Miami Children's Museum
Backstory and Context
Explore local lifestyle and culture in Meet Miami's mock neighborhoods, ports and cruise ship. See what life's like for police officers and firefighters in Safety Zone, where kids can dress the part and drive virtual motorcycles and fire trucks. For children under five, there's The Sea and Me exhibit, an ocean-inspired play area of water and bubbles. Create masterpieces of color and sound in the art and music rooms or exert energy on the rock-climbing course of "Mt. Michimu."
History of the Children's Museum
Ever since its founding in 1983, the Miami Children’s Museum has remained dedicated toward enriching the lives of all children by helping them reach their highest potentials and develop a lifelong relationship with learning. It was a group of forward-thinking community members who developed this mission, and two years after founding, these community members opened up the 2,000-square-foot Miami Youth Museum in a mall on Sunset Drive.
Around 9,301 locals and tourists visited the museum that yea. After changing locations to a 4,000 square-foot facility in South Miami’s Bakery Centre in 1986 and increasing its exhibition space by another 5,000 square feet in 1990, the Miami Youth Museum was attracting 35,000 people a year and reaching another 900,000 through community outreach programs.
Seven years later, in 1997, the museum changed its name to the Miami Children’s Museum, and in 2003, the museum opened its current location within a 56,000-square-foot facility. Nowadays, the Miami Children’s Museum records more than 430,000 annual visitors and it includes one of the top-rated pre-schools in Miami.1
Educational and Interactive Exhibits
Unlike other museums, the Miami Children’s Museum coordinates and develops its exhibits so that they all coincide with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) curriculum. Therefore, each visit to the museum provides nuanced and practical educational tools directly related to local classroom teachings.
If a student is having trouble learning about world cultures (or finds it boring), for example, the “World Cultures” interactive exhibit uses teddy bears to teach the importance of fostering respect and appreciation for others. Each exhibit at the museum also features a multi-tiered learning experience suitable for young children of all ages (within the exhibit’s targeted age range). Some of the exhibits at the museum include “Castle of Dreams,” “My Green Home,” “World Music Studio,” “Ocean Odyssey,” and others.2
Education and Outreach Programs
In addition to providing a wide array of exciting exhibits, Miami Children’s Museum also emphasizes a multifaceted outreach and education program. Some of the outreach programs available at schools or any other event include “Built It,” “Story Time,” “Art Techniques,” and “Healthy Bodies,” among others.
Educational programs at the museum include after school programs, camps, a charter school, early childhood classes, and even pre-school classes. In order to provide optimal education for local children, Miami Children’s Museum takes influence from classic education theorists such as Piaget while using time-tested methods, the latest education research, and visitor feedback.3