The Children's Museum of the Sierra is a discovery museum for young people (ages 2-12) and their families, providing hands-on exhibits and programs designed to encourage visitors to learn by doing, imagining, creating and making choices. Our primary audience is children of the mountain communities and the tourist population that visit the destination area of Yosemite National Park. We average 1,000 visitors monthly.
The museum operates under the auspices of the Educational Enhancement Foundation, a private nonprofit organization classified as a 501(c)3 by the IRS. Funds are generated by private contributions and earned income from membership, admission fees, grants, gift shop sales and special events. The museum development and exhibit design is provided by devoted and generous volunteers who have a passion for our museum and enhancing the lives of children.
The museum was founded in 1995 by a group of parents and individuals interested in bringing specialized programs to young people of the mountain communities. In 1997 the museum was awarded a grant by United Way of Madera County allowing the museum to open to the public on July 19, 1997 in a 1,000 square foot site. We soon outgrew this space and began searching for larger quarters that were affordable. We moved during February of 2000 into our new location of approximately 4,000 square feet of exhibit space!
The hands-on exhibits can be categorized as teaching scientific principles or allowing the child to learn about the world around them through dramatic play or artistic expression.
We are not a collecting museum in the traditional sense. That is one of the primary ways in which we differ from other museums. The Children's Museum uses teaching collections, providing objects to be handled, learned from and explored by the inquisitive participants.