The Children’s Museum of Richmond offers hands-on activities and educational experiences across four Richmond area locations. The museum’s activities and exhibits center around three main themes, Play, Learn and Impact. Play happens at each of the four locations, Central (downtown Richmond), Chesterfield, Fredericksburg and Short Pump.
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Over 70 interactive and educational exhibits offer learning opportunities through role-play and exploration. Exhibits include the Living Tree House, a multi-level climbing and play exhibit that includes live animals such as turtles, frogs and mice, and engages both the muscles and the mind. The Dairy Cow is a life sized replica cow that can be milked, this exhibit is partnered with the Wegman’s Grocery exhibit where children can take their carts through a store and make shopping choices which teach them about food and nutrition. The Silver Diner is a replica 1950’s diner where children play with organizational and sequencing skills. Water Play teaches problem solving and math skills as small boats make their way through a water maze. The Dino Dig Pit is an updated version of the sandbox, with dinosaurs to unearth beneath the sand. The Ant Farm is a self-directed maze that places kids in a life sized ant farm. Future Me allows children to explore careers through the use of an interactive touch screen which matches personal interests and goals. The Children’s Garden is an outdoor organic vegetable garden. Kids learn to make a connection about where their food comes from and spend time in nature. Each location has a Book Nook where kids can enjoy quiet time and read on their own, or listen to a story time. Through the Book Bank program, children may take home one book of their choice per year from any Book Nook.
History: The Children’s Museum of Richmond began with the name Richmond Children’s Museum in 1977 when the museum was granted the opportunity to rent downtown Richmond’s Navy Hill School building, thanks to the permission of the City of Richmond School Board. The museum opened there in 1981 with the exhibit “Boxes, Blocks and Blueprints.” Almost 20 years later, in 2000, the museum opened a new 44,000 square foot building on West Broad Street, 6 times the size of its original space. It now operates four facilities across the greater Richmond area. While each site has a few location-specific exhibits, most exhibits can be found at each site.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Programs at CMoR have had significant positive community impact. A partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University has involved over 26 graduate students who conduct research on child development at the museum through Seymour’s Living Lab. Over 48,000 books were donated to underserved communities through the Book Bank program. Scholarships and the Access for All programs have offered over 10,000 children free or reduced admission. Special Nights for Special Needs is a once-monthly program offering free museum admission and specially tailored programming to families of children with special needs. Events open to the public include the annual “Christmas in July,” which includes hands-on crafting activities, live music performances, and even “snow” in the museum’s backyard. Star Wars Day included live music and dance demonstrations by students from the Passion Academy and balloon-twister lightsabers. The Central, Chesterfield and Short Pump locations offer Summer Camps themed on engineering, science, or Legos. “10 Minute Talks” is a series of short talks where community organizations are invited to speak about their services. Past participants have included the Children’s Hospital of Richmond on the benefit of vaccines, the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls on their therapeutic services, and Connecting Hearts in Virginia, a non-profit advocating for foster care. The 10 Minute Talks are sponsored by Commonwealth Parenting, a partner of the museum that provides support for families, and skills to caregivers of children of all ages. CMoR is available for facility rental and birthday parties. Group field trips can be arranged for children in kindergarten through third grade. All field trips align with Foundation Blocks for Learning, the NAEYC Standards and the Virginia Standards of Learning. For children in pre-school or daycare, CMoR brings field trips off-site with thoughtfully designed play and learning programs. Fundraisers for the museum have included the Fredericksburg tricycle race, Trikes for Tykes, the Birdies for Charity golf classic and the annual Twilight Carniball.
2626 West Broad St. Richmond, VA 23220, Phone: 804-474-7062