National Children's Museum

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National Children’s Museum
Established 1974 (originally the Capital Children’s Museum, Washington, DC)
Type Children's museum

Now defunct, The National Children’s Museum (NCM) was an interactive children's museum serving the Washington, D.C. metro area. In 2003, the United States Congress designated NCM as the only national museum dedicated entirely to children and their families.

The museum's exhibits and programming are designed for children to "learn through play," and focus on six core content areas: the arts, civic engagement, the environment, global citizenship, health and well being, and play. NCM's mission is to inspire children to care about and improve the world.


Capital Children's Museum (1974-2004)[edit]

NCM was founded as the Capital Children’s Museum in 1974. In 1979, it moved into a building at 220 H Street, NE in Washington, D.C.,[1] a former Little Sisters of the Poor home. In 2003, Congress identified a need for a nationally recognized cultural and educational institution specifically for children. The H Street location closed in August 2004.

Museum Without Walls (2004-2012)[edit]

Since 2004, the National Children’s Museum has been operating as a “museum without walls,” forging partnerships with other organizations and participating in community events, educational outreach programs and traveling exhibits.

Some of the events in which NCM has participated include the White House Easter Egg Roll, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Marine Corps Marathon, Kids Euro Festival, Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play, and NCM's own JumpOFF! and CycleFest.

As a "museum without walls," NCM reached over 300,000 kids and families last year alone.

NCM staff has conducted educational outreach activities in 14 states, presenting the Museum’s Family Literacy Projects on a Budget teacher training programs.

Launch Zone (2009-2012)[edit]

The Launch Zone opened at National Harbor, Maryland, in 2009. The 2,700-square-foot space offered exhibits and programming to young children and their families. There was no charge for admission, and it was open to the public seven days a week.

The Launch Zone closed on September 3, 2012, in preparation for NCM's December 14, 2012, opening in a larger space at National Harbor.

NCM has two major exhibit areas: 3 & Under and Our World. Columbus, Ohio-based Roto Studio designed the 2,700-square-foot 3 & Under exhibit space, and Boston-based Amaze Design was appointed to fabricate the 9,000-square-foot Our World exhibit, way-finding signage, and donor wall. Both firms specialize in museum exhibit design.

On November 14, 2014, NCM announced that it would relocate back to Washington, D.C., in 2015.


NCM closed at National Harbor in early January 2015 after having announced that it will relocate back to Washington, D.C.[2]

External links[edit]


Sutton, Benjamin, "National Children’s Museum Eyes November Opening, Will Boast on Big Wheel Racetrack", ArtInfo, June 6, 2012

Parker, Lonnae O'Neal, "National Children’s Museum (finally!) reopening at National Harbor", The Washington Post, June 12, 2012

Hager, Nathan, "National Children’s Museum one step closer to opening in Pr. George’s County",, June 12, 2012

Eatough, Allison, "Eight Great Museum Exhibits That Engage Children of All Ages", Maryland Family Magazine, July 22, 2012

Cooper, Rachel, "National Children’s Museum Fall Programming",, Aug. 29, 2012

Sowah, Jillian S. "Prince George’s County community calendar, Aug. 16-23, 2012", The Washington Post, Aug. 17, 2012

Cooper, Rachel, "Washington DC Events – Top Things to Do this Weekend",, Aug. 3, 2012

"Editor’s Pick: Go for the Gold", In the Loop: Washington Parent E-News, Aug. 2, 2012

"Meet a former Olympian at National Children’s Museum", Chesapeake Family Magazine, July 30, 2012

"Editor’s Pick: Go for the Gold", In the Loop: Washington Parent E-News, July 25, 2012

Sowah, Jillian S. "Things to do July 19-Aug. 2: Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz, Ledisi and Eric Benet perform at DAR", The Washington Post, July 20, 2012

Sowah, Jillian S. "Prince George’s County wellness calendar, July 12-19", The Washington Post, July 12, 2012

"Editor’s Pick: SunWise", In the Loop: Washington Parent E-News, July 11, 2012

"National Children’s Museum to Open This Year at National Harbor",, June 14, 2012

  1. ^ "Landmark Lofts: Heavenly Luxury!". Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Goldchain, Michelle (4 January 2017). "D.C.'s next children's museum will be at Fort Totten, deliver 2019". Curbed. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 

Coordinates: 38°47′00″N 77°00′51″W / 38.7833°N 77.0142°W / 38.7833; -77.0142