Children's museums represent important sites for learning that can operate either in conjunction with or independently from schools. Their hands-on approach and play-based inquiry have the potential to draw students into learning in ways that are not as easily achieved in the public schools.

The idea of the museum as an educational force is taken for granted today by most educators and museum personnel. Yet it is a relatively modern concept dating from the second half of the nineteenth century, one that came to be realized in 1899 with the founding of the first children's museum in the United States, the Brooklyn Children's Museum, and with the organization in 1905 of the first American educational museum to be sponsored by a school system, the Educational Museum ...

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