Houston Children’s Museum
The Children’s Museum of Houston (CMH) is a 501 non-profit children’s museum located in the Museum District of Houston, Texas. Founded in 1980 and housed in a building designed by Robert Venturi, it offers exhibits and bilingual educational programs for children ages 0-12 and serves more than 1,400,000 people each year. It is one of 190 children’s museums in the United States and 15 children’s museums in Texas. CMH was founded in 1980 by a group of Houston parents. It opened in 1984 and originally rented space from Blaffer Gallery of the University of Houston; it moved several years later to 11,000 square feet (1,000 m2) of leased space in the former Star Engraving Company building on Allen Parkway. Its current building, located at 1500 Binz in Houston’s Museum District, opened in November 1992 and is 4,100 m2 ( 44,000 sq ft. It was designed for 350,000 annual visitors. The building was designed by Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi (in collaboration with Jackson and Ryan Architects), who designed the space to evoke both the institutional monumentality of an “adult world” and the playfulness appropriate for an institution primarily serving children. By 1997, CMH had 700,000 visitors each year. Executive Director Tammie Kahn said in 2009 that by 1997, according to Jennifer Leahy of the Houston Chronicle, “it became apparent that the popular venue needed more space.”
The museum began plans to move to a new location in the late 1990s. After 1992, the second floor of the facility housed the administrative and support offices of CMH. These administrative and support offices moved in 2009 to a newly constructed 17,000 square-foot (1,600 m2) building at the intersection of Binz and Crawford, 1.5 blocks from the museum building. The Family Education Institute’s outreach program is now located on the second floor. The museum operates under a 501 board of directors. In 2009, the museum completed its expansion, doubling the area to a total of 83,000 square feet (7,700 m). It increased the museum’s bilingual community-based education programs, provided new classrooms and laboratory space through the museum’s Family Learning Institute, and doubled the size of the museum’s Houston Public Library branch. The new building is connected to the original building and contains seven new exhibition galleries. The expansion was funded by a capital campaign that raised more than $35.5 million. Across the street from the main building is E. Rudge Allen Jr. Family Education Annex. Designed by Jackson and Ryan, it was also completed in 2009. Don’t forget to check out this place in Houston too.
The Children’s Museum of Houston is committed to transforming communities through innovative, child-friendly learning. With a focus on empowering parents to be their children’s first and most influential teachers, we provide families in the museum and community with meaningful bilingual resources that prepare children for success in school and instill in them the confidence to be lifelong learners. These resources give parents and caregivers the tools they need to make learning a part of their children’s everyday lives. If you are ever in need of home renovation or repair, click here.