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.

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Green Initiatives

A boy in a plaid shirt kneels over a rock to plunge his hand into the pond in MCM's rooftop garden

With a focus on children and the future, Madison Children’s Museum is committed to being green!

We know that what’s good for the planet is also good for kids, both immediately to protect their health and long-term to protect their futures. Madison Children’s Museum strives to be a balanced, sustainable organization, from exhibit design, to the materials we choose to clean with, to the programs we offer visitors, and to our leadership in the industry.

MCM is committed to:

  • Placing the health of visitors, the community, and the environment first in every decision
  • Modeling sustainable behavior for visitors
  • Using materials that are local, reclaimed, recycled, natural, organic, or donated
  • Using materials with low-embodied energy—that is, the total amount of energy required to manufacture a product is as little as possible
  • Working with local talent, including architects, designers, contractors, artists, and fabricators

LEED Gold Certified

In 2014 Madison Children’s Museum was awarded LEED Gold certification for an existing building. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

As the only museum in Wisconsin to earn this honor, this award recognizes our leadership in promoting sustainable design and practices–especially in the field of children’s museums.

To learn more about LEED or the certification process, read here.

Caretakers of Wonder

Caretakers of Wonder is a national project, led by MCM, that connects young children to nature, fosters empathy, and instills a sense of agency. Those are resiliencies kids need now to thrive in the world—later to change it. The project supports caretakers to help children grow and be healthy. And parents learn how they can take and model action in this global crisis—in straightforward and hopeful ways.  

Young kids can’t process doom & gloom talk about climate change—that can exacerbate “eco-anxiety,” resulting in avoidance and fear of nature. We don’t talk about “climate change” with these kids. Instead, Caretakers of Wonder provides children with informal educational experiences to improve their physical and mental health.  

The institutions on the project are also modeling solutions by reducing their carbon footprint. At the end of this two-year grant funded initiative, we’ll share resources that can be used by other museums & science centers—and any institution that cares about young children and the world they live in. 

At Madison Children’s Museum Caretakers of Wonder provides the framework for The Nice Age Trail, a new nature exhibit opening June 1, 2024. The project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and is a partnership with the Association of Children’s Museum and Environment and Culture Partners. 

Everyday Decisions, Long-Lasting Consequences

While prioritizing sustainability in our building and exhibit design has major, visible impacts, we also consider the health and sustainability impacts of all of the smaller decisions that go into running the museum and welcoming visitors.

Just a few of the measures we’ve taken to prioritize sustainability include:

  • Using cleaning products that are safe for children and for the environment
  • Stocking reusable cloths instead of paper towels to clean
  • Insisting on recyclable or compostable containers wherever possible in our cafe
  • Using electronic membership cards and digital communications wherever possible in our membership program
  • Minimizing the use of salt for snow removal
  • Installing energy-efficient systems for our heating/cooling/air filtration
  • Going paper-free wherever possible in our administrative offices
  • Collecting donations from the public to stock our art studio with material kids can up-cycle into art projects
  • Removing plastic toys from our birthday party guest bags
  • Stocking reusable cutlery and flatware instead of single-use plastics for our birthday parties and events
  • Using paper instead of plastic for table coverings
  • Asking for sustainable options from every vendor and partner we work with

Green Guide

For a more detailed description of our green efforts, read our Green Guide, or view our Green Museum Scavenger Hunt.

Green Guide: Highlighting the museum's commitment to working locally and sustainably

To better coordinate green practices in museums nationwide, we’ve launched as a resource for designing and building spaces that support a healthier future for kids and the environment.

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