Providence Children's Museum

Providence Children's Museum Logo

Basic Information

Address: 100 South St. Providence, RI 20903
Phone Number: (401) 273-5437
Fax Number: (401) 273-1004
Director: Janice O'Donnell

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Additional Information

Ages for Volunteer: 16+
Hours of Service: Monday- Sunday 8:30-6:30pm
Minimum Hours Required: 3 hours per week
Days of Service: Monday- Sunday
Philosophy/Belief Statement:

The shared values of Providence Children's Museum staff and volunteers include:

* Respect for children, their caregivers, and each other
* The quality and beauty of our learning environment
* Providing accessibility for all people
* A variety of learning modalities in visitors and staff
* Creativity
* Free expression of ideas and opinions
* Integrity

Vision Statements

Providence Children's Museum is accomplishing its mission as long as it is:

* One of the leading resources in the region for interactive learning
* Aware of and responsive to community needs
* Celebrating diversity and promoting inclusiveness
* Providing high quality services for children and the adults who care for them
* Financially viable

Program History:

In the mid 1970s, the Pawtucket JayCees and other community leaders began exploring the idea of opening Rhode Island's first (and still its only) children's museum in Pawtucket. They envisioned a lively learning center modeled on the established children's museums in Boston and Brooklyn. Local parents, educators and business people formed a committed group of volunteers and incorporated the Children's Museum as a non-profit organization. The Pawtucket Congregational Church agreed to lease the Pitcher-Goff House, a 5,000 square foot Victorian on Pawtucket's "Quality Hill," to the fledgling museum. Volunteers renovated the Pitcher-Goff House, raised funds, sewed curtains and costumes, built intriguing play spaces and, in June 1977, began welcoming excited children and curious adults. Ten years later, Rhode Island's Children's Museum was a professionally staffed organization serving 50,000 visitors a year. It was attracting national attention as well as enthusiastic local support and had become a leader in the rapidly growing children's museum movement.

By the 1990s, the Museum had outgrown its space and its leadership began planning for expansion and relocation. They entered into a purchase agreement for a 17,000 square foot former factory building in Providence's historic Jewelry District and launched a $3 million capital campaign. The building was renovated for its new function as a learning center for children while its historic character was preserved. Museum designers and educators created 8,000 square feet of new interactive exhibits. The capital campaign surpassed its goal, raising a total of $3.3 million. In October 1997, the renamed Providence Children's Museum opened its new quarters at 100 South Street.

With its move to the Jewelry District, the Museum tripled its physical space and audience numbers. Over one million people have visited the Museum since its relocation in 1997. Its commitment to serving children has led to partnerships with Head Start, RI Department of Children, Youth and Families, and community centers and schools throughout the state. The Museum has become an integral part of Rhode Island life, a place where children are nurtured and celebrated.

For more information or to receive an Annual Report, contact Megan Fischer, Marketing and Public Relations Manager at (401) 273-5437 ext. 126.