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The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is a nonprofit institution [501 (C) (3)] committed to creating extrordinary family learning experiences that have the power to transform the lives of children and families. The 472,900 square-foot facility houses 11 major galleries. Visitors can explore the physical and natural sciences, history, world cultures, the arts, see how dinosaurs lived 65 million years ago in Dinosphere: Now You're in Their World®, experience Dale Chihuly's Fireworks of Glass and examine children's impact in shaping history in The Power of Children: Making a Difference. The Chldren's Museum, situated on 20 acres of land in Indianapolis, presents hundreds of programs and activities each year.
Mission: To create extraordinary learning experiences that have the power to transform the lives of children and families.
Annual Attendance: More than 1 million. Each year The Children's Museum welcomes more than 47,000 visitors at reduced or free admission through the Access Pass, Foster Family Membership Program, Neighborhood Nights, 30/34 Club and Target Free Family Nights.
Funding: The Children's Museum is a nonprofit institution with revenues from investment income; contributions and grants from individuals, foundations, corporations and groups; earned
Budget: Total museum budget $26.4 million in 2008:
Facility: Museum established in 1925. Opened to public in 1926. Moved to current location in 1946.
1976 expansion: Main building. $9 million, 225,000 square feet, designed by Wright, Porteous and Lowe.
1988 additions: Welcome Center, Spacequest® Planetarium, additional classroom space and new galleries for special exhibits. $16 million, 80,000 square feet, all designed by Woollen, Molzan
1996 additions: CineDome™ theater and Allen W. Clowes Festival Park. $14 million, 32,000 square feet, designed by Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Inc.
2004 additions: Dinosphere: Now You're in Their World and parking garage. $57 million, 46,000-square-foot expansion and renovation of CineDome and addition of 293,200-square-foot parking garage designed by Ratio Architects.
2006 addition: Fireworks of Glass. $4.5 million, 43-foot-tall tower, glass ceiling and hands-on exhibit area containing 4,800 pieces of glass designed by artist Dale Chihuly. Interior by Ratio Architects and ceiling construction provided by Sheil Sexton, Inc.
2009 additions: Take Me There: Egypt, current Welcome Center, renaming of the previous Welcome Center to Sunburst Atrium, Skywalk over Illinois Street, installation of the brachiosaurs, the Seven Wonders sculptures and renovations to infoZone and the museum store. $20.1 million, 39,900 square feet, designed by Ratio Architects.
Collections: The Children's Museum of Indianapolis maintains a collection of more than 110,000 artifacts, the largest collection of any youth museum in the world.
Staff and Volunteers: The Children's Museum employs approximately 200 full-time and 200 part-time staff members. More than 1,000 adult volunteers, interns and board members donate more than 67,000 hours annually to a variety of museum projects. Approximately 25 youth volunteers participate in the Museum Apprentice Program, where they are trained to lead interactive demonstrations and activities for visitors. Each year, about 470 members of The Children's Museum Guild contribute more than 28,000 volunteer hours and raise more than $450,000 through the annual Haunted House fundraising project.
Fireworks of Glass—See Fireworks of Glass, the largest permanent installation by renowned artist Dale Chihuly, which includes a 43-foot-tall tower constructed of 3,200 pieces of blown glass, as well as a “floating” glass ceiling. Below the tower, the Lower Level houses a permanent interactive exhibit area where visitors can further explore the art of glassblowing.
All Aboard!—In 1868, Reuben Wells designed a 35-foot-long, 55-ton steam engine to conquer Indiana’s Madison Hill, the steepest railroad grade in the United States. This powerful locomotive now resides in the museum, where visitors can climb on board for a simulated journey.
SpaceQuest Planetarium—The museum’s 130-seat SpaceQuest Planetarium features a DigiStar® sky projection system. Special programs provide a whole new perspective on the stars.
Lilly Theater (Ruth Allison Lilly Theater)—Fantasy, comedy and teaching come together in children’s theater. Actors use familiar and surprising stories to engage audiences.
Welcome Center—The Welcome Center is your first impression of the museum. The Welcome Center provides a host of services for visitors, such as the Box Office, a members-only counter, a self-service locker room, stroller and wheelchair rentals, limited coat check, family restrooms, infoZone library, and The Children's Museum Store.
Water Clock—While water clocks date back to ancient Egypt and Greece, none can match the museum’s for accuracy or innovation. Built by French physicist-turned-artist Bernard Gitton, it’s the largest water clock in North America. More than 40 glass pieces comprise the 33-foot-tall clock.
Food Court—The Food Court offers menu choices that appeal to children and adults, including BurgerWorks and Italian, deli and home-style meal stations.
The Children’s Museum Store—The store’s selection of products is carefully chosen to interest children and adults. The command center and video monitors guide visitors to the Science, Arts and Crafts, Imagination and Kidstuff zones.
Dinosphere: Now You’re in Their World—Children and families are immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the Cretaceous Period, 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs last roamed the earth. Dinosphere includes the Paleo Prep Lab, a Dino Dig and the Mann Properties Dinosaur Art Gallery featuring the John Lanzendorf Collection of dinosaur imagery.
Special Exhibit 1 (Spurlock Special Exhibition Gallery)
Special Exhibit 2 (Johnson-Weaver Pavilion)—Traveling exhibits from all over the world find a temporary home in the museum’s special exhibit galleries.
Special Exhibit 3 (Eli Lilly Center for Arts Exploration or CFAX) This center is dedicated to the exploration of visual arts, dance theater, literature and music. Visitors make their own master-pieces with make-and-take workshops, instruction programs and activities.
infoZone—This unique library experience combines the museum’s strength in sparking interest in a topic with the library’s strength in offering in-depth information. infoZone is the result of a partnership between the museum and the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library.
Polar Bear—An icon for The Children’s Museum, the polar bear has been on display since 1964. Many of today’s parents remember seeing the polar bear when they were young.
MiniMasterpieces—See the museum’s collection of miniature rooms decorated in Colonial, Victorian and New England styles.
The Power of Children—Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges and Ryan White were typical children who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Travel through each child’s life to discover what made them heroes of the 20th century, and how children today can make a difference.
Story Avenue: African American Voices That Teach Us All—In this gallery designed to share lessons on life through stories, visitors eavesdrop on a family’s Sunday dinner conversation, bedtime stories or the latest news at the local barbershop.
Playscape—Activities encourage children ages 5 and younger to learn through play with their family. A special section of the gallery, Babyscape, invites infants and toddlers to explore with their senses.
Race car—This authentic 2000 Indy car invites children to climb inside and imagine themselves speeding around the track.
ScienceWorks in the Dow Science Center—Dedicated to the natural and physical sciences, ScienceWorks features a fresh water pond, an interactive watershed table, rock climbing and a construction site.
SciencePort: Gateway to Extraordinary Learning—This interactive science program in ScienceWorks encourages families and school groups to work with each other to better understand scientific concepts. SciencePort is a family-friendly experiencethat fosters interaction and accommodates many learning styles.
Biotechnology Learning Center—Discover the history and science behind plant biothechnology through hands-on demonstrations and activities in ScienceWorks in the Dow Science Center.
Carousel Wishes and Dreams—Experience the wonder of the Carousel and the magic of imagination. Enjoy a mirror maze, a tree house, a walk-in kaleidoscope, toy trains, a pretend soda shop and a playhouse. The Carousel is wheelchair accessible.
Mastodon—Found in Greenfield, Ind., this mastodon skeleton is approximately 12,500 years old.
Ball Dollhouse—Intricate furniture and detailed interiors.