KID Museum is a creative learning space dedicated to empowering the next generation to invent the future with creativity and compassion. Our prototype site on the first floor of a Montgomery County, Maryland, public library is a step toward the museum’s vision of a larger, permanent home.
Founded seven years ago as a “museum without walls” (meaning that we traveled to deliver programming), KID Museum worked with the local government to secure a physical space in 2014, in the unused lower level of Davis Library in Bethesda, Maryland. That 7,500-square-foot (697-square-meter) space is now a dynamic learning center filled with children and families seven days a week. Through onsite programming and offsite festivals and events, we serve 55,000 visitors each year with hands-on, maker-based programming that incorporates STEM, art, and world cultures with 21st-century skills like creativity and critical thinking.
Being small means that KID Museum educators have the opportunity to prototype new programs in a quick time frame, and experiment with techniques in a way that might not always be possible in a larger institution. For example, KID Museum recently piloted an intensive robotics program for third graders. Our educators worked directly with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to quickly create a curriculum and enlist two schools that receive Title I funds (U.S. funding for schools with high percentages of children from low-income families). Within a few months, we developed and executed the program, which included three field trips to KID Museum, two sessions at the schools, and professional development for teachers. The pilot was a success, and the school system wants to expand the program to more schools next year.
To accommodate our space limitations and maximize capacity, we offer different programs at different times—for example, families can drop in during the weekends for hands-on activities and workshops, while school field trips and intensive school programs like Invent the Future Challenge are scheduled during the week (we often serve as many as three different groups a day), as are after-school programs and camps.