The Midwest Children’s Museum is the first children’s museum designed to be universally accessible from the ground up. Children of all abilities will be able to access and enjoy a wide variety of experiences designed to spark the imagination and encourage development. And their parents, grandparents, family members and caregivers will be able to play alongside them, regardless of special needs or limited mobility.

“My son Evan was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome when he was three and a half. He is non-verbal, has severe developmental delays, seizures, and sensory issues, and he cannot walk independently. There is no place my husband and I can take Evan and our three other children, where we all can have fun, and Evan can participate. The Midwest Children’s Museum would meet a real need and would be such a gift to children and families like ours.”

– Kathryn Dudley, Endowment board member, parent of United Services alumni, and Attorney-Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal.

A New Children’s Museum

Children’s museums are unique because they provide a safe, nurturing place for children to learn through play and exploration in a space designed just for them. They also provide a much-needed opportunity for families to interact, bond and play together.

There are more than 350 children’s museums throughout the United States, attracting 31 million visitors per year. Most have an educational focus, combining specific learning objectives with play while helping children of all abilities develop and practice essential foundational skills.

“For 42 years, United Services has been a pioneer in inclusive education. We were the first in Missouri to create classrooms where typically developing children and children with special needs learn and play side by side. We are excited about the possibility of taking our expertise out of the classroom and creating a special place where everyone can have fun together, regardless of their abilities.”

– Denise Liebel, President & CEO

Much more than recreation

A children’s museum is many things rolled into one. It serves as:

  • A destination, attracting visitors to experience exhibits and programs.
  • A community resource, multi-purpose event space, and source of civic pride and identity.
  • An employer, creating jobs within its walls and in the surrounding area.
  • A social service organization, helping to meet children’s and families’ needs.
  • An educational laboratory, developing, modeling and promoting new learning approaches.
  • A bridge, enabling people with different abilities, ages and backgrounds to learn and play together.

“It’s so exciting that an organization like United Services for Children with their deep expertise in accessibility and inclusion is working to develop a museum based on that foundation. It will certainly be unique among children’s museums around the globe.”

– Laura Huerta Migus, Executive Director, Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)

Designed like no other

The Midwest Children’s Museum will be the first in the nation to be fully accessible to children and adults of all abilities. Children with disabilities and typically developing children will play and learn side by side. Every exhibit will be designed so that there is something challenging and enriching for each child, as well as building parental enrichment into every activity. It will accommodate the complex sensory needs of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Activities will emphasize STEAM, an educational approach that uses science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics to help children develop creative problem solving and critical thinking skills. The Midwest Children’s Museum will be a game changer.