The Children’s Museum of Houston (CMH) is a children's museum in the Museum District in Houston, Texas. The museum is one of 190 children's museums in the United States and 15 children's museums in Texas.
The Museum was founded in 1980 by a group of Houston parents who hoped to elevate Early childhood development to a community-wide priority. The museum opened in 1984, and it originally leased space from the Blaffer Gallery of the University of Houston. Several years later, it moved to 11,000-square-foot (1,000 Sq mi) of leased space in a building on Allen Parkway. The current facility, located at 1500 Binz in Houston’s Museum District, opened in November 1992. Patricia C. Johnson of the Houston Chronicle said that the facility is "colorful." It was designed to accommodate 350,000 annual visitors.
The building was designed by Robert Venturi, who studied child psychology and wanted to instill an idea of universality within the Museum. By 1997 the museum was having up to 700,000 annual visitors. Tammie Kahn, the executive director in 2009, said that by the year 1997 it was, as paraphrased by Jennifer Leahy of the Houston Chronicle that "apparent that the popular place needed more space." The museum began plans to move to a new location in the late 1990s.
The museum broke ground on August 27, 2007 for the new museum wing. The expansion will result in doubling the museum’s size to a total of 83,000 square feet (7,700 Sq mi). This expansion will expand the museum's bilingual, community-based outreach programs and provide classrooms and lab spaces through the museum’s Institute for Family Learning. Also, the museum’s on-site Houston Public Library branch will double in size. The new building addition will seamlessly join the current building and will house seven new exhibit galleries designed to provide families with interactive learning experiences. Funding for this new building came from a capital campaign that raised over $35.5 million.
As of 2009 the Association of Children's Museums states that the museum is the fifth most attended children's museum in the United States. In addition, every year the outreach programs of the museum serve 150,000 people. In 2009 Tammie Kahn, the executive director, said that social service agencies and outreach programs serving schools together provide tickets serving over 30 percent of the museum's visitors. This is so children of all socioeconomic levels may go to the museum.