Industries & Companies

Madison Children’s Museum

madison children's museumMadison has an award-winning new children’s museum—one that excites the mind, challenges the body, and engages the whole family in high-quality time. Founded in 1980 by a group of early childhood educators, Madison Children’s Museum has grown to become an educational leader, community partner, and source of inspiration for families in our region. The museum—which opened in August 2010 in its new location on a prominent corner of the Capitol Square—serves an estimated 200,000 visitors annually, including 10,000 visiting schoolchildren and more than 6,000 member families. Open seven days a week, the museum serves children ages birth to 12 with interdisciplinary exhibits and programs in the arts, history, culture, science, health, and civic engagement. The museum is bound by a commitment to serve ALL children and their families, and offers programs that provide free or discounted subsidized admission and membership to families on public assistance.

What makes Madison a good place to have a children’s museum? “Madison Children’s Museum contributes to the city’s reputation as a great place to raise a family. Not only do children and caregivers have tons of fun learning through play, but they also develop a deeper sense of place, since the museum makes a concerted effort to use only local people, local products, and processes that involve local citizens in developing its exhibits and programs. As a result, the museum reflects the incredible creativity and innovation of our region.”

– Ruth Shelly, former executive director, Madison Children’s Museum

Location: Madison, Dane County

Year Founded: 1980

Employees: 53 employees (part and full time)



Ranked fifth best in the nation among nearly 300 children’s museum’s by Parents Magazine, 2011; Downtown Madison, Inc. Community Asset Award, 2010; MetLife Foundation and Association of Children’s Museums’ Promising Practice Award for Only Local initiative, 2010; Association of Midwest Museums’ Best Practices Award for Only Local Initiative, 2010.