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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

CLEVELAND CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

The CLEVELAND CHILDREN'S MUSEUM is an educational facility aimed at a primary audience of children age 3-12. Its inspiration may be traced back to the first director of the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART, FREDERIC A. WHITING, who opened a children's section in the art museum in 1917 but was unsuccessful in his efforts to establish one as an independent entity. Incorporated on 2 April 1981, the present museum opened on 9 June 1986 in quarters formerly occupied by a Howard Johnson restaurant at Martin Luther King Blvd. and Euclid Ave. in Univ. Circle. Gerald T. Johnson, its first executive director, was succeeded in 1989 by Nancy King Smith. A "hands-on" museum, its interactive exhibits were devoted to such topics as bridges, home construction, light, water, and time. By the time the Charles Pinzone Pavilion addition opened in July 1992, the museum boasted a membership of 1,500 and an annual attendance of 100,000, 8,000 of which were free or subsidized through its Children's Fund. An operating budget of $600,000 provided for a full-time staff of 14, supplemented by 120 volunteers. Workshops were conducted to share the museum's philosophy and techniques with volunteers, teachers, and parents. In 1995 Marjorie M. Denton was the museum director and family membership stood at 1,200. The museum, a member of the Youth Museum Exhibit Collaborative and the Assn. of Youth Museums, was set to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 1996.