Museums are generally thought of as places that collect and display objects. Anyone who is new to the children’s museum world wonders at first why they are called museums. There are several explanations. From a historical perspective, children’s museums did start out as collection-based institutions. The first children’s museum in the world is Brooklyn Children’s Museum in the United States of America. Initially, it was like any other museum, with objects considered likely to be of interest to children’s learning displayed in cases and labelled. In the sixties, with the volume of research results indicating the values of informal learning, children’s museums began to take the objects out of their cases in acknowledgement of children’s needs.
Today, children’s museums remain curators; curators of experiences, not objects. Children’s museums have remained allied with the museum community, with an evolving definition as spaces for learning in three dimensions, places for experiential learning. While the primary mode of interaction with the spaces is play, they are simultaneously educational.