The Museum Crafters Difference

We believe there could be more children’s museums if they just cost less.

The high price to build and operate children’s museums creates formidable barriers to entry.

  1. Expensive to Build: Nearly all the nation’s current 400 children’s museums cost $5M or more to open - some much more.
  2. Volunteer Start-Up Leadership: Most children’s museums are organized as nonprofits and governed by enthusiastic, committed volunteers without professional children’s museum or family attraction experience.  This means they must locate, research, and engage directly with a niche industry’s processes and players until they generate enough resources to hire professional staff.
  3. Steep Learning Curves: Volunteers naturally rely on the same established museum and exhibit designers who developed the existing, expensive museums.  Without museum operating experience, neither is well-positioned to fully anticipate how design choices today will impact operating costs tomorrow - often leading to increased annual budgets year after year.
  4. Limited focus: Volunteers starting children’s museums tend to focus on exhibits and programs because they naturally engage through a visitor’s perspective. This is like building a home while concentrating most of your energy on the furniture and cabinets.  With less attention on laying the foundation, framing, plumbing, and roofing, there will most likely be expensive problems down the road. Exhibits and programs are vital facets of a children’s museum, but so are less visible yet critical systems for ticketing, inventory, security, payroll, IT, accounting, risk management, and more.  Like most small businesses, there is more to maintaining a sustainable operation than the museum visitor sees or often considers.
  5. One-off process: Volunteers and even initial professional staff are understandably consumed with opening the only children’s museum their community will have, so there are few resources devoted to documenting processes and hard lessons learned that could benefit other communities.  Most founding committees we know took years – sometimes decades – to move from initial idea to opening day.

We remove the barriers...

Museum Crafters, LLC is the only one-stop shop for efficiently building and operating children’s museums.  Having overcome the barriers ourselves, we are excited to help communities achieve thriving children’s museums.

  1. We have opened more new children’s museum locations than anyone else in the United States. We know what works, and most importantly, what doesn’t. And we bring that knowledge to every project.
  2. We learned the hard way that decisions made during design/construction can have profound impacts on a museum’s daily operation. Our 30+ combined years of museum management experience informs every design choice and construction decision.  Bringing operational experience to the design process lowers operating expenses going forward.
  3. We use our comprehensive industry knowledge to accelerate the opening process, meaning visitors are inside the museum in months rather than years or decades.

Our Why...

We are driven to grow the nation’s inventory of children’s museums because we know the value they bring to families, communities, and society.  And we believe all children deserve to grow up regularly visiting a place where self-directed learning is fun, regardless of their financial circumstances.

We were the first to open satellite children’s museums and have opened more than anybody else.  We never spent $5M – we never spent half that – and we don’t believe anybody needs to. Our model networks community children’s museums to elevate their individual impact.  Museum Crafters can create a children’s museum for your community that will quickly become a treasured cultural institution for years to come.

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