Museum History, Vision & Mission
Where it All Began
The Children’s Museum of Cleveland (CMC) was first established in 1981 by a coalition of parents, educators and civic leaders to provide educational programs and activities to elementary school classrooms.
Our First Home
In 1986, CMC opened its first physical location when it moved to its former facility on Euclid Avenue in the city’s University Circle cultural center. Since 1986, young children have benefited from the intimacy and uniqueness of their own building so they could freely explore, touch and learn about the world in which they live.
Due to its lease not being renewed at its University Circle location, CMC purchased the historic Stager-Beckwith mansion in the Midtown neighborhood of Cleveland in December 2014. This would become the Museum's first permanent home. The Museum closed the University Circle facility on January 3, 2016, and began to serve the community through a dynamic series of programs held throughout the community while a new museum and all-new exhibits were developed in Midtown.
In Fall 2017, the Museum opened its doors and introduced this spectacular new home to the children and families of Northeast Ohio. In its new location, CMC more than doubled attendance compared to our prior facility, and grew our Membership to be six times greater than at our prior facility. CMC's new home has provided increased accessibility for underserved families, more than quadrupling the number of guests served through our Museum for All program each year. To this day, CMC continues to grow and expand our offerings to best serve our community.
A Vital Community Resource
CMC is the only Museum in the region dedicated exclusively to early childhood education. In an average year, CMC serves nearly 200,000 individuals through our innovative facility, events, and educational programs.
As CMC continues to put down roots in our new neighborhood, accessibility and equity are at the forefront of our work. We offer a range of free and reduced admissions programs, sponsored field trips, activity kits and more to make our resources more accessible for low-income families across our community. CMC also hosts clean and safe visits for families with special needs so that our facility can be as accessible as possible to ALL children and families. Through partnerships with Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and numerous social services agencies across our region, CMC works continually to better connect families to our facility and resources.
The Museum recognizes our role as an early childhood educational leader in our community, and our responsibility to contribute to a kinder and more just future for all. We have worked with local leadership at Cleveland State University's Diversity Institute to develop resources to support families in engaging in conversations about racial equity and racism. CMC also hosts workshops for parents and caregivers as well as interactive classes for children that support this learning and ongoing dialogue.
The goals outlined in this plan will help guide The Children's Museum of Cleveland to sustain ongoing growth, continue to embrace our position as a leader in learning through play, and prioritize resources for our community's most vulnerable children.
The Children’s Museum of Cleveland envisions a community where all families have access to the resources they need to raise creative, healthy, and well-educated children.
The Children’s Museum of Cleveland promotes the power of learning through play using innovative exhibits and programs designed for children birth to age 8 and is a valued resource to caregivers, families and community institutions that serve young children.