The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh uses hands-on exhibits (permanent and temporary), artifacts, performances, storytelling and art activities to help children better understand themselves, others, and the world. Permanent exhibits are designed to meet the needs of diverse ages and learning styles; they are truly multidisciplinary. Extraordinary climbing structures and a musical swing sculpture affirm the importance of gross motor activities and strengthen language arts skills. Health related exhibits focus on respect for the human body and self-esteem; they foster a sense of personal responsibility for developing good health habits.The idea of bringing a children’s museum to Pittsburgh began in 1976, when members of the Junior League of Pittsburgh met to determine the need and feasibility of a regional museum for children. Over the next six years the League received a grant to meet and interview museum professionals across the United States, hired a consultant to define their objectives and undertook a fundraising campaign. Their efforts were rewarded when, on June 12, 1983, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh opened in the Old Post Office, a historic landmark building on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
By 1987, the Museum had grown significantly, receiving a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create “Mystery, Magic and Mirth,” a nationally recognized puppet exhibit based on the collection of local puppeteer Margo Lovelace, moving into all three floors of the building, adding live performances to its repetoire of programs, and launching an extensive outreach program. In June 1991, citing the Children’s Museum’s “total and positive” association with the building, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation officially deeded the Old Post Office to the Children’s Museum.
The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh has grown to become the region’s foremost educational resource for young children and their families, serving more than two million people with innovative exhibits and programs.