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

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.

While our doors are closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic we hope you will join us in learning through play at home with our Play At Home Blog and check out the other initiatives we've been working one while we wait to reopen.

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 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.

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 play closer to where our visitors work and live. Children’s Museum Short Pump was opened in 2010, followed soon after by Chesterfield and Fredericksburg locations’ being unveiled in 2012 and 2014, respectively. The Children’s Museum is proud to be the first children’s museum in the nation to develop this multiple-location model!