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About Madison Children’s Museum
We take play very seriously by engaging, challenging, and inspiring every visitor who comes through the Madison Children’s Museum doors. The dedicated staff drives our mission by creating custom-crafted, award winning exhibits; providing programming that brings all ages together; and focusing on sustainability. And, because we know how important play is to everyone, we’re committed to assistance programs that allow all children to enjoy our learning playground.
Madison Children’s Museum connects children with their families, their communities, and the world beyond through discovery learning and creative play.
Madison Children’s Museum strives to be a welcoming, imaginative, joyful learning environment that supports families in nurturing children’s creativity and curiosity. We foster the healthy development of all children so that they will fulfill their potential and become engaged community members and global citizens.
Our core values reflect what we believe is in the best interest of children—always.
We believe in: Play, Integrity, Creativity, Collaboration, Risk, Inclusiveness, Learning, and Sustainability.
We believe that
- Play is the work of childhood and the joyful right of all children.
- We strive for integrity by basing our decisions on research, our experience and the best interests of children.
- Creative environments help people learn to solve problems, find beauty in uncommon places and unleash their most innovative and unique selves.
- People value and champion what they collaborate to build.
- Taking progressive risks in childhood builds confidence to take healthy risks later in life.
- Inclusive play leads to working and living together successfully.
- Learning through play lays the foundation for a lifetime of critical thinking and intelligent living.
- Sustainable stewardship of our resources demonstrates our interconnectedness and inspires thoughtful choices.
At Madison Children’s Museum children are the center of our work. We encourage their fullest potential as artists, scientists, inventors, naturalists, explorers, and, above all, empathetic global citizens. We strive to create a community hub that takes into account the opportunities and challenges of our locale where all children, and the adults in their lives, feel welcomed, valued, connected, and included. We embrace and live the ideals of Access, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for all as a foundation for institutional excellence. We understand these ideals to mean the following:
- Access means I know where the front door is and I can get to it and through it.
- Diversity means I see myself reflected and respected in the organization at every level.
- Equity means I am supported by systems and policies that ensure I can succeed, despite historic patterns of exclusion.
- Inclusion means I have voice in the organization.
We recognize and respect the broad dimensions of diversity including, but not limited to:
- sexual orientation
- gender, gender identity and expression
- parenting styles
- family structure
- learning styles
- cognitive and physical ability
- country of origin
- physical and mental health
Diversity is far more than we can see or list. We understand culture stretches beyond ethnicity— that it is a set of values, beliefs, traditions and experiences.
To be an inclusive organization we promise to:
- Listen to our communities’ hopes, dreams, and needs so that we, working together, manifest our greatest strengths as a community.
- Practice diversity and equity in our organization through recruiting, retaining, and valuing diverse volunteers, staff, and board members, which ensures innovation and sustainability of the organization well into the future.
- Create inclusive communities through exhibits, programs, policies, facilities, and partnerships that reflect and celebrate our rich differences and common goals.
- Strengthen children’s abilities to create and problem-solve together, through play, in order for them to succeed in an increasingly diverse and global society.
- Foster empathy for children and families where everyone is accepted for their unique interests and abilities.
2017 • Best Museum, Best of Madison – Gold Category, Madison Magazine
2017 • Most Loved Place to Go – Winner, Hulafrog Madison
2016 • Certificate of Excellence – Winner, TripAdvisor
2016 • Top Family Attraction for Wisconsin – 50 states series, TripAdvisor
2016 • Best Museum, Best of Madison – Gold Category, Madison Magazine
2015 • Madison’s Favorite Kids’ Birthday Party Place – Gold Category, Isthmus
2015 • Certificate of Excellence – Winner, TripAdvisor
2015 • WASC Friend Award, Wisconsin Association of School Councils
2015 • Best Museum, Best of Madison – Gold Category, Madison Magazine
2014 • Brava Raves & Faves Award, Kids, Enrichment & Extracurricular Classes, Brava Magazine
2014 • One of the Most Loved Kids Party Places, Hulafrog
2014 • LEED Gold Certification for an existing building, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)
2014 • Madison’s Favorite Kids’ Birthday Party Place – Gold Category, Isthmus
2014 • Best Museum, Best of Madison – Gold Category, Madison Magazine
2014 • Best Kids’ Entertainment – Silver Category, Madison Magazine
2014 • Certificate of Excellence – Winner, TripAdvisor
2013 • Madison’s Favorite Kids’ Birthday Party Place – Silver Category, Isthmus
2013 • Star Award Winner, Wisconsin State Journal
2013 • Best Museum, Best of Madison – Gold Category, Madison Magazine
2012 • Wisconsin Art Education Association’s Celebrating Youth Art Month Award
2012 • AIA Wisconsin Design Merit Award
2012 • Wisconsin American Institute of Architects Owner Award
2011 • National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services
2011 • MCM received Madison Magazine‘s Best of Madison Gold Award for Best Museum
2011 • Wisconsin Builder Top Projects Award presented to Madison Children’s Museum and J.H. Findorff & Son
2011 • MCM received the MetLife Foundation & Association of Children’s Museums’ Promising Practice Replication Award for its Only Local initiative; the funds will allow for the development of an online tool kit that will share MCM’s green practices with museums everywhere
2011 • MCM won In Business magazine’s Commercial Design Award in the Best New Development or Renovation–Education category
2011 • MCM was ranked the fifth-best children’s museum in the U.S. by Parents magazine
2011 • MCM received the Downtown Madison, Inc. Community Asset Award
2010 • MCM received the Best Practices Award from the Association of Midwest Museums for its Only Local initiative, which includes green practices and involvement of the local community in planning for the new museum
2007 • Top 20 Children’s Museums in America by Grand Magazine
2004 • Folklore Society Dorothy Howard Prize for Folklore and Education for the Hmong at Heart exhibit
2003 • The Freeman Foundation Asian Exhibit Initiative, administered by the Association of Children’s Museums
2002 • Ranked top 10 national children’s museums by Child Magazine