The Children’s Museum of Cleveland Aims to Provide World-Class Developmental Experiences for Kids

Callahan Foundation grant recipient The Children’s Museum of Cleveland uses the value of play to shape a new generation of emotionally healthy children who love to learn.

The Children’s Museum of Cleveland is a one-of-a-kind resource in Northeast Ohio: it’s the only museum dedicated to early childhood learning. The museum uses the value of play to shape children by fostering learning and development through experiences, exhibits, and educational programming, within and outside the museum.

“We are able to reach families in a unique way in that we provide a chance for them to share and learn through play,” describes CMC Executive Director Maria Campanelli. “Families come to the museum looking for fun and adventure; the learning is often a welcome byproduct but one that we seek to encourage at every turn.”

Now, the museum is creating a new model for the community’s children through the purchase and renovation of a new home, the former Stager-Beckwith Mansion along Cleveland’s historic Millionaire’s Row. The mansion will be transformed into a world-class children’s museum, with double the exhibit space of the former facility as well as outdoor green space. The CMC has designed exhibits by studying the success of other children’s museums, researching theories of play and child development, examining contemporary play trends, understanding Ohio learning standards, and incorporating feedback from former visitors and community stakeholders.

The Callahan Foundation is proud to support the expansion of the CMC with a $25,000 grant over the course of two years to support the renovation of the museum’s new home and exhibit development.

“These exhibits include Adventure City, which features a giant climber and gross motor creative play space, Wonder Lab, with water and air play that supports STEM learning, and more,” explains Karen Katz, Director of Exhibits.

Allen describes the experiences that result from the museum’s programming efforts as being most impactful.

“For example, in our former space, we welcomed a mother and her children to our Sensory-Friendly Time,” Campanelli says. “One of her children had physical and developmental disabilities that limited his ability to play with his siblings. Thanks to a therapeutic harness and the therapists who were there to help, her child was able to actually stand at the water table and play with his siblings. Mom cried, the staff cried… it was truly magical. These moments are what make our museum more than just a place to visit for some fun – they make it a place to explore, learn, and grow as a family.”

Learn more about The Cleveland Children’s Museum and its new Midtown location.