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Children's Museum of Houston facts for kids

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Coordinates: 29°43′21.7″N 95°23′06.1″W / 29.722694°N 95.385028°W / 29.722694; -95.385028

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Children's Museum of Houston
HoustonChildrenMuseum.JPG
Established 1980
Location Houston, Texas
Type Children's museum
Public transit access      Template:METRORail lines Museum District


The Children’s Museum of Houston (CMH) is a children's museum in the Museum District in Houston, Texas. Founded in 1980 and housed in a building designed by Robert Venturi, it offers a multitude of innovative exhibits and bilingual learning programs for kids ages birth to 12 years. It serves more than 1,400,000 people annually and operates as a 501(c)(3) under the direction of a Board of Directors.= It is one of 190 children's museums in the United States and 15 children's museums in Texas.

History

The Museum was founded in 1980 by a group of Houston parents who hoped to elevate early childhood development to a community-wide priority. The museum opened in 1984, and it originally leased space from the Blaffer Gallery of the University of Houston. Several years later, it moved to 11,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) of leased space in the former Star Engraving Company Building on Allen Parkway.

The current facility, located at 1500 Binz in Houston’s Museum District, opened in November 1992. Patricia C. Johnson of the Houston Chronicle said that the facility is "colorful." The building, at the time the one of the furthest east museums in the Museum District, had 44,000 square feet (4,100 m2) of space. It was designed to accommodate 350,000 annual visitors. The building was designed by Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi in association with Jackson and Ryan Architects who designed the space to evoke both institutional monumentality, "typical of the adult world" as well as playfulness befitting an institution primarily serving children. By 1997 the museum was having up to 700,000 annual visitors. Tammie Kahn, the executive director in 2009, said that by the year 1997 it was, as paraphrased by Jennifer Leahy of the Houston Chronicle that "apparent that the popular place needed more space." The museum began plans to move to a new location in the late 1990s.

After 1992, the museum's administrative and support offices were on the second floor of the facility. As of the 2009 move, the administrative and support offices moved to a 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) newly constructed facility at the intersection of Binz and Crawford, one and one half city blocks from the museum facility. The outreach program Institute for Family Learning now occupies the second floor.

The Museum operates as a 501(c)(3) under the direction of a Board of Directors.

Expansion

In 2009, the museum completed its grand expansion, which doubled its size to a total of 83,000 square feet (7,700 m2). The capital campaign completion increased the museum's bilingual, community-based educational outreach programs and provided new classrooms and lab spaces through the museum’s Institute for Family Learning. Also, the museum’s on-site Houston Public Library branch doubled in size. The new building addition seamlessly joins the original building and houses seven additional exhibit galleries designed to provide families with interactive learning experiences. Funding for the expansion came from a capital campaign that raised over $35.5 million.

Across the street from the main facility is the E. Rudge Allen Jr. Family Education Annex. Designed by Jackson & Ryan, it was also completed in 2009.

Attendance

The Museum serves more than 1 million people annually. In addition, every year the outreach programs of the museum serve 250,000 people. In 2009 Tammie Kahn, the executive director, said that social service agencies and outreach programs serving schools together provide tickets serving over 30 percent of the museum's visitors. This is so children of all socioeconomic levels may go to the museum.

Awards

In a 2005 ranking of children's museums MSN.com ranked it in first place in general. In 2001 Child Magazine ranked the museum in second place, after the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, in consideration of availability of staff, diversity of exhibits, and the overall experience.

Parents magazine rated it as "America’s No. 1 Children’s Museum." Nickelodeon Parent’s Picks named it the "Best Museum in Houston 2009 & 2010." KPRC-TV (Click2Houston) called it the “Best Museum 2010." Forbes magazine ranked it as a top children's museum. The museum is Citysearch.com’s nationwide 5-star children's museum.

Other awards include: TripSaavy’s 2018 Editor’s Choice Award “Best Family Attraction and Experience,” AAA 2018 Editor’s “Best Of Things To Do,” listed among Forbes, LA Times and USA Today’s “Best Children’s Museums in the U.S.,” TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence “Hall of Fame,” Kids Out and About “Top 20 Places to Take Kids in Houston,” The Culture Trip’s “Top Museum and Landmark to Visit in Houston” and one of “Houston’s Must See Museums” by Travel Channel.

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