Open Wed–Sun 9am–4pm, plus late on Thur til 8pm. • Get tickets.

Open Wed–Sun 9am–4pm, plus late on Thur til 8pm. • Get tickets.

Visit the Museum 608.256.6445 Find Us

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.
  • Integrity requires basing decisions on research, 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:

  • age
  • race
  • ethnicity
  • culture
  • income
  • language
  • religion
  • sexual orientation
  • sex
  • gender, gender identity and expression
  • parenting styles
  • family structure
  • learning styles
  • cognitive and physical ability
  • nationality
  • 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.


  • 2024 • Education, Visitor Services, and Outreach Teams – Winner, Governor’s Tourism Award for Service Excellence, Travel Wisconsin
  • 2023 • Distinction – Twelve Museum Innovations in 2023, American Alliance of Museums’ Dispatches from the Center for the Future of Museums newsletter
  • 2023 • Climate Champions Award – Catalyst category, Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change
  • 2022 • Best Museum, Best of Madison – Gold Category, Madison Magazine
  • 2021 • Exhibits Award– Sustainability Excellence Awards, American Alliance of Museums
  • 2021 • Best Museum, Best of Madison – Gold Category, Madison Magazine
  • 2021 • Most Loved Place to Go – Winner, Hulafrog Madison
  • 2020 • Best Museum, Best of Madison – Gold Category, Madison Magazine
  • 2020 • 10 Best Children’s Museums – USA Today’s 10Best 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards
  • 2020 • Most Loved Place to Go – Winner, Hulafrog Madison
  • 2019 • Best Museum, Best of Madison – Gold Category, Madison Magazine
  • 2018 • Women of Industry Award, Deb Gilpin, Madison Children’s Museum president & CEO, InBusiness Magazine
  • 2018 • Best Unique Venue Winner, Best of 2018, Wisconsin Bride Magazine
  • 2018 • 10 Best Children’s Museums in America, Reader’s Digest
  • 2018 • Best Museum, Best of Madison – Gold Category, Madison Magazine
  • 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 – 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 – 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 – Child Magazine
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