colorado Model Content Standards and the Colorado Building Blocks are used to support the specific needs of guests, students and teachers.
A full-time exhibits team works in conjunction with the Museum's education department to create and design new exhibits. Exhibits are tested in "WillitWorks", a prototyping area within the Museum where children and their grown-ups can be directly involved in their creation. In creating a new exhibit, the exhibits team considers factors such as market appeal, elements of play, target age, design and access, childhood developmental building blocks and Colorado Model Content Standards for fine arts, math and language arts.
Programming and Events
In addition to exhibits, the Children’s Museum of Denver offers daily educational programming. The programs match the Museum’s bimonthly themes, such as Wide World of Arts, Colorful Colorado and Stellar Science. Daily programming subjects range from fine arts to science. and offer age-specific activities for toddlers and school-age children. The Museum also offers special events, and pairs with other cultural organizations in collaborative learning events throughout the year.
"Growing Scientists" Collaborative
The "Growing Scientists" collaborative between the Children’s Museum of Denver, the Butterfly Pavilion and Denver Botanic Gardens, brings educational organizations to Title I Denver and Adams County elementary schools. Growing Scientists utilizes an integrated curriculum that includes classroom instruction, teacher workshops, an outreach visit to each school, a Museum field trip, a series of family nights at the Museum and an annual membership to each institution. The curriculum meets Colorado Model Content Standards in science and literacy.
The Children’s Museum of Denver offers a Sponsored Admissions and Memberships Program to children from low-income schools. The program is funded by grants and the Helen McLoraine Children’s Museum of Denver Endowment Fund. In FY2013, the Children’s Museum of Denver provided 16,670 free admissions and memberships to children from low-income childcare centers and elementary schools. The Sponsored Admissions and Memberships Program has been a part of the Museum’s outreach efforts for the past 18 years, serving more than 211,000 children since its inception.  Additionally, the Museum participates in the City of Denver’s 5 By 5 Project, which offers Denver’s Head Start children annual memberships at many of the city’s cultural facilities. More than 2,300 Head Start children and their families explored the Museum through the 5 By 5 Project in FY2011, up from 1,800 in FY2010.
Target Tuesday Nights
The Children’s Museum of Denver offers free admission once a month through a partnership with the Target Corporation. The first Tuesday evening of each month is free to the public. In all, more than 53,000 people have visited free since Target Tuesday Nights began in February 2007.
The Children’s Museum of Denver is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit organization and a Tier II Scientific and Cultural Facilities District member. As an organization, the Museum strives to raise 50% of its revenue through fundraising events, grants, donations and corporate sponsorships and earn the other 50% through admissions, facility rentals, and membership sales.
A board of directors acts as advisers for the development of the Museum within the Denver community. A Museum Leadership Team is led by a President and CEO and consists of a Chief Museum Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Development and Communications, Senior Director of Guest Services and Facilities, a Director of Exhibits, and a Director of Education. About 40 full-time and 15 part-time employees work for the Children’s Museum of Denver. Additionally, hundreds of volunteers give their time to the Museum annually.
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- 2002-2003 Annual Report, Children’s Museum of Denver.
- 2008-2009 Annual Report. Children’s Museum of Denver.
- Pankratz, Howard. "Children's Museum Expands its Horizon" The Denver Post 9 April 2014: 15A+. Business - The Denver Post. 9 April 2014.
- Colorado K-12 Model Content Standards. Accessed on July 13, 2010. http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeassess/UAS/OldContentStandards.html
- Singer, Daliah. "Behind the Scenes at the Children's Museum" 5280 Magazine [Denver, CO] June 2013. Print.
- Press Release. 10 August 2009. Children’s Museum of Denver.
- The 5 By 5 Project. City of Denver. Accessed on July 13, 2010. https://www.denvergov.org/5_By_5/HomePage/tabid/377683/Default.aspx
- "Free Days." 5280 Magazine 2 January 2010: 44. Print.
- Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. Accessed on August 2, 2010. http://www.scfd.org
- Fact Sheet 2009. Children’s Museum of Denver.