Austin Children’s Museum was founded in 1983 by a grassroots group of parents and educators who wanted local children to have more educational and cultural opportunities. At that time, we were a “museum without walls”—our founder drove tabletop exhibits around town in her station wagon and presented activities and programs in schools, parks, libraries and, yes, even malls.
In 1987, we settled into our first brick-and-mortar home—a 5,000-square-foot building on W. 5th St. For the next 10 years, we presented exhibits, experiences and educational programs for local kids and families. During this time, we developed exhibits that traveled to other children’s museums around the country, gaining quite a reputation.
By the mid 1990s, Austin was booming, and we had outgrown our home. Fortunately, the community recognized the importance of our organization and supported an expansion campaign. The result was our 1997 move to downtown Austin’s warehouse district. Relocating to our 2nd St. facility through a 10-year, rent-free lease was a huge step for Austin Children’s Museum, but we knew when we opened the doors that Austin was growing and we’d eventually need to expand.
In December 2013, Austin Children’s Museum became Thinkery and opened at its new location—a 40,000-square-foot facility in the Mueller community. Thinkery delivers its mission through a variety of exhibits and programs that focus on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). Museum activities revolve around educational experiences led by staff, so each visit is different from the last!
Thinkery is funded through a combination of philanthropic gifts and earned income. Additionally, the museum is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.