Children's Museum of Houston

Coordinates: 29°43′21.7″N 95°23′06.1″W / 29.722694°N 95.385028°W / 29.722694; -95.385028

Children's Museum Houston (CMH) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit children's museum in the Museum District of Houston, Texas. Founded in 1980 and housed in a building designed by Robert Venturi, it offers exhibits and bilingual learning programs for children aged 0-12, serving more than 1,400,000 people annually. It is one of 190 children's museums in the United States and 15 children's museums in Texas.[1]

Children's Museum Houston
LocationHouston, Texas
TypeChildren's museum
Public transit access Museum District
Location marked as CMH
Location within Houston Museum District


CMH was founded in 1980 by a group of Houston parents.[citation needed] It opened in 1984, originally leasing space from the Blaffer Gallery of the University of Houston; it moved several years later to 11,000 square feet (1,000 m2) of leased space in the former Star Engraving Company Building on Allen Parkway.[1]

Its current facility, located at 1500 Binz in Houston's Museum District, opened in November 1992, and features 44,000 square feet (4,100 m2) of space.[2] It was designed to accommodate 350,000 annual visitors.[1] The building was designed by Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi (in association with Jackson and Ryan Architects), who designed the space to evoke both institutional monumentality "typical of the adult world" as well as playfulness befitting an institution primarily serving children.[3] By 1997, CMH received 700,000 annual visitors. Executive director Tammie Kahn said in 2009 that by the year 1997 it was, as paraphrased by Jennifer Leahy of the Houston Chronicle "apparent that the popular place needed more space."[4] The museum began plans to move to a new location in the late 1990s.[1]

After 1992, CMH's administrative and support offices were located on the facility's second floor. These administrative and support offices moved in 2009 to a 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) newly constructed facility at the intersection of Binz and Crawford, 1.5 city blocks from the museum facility. The outreach program Institute for Family Learning now occupies the second floor.[1]

The museum operates as a 501(c)(3) under the direction of a board of directors.[citation needed]


In 2009, the museum completed its expansion, doubling its size to a total of 83,000 square feet (7,700 m2). This increased the museum's bilingual, community-based educational outreach programs, provided new classrooms and lab spaces through the museum's Institute for Family Learning, and doubled the size of the museum's on-site Houston Public Library branch. The new building addition joins the original building and houses seven additional exhibit galleries. The expansion was funded by a capital campaign that raised over $35.5 million.[5]

Across the street from the main facility is the E. Rudge Allen Jr. Family Education Annex. Designed by Jackson & Ryan, it was also completed in 2009.[6]


CMH serves more than 1 million people annually; its outreach programs annually serve an additional 250,000 people.[1] In 2009, executive director Tammie Kahn said that social service agencies and outreach programs serving schools together provide tickets serving over 30 percent of the museum's visitors.[4]

AwardsEdit awarded CMH first place in a 2005 ranking of children's museums. In 2001, Child Magazine ranked the museum in second place, after the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, in consideration of the availability of staff, diversity of exhibits, and overall experience.[1]

Parents magazine rated it as "America's No. 1 Children's Museum."[7] Nickelodeon Parent's Picks named it the "Best Museum in Houston 2009 & 2010." KPRC-TV (Click2Houston) called it the "Best Museum 2010." Forbes magazine ranked it as a top children's museum.

Other awards include: TripSaavy's 2018 Editor's Choice Award "Best Family Attraction and Experience," AAA 2018 Editor's "Best Of Things To Do," listed among Forbes, LA Times, and USA Today's "Best Children's Museums in the U.S.," TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence "Hall of Fame," Kids Out and About "Top 20 Places to Take Kids in Houston," The Culture Trip's "Top Museum and Landmark to Visit in Houston" and one of "Houston's Must-See Museums" by Travel Channel.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Johnson, Patricia C. "Houston children's museum to double in size." Houston Chronicle. Wednesday October 11, 2006. Retrieved on August 26, 2012.
  2. ^ Sarnoff, Nancy (2005-02-05). "Growing Museum District will be 'like nothing else'". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
  3. ^ VSBA. The Children's Museum of Houston. 1992.
  4. ^ a b Leahy, Jennifer. "Visitors swarm expanded Houston Children's Museum." Houston Chronicle. Saturday March 14, 2009. Retrieved on August 26, 2012.
  5. ^ "Campaign Update". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. March 12, 2009. p. 22.
  6. ^ "Gray Boxes." Arts and Culture Texas. June 29, 2012. Retrieved on March 25, 2016.
  7. ^ Cicero, Karen. "10 Best Children's Museums: 2011". Parents magazine. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  8. ^ "Awards and Recognitions". Children's Museum of Houston. Retrieved 2020-01-07.

External linksEdit