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Our New Home

We're not done yet!
The Hands On Children's Museum is truly a community treasure. It's a gathering place for families to spend time together and for the greater community to come together to share ideas, talents and resources. Our building is just the first step in our mission to encourage life-long play and learning for everyone. But there is still so much more to do!

We need your help to finish indoor and outdoor exhibits! As a donor, you can enrich the lives and stimulate the minds of hundreds of thousands of children. You will join our many generous supporters who have helped us develop award-winning educational programs and interactive learning exhibits, and you will preserve that experience for your children and grandchildren. 

Click on the links below to see our many supporters!

For more information on how to give, call (360) 956-0818 ext. 151.

Why We Built a Museum 

The Hands On Children's Museum and its programs and events serve more than 300,000 visitors annually. This is well above the national average and exceeds national recommendations for the size of our previous space. In fact, popular special events and programs at the old museum were often filled to capacity and had long waitlists. Such constraints often kept families from being able to enjoy the space. Before the move to the East Bay Waterfront, the museum had outgrown its space three times in the past 10 years! 

Now located on Olympia’s East Bay waterfront, our 28,000 sq/ft facility more than doubles the museum’s previous space to accommodate more than 300,000 visitors annually.  

We're Investing in Children and Their Families

  • Investing in the whole child from the earliest years builds a foundation for future success in school, work and life.
  • Revitalizing Olympia's East Bay waterfront is creating vibrant public spaces for families to enjoy and beautifying our city.
  • Creating an exciting Outdoor Discovery Center, the first of its kind attached to a children's museum in the Pacific Northwest, encourages families to reconnect with nature and to become better stewards of the environment.
  • Providing entire families with access to the arts in our Arts & Parts Studio and through our MakeSpace program builds critical thinking skills, observation skills and creativity.
  • We are reaching the lives of more than half the youth in the region through school field trips, teen volunteer service, family support programs and free access to high quality arts and science programs.

We're a Model of Sustainable Development

The Hands On Children's Museum is the centerpiece in a cluster of new projects that will incorporate sustainable building practices and innovative environmental partnerships. The entire East Bay development is located on a historic contamination site, and its public partners are converting the former industrial area into a safe, attractive community amenity. 
  • Certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) GOLD Facility
  • Co-generation project uses LOTT’s waste methane to heat and cool the museum
  • Water features using reclaimed water
  • Redevelopment of a historically contaminated, brownfield site
  • Use of low emitting building materials (paints, adhesives, flooring materials and composite wood)
  • Landscaping designed for water efficiency
The Hands On Children’s Museum believes in the interconnectedness of all things. Our success is linked to our ability to create a sustainable organization that balances both economic and environmental goals, while inspiring young children to appreciate the natural world and understand its importance to their future health and well-being. As educational and community leaders, we will model sustainability in our business practices, our exhibits and our education programs.

We're a Catalyst for Economic Development
Hands On attracts more than 300,000 visitors to the museum annually. With more activities to enjoy, tourists are traveling farther and staying longer – stimulating economic activity in downtown, the community and the region. This level of tourism is having a significant economic impact in Olympia.

A Public/Private Partnership 

The Hands On Children's Museum represents an $18M project funded by individual contributions, corporate, foundation and public grants, business sponsorships, Public Facilities District (PFD) funds and City of Olympia Tourism funds. We are currently in Phase II of our Capital Campaign which seeks to fund the completion of interior exhibits and the Outdoor Discovery Center.