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Children's Museum of Illinois is a hands-on, interactive museum for children ages three to twelve. Its exhibits and activities complement and enhance children's educational opportunities, particularly in the arts and sciences. The museum contributes to the community's quality of life as an educational facility, visitor attraction, family activity destination, and site for volunteerism.
Children's Museum of Illinois (CMI) grew from a collaborative effort of the Decatur Area Arts Council and Junior Welfare Association of Decatur. The concern of these educators, community leaders, and volunteers was the lack of art and science activities available in area schools. In 1988, CMI (under the original name of the Decatur Area Children's Museum) was incorporated as a non-profit organization. The need for an interactive children's museum resulted from feasibility studies and when the museum opened in March 1990, it was housed in the Macon County Conservation District's Education Center.
With rapid growth in attendance, plans were developed to locate a permanent facility in Decatur's Scovill Park adjacent to Scovill Children's Zoo and Playground. CMI opened the doors of the new 20,000 square foot castle-like building in October 1995. In December 1995, it was named small institution of the year by the Illinois Association of Museums. Child Magazine has named CMI one of the top 25 children's museums in the country.
Educational programs are offered to area schools and community organizations in reading literacy, humanities, arts, and sciences. In 2012 and 2013, CMI was an excursion site for Camp Connections, the enrichment programming offered by Decatur Public Schools.
- Katie VanMetre
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