About the children's museum

The Children’s Museum is much more than a space for children to play — it’s a community resource of programs and activities, all built around learning through play and providing access for all children and their caregivers. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, our mission is facilitated by the support of our staff, board, and volunteers, along with the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations.

indoor water play activites

OUR MISSION

We inspire growth in all children by engaging families in learning through play.

OUR VISION

The Children’s Museum will foster a community that recognizes and appreciates that children grow and learn through play.

Our Values

We value learning.

Children

  • We have respect for all children and their amazing abilities.
  • We are passionate about the process of learning and the importance of play.
  • We want to inspire their creativity, curiosity, and exploration.

Our People

  • We surround ourselves with trustworthy people who thrive on a team and share our energy, passion, creativity, and optimism.
  • We learn by listening to children, families, teachers, and others who support them.

Community

  • We seek partnerships and collaborations that benefit young children.
  • We celebrate our community’s diversity and offer a safe place for all children and their families to interact, play, and learn.

LEARNING IS ALWAYS IN PLAY

The Children's Museum is more than a fun place for children to play, indoors and outdoors (though it's definitely that!)—it's an active, involved opportunity for the whole family to grow and learn together.

We hope you will join us in learning through play in-person at our Downtown and Chesterfield locations during our new hours and at home with our Play At Home Blog. Please check out the other initiatives we worked on while we were closed during the pandemic.

Play Ahead

PLAY AHEAD HELPS CHILDREN GET AHEAD

From fundamental concepts to socialization skills, research shows that play has a positive impact on a child's academic performance—and the more often they engage in play at an environment like the one shared at the Children's Museum, the more likely they are to find success inside the classroom.

Of course, your children may be too busy having fun to notice! Visit any Children's Museum location today to enjoy your unique, ever-changing exhibits and experiences, always encouraging learning through play!

Here, learning is always in play. And play is always the path to something greater.  

Explore the many benefits that come from play—download the content below to learn more about how children benefit when they play ahead.

Ten playtime tips

The Health Benefits of Play

Play for All Abilities

7 life skills learned through play

Why Play Matters

Playing with technology

Our History

The Children’s Museum made its debut as the Richmond Children’s Museum in 1981.

An arrangement was made with the City of Richmond School Board for the museum to lease the multi-purpose Navy Hill School building in downtown Richmond.

The museum opened to the public with its premiere exhibit, Boxes, Blocks, and Blueprints. For the next 18 years, the Children’s Museum welcomed children into its small but heroic 8,100-square-foot building. Then, in the year 2000, the Children’s Museum opened its new 44,000-square-foot facility on West Broad Street.

Over the next decade, the museum dedicated its efforts toward further serving our local communities by bringing even more opportunities to learn and play closer to where our visitors work and live. The Museum opened a satellite in Chesterfield County in the summer of 2012. The Children’s Museum of Richmond is proud to be the first children’s museum in the nation to develop this multiple-location model!

The Children’s Museum has also expanded its other programming as well. In 2012, the Children’s Museum of Richmond took ownership of the Central Virginia Children’s Book Bank and has since given away over 200,000 books to underserved children. In 2013, the museum merged with Commonwealth Parenting, allowing the museum to better support caregiver through classes and play groups.