Children's Museum Tucson
The Children’s Museum Tucson is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide fun, play-based, interactive, hands-on learning experiences for children and their families. Note: Unaccompanied adults may only visit the Museum with a CMT staff member, depending on availability.
Backstory and Context
With foresight and determination, a handful of prominent Tucsonans opened the Museum in 1986 in a one room building at Ft. Lowell Park. In 1991, the Children’s Museum Tucson moved into the historic Carnegie Library building in downtown Tucson. In 2012, over 144,000 children and families visited the Children’s Museum Tucson.
The Museum’s 17,000 square foot facility features thirteen permanent interactive exhibits, including Tucson Electric Power’s Electri-City, Bodyology, the Art Studio, Public Safety , Build It, Whistle Stop, Pet Vet and more. We also have Wee World, which is specially designed for children four years and under.
Play is the primary component in the Museum’s interactive exhibits. Focusing on learning by doing encourages fun educational experiences between children and their parents/caregivers. Beyond play, the Children’s Museum Tucson provides our community’s children a great out-of-classroom space, as all of our exhibits are aligned with Arizona Academic Standards. To foster learning, we offer nine age-appropriate Adventure Learning Tours that include a demonstration or activity coupled with Museum exploration.1
Carnegie Library building
The Children’s Museum Tucson occupies the 1901 Carnegie Library designed in the Neoclassical style by Henry C. Trost (1860-1933). In 1938 the library was expanded with a grant from the federal Public Works Administration. The design by architect Richard A. Morse replaced the Scott Avenue-facing radial apse containing the bookstacks with a three-level rectangular stack-room. A fire in 1941 destroyed the rotunda and caused the domed roof to collapse. In 1961, Arthur T. Brown’s design for extensive remodeling added a garden wall and removed many of the remaining decorative elements from 1901. Fronting the library is the massive Freeman Memorial Bench, designed in 1920 by Bernard Maybeck, and sculpted by Bejamino Bufano. In 1991 the Children’s Museum Tucson moved from Fort Lowell Park to the historic Carnegie Library building.7
1. "Children's Museum Tucson," Official website, accessed November 11, 2016.
2. "Parking Info," Official website, accessed November 11, 2016.
3. "Exhibits," Official website, accessed November 11, 2016.
4. "Adventure Learning Programs & Group Visits," Official website, accessed November 11, 2016.
5. "Birthday Parties," Official website, accessed November 11, 2016.
6. "Carnegie Library photo," Arizona Historical Society, Tucson, ca. 1950, accessed November 11, 2016.
7. "City-Owned Historic Destinations," City of Tucson website, accessed November 11, 2016.
8. "Facebook Page," Children's Museum Tucson, accessed November 11, 2016.
9. "Video -Children's Museum Tucson," YouTube Video, 30-sec. PSA, 2013, accessed November 11, 2016.