About Creative Discovery Museum

Our Mission

To inspire all children to explore, innovate, create, and play

Our Vision:

To make our community the best place for a child to grow up.


Whether within the walls in Chattanooga or across the nation, Creative Discovery Museum is a leader in effectively sparking children's passions for learning through hands-on experiences, as well as, a vital educational resource collaborating with community partners across our region. As a non-profit institution only 60% of our budget is funded by ticket sales, membership or in-house museum purchases.

Within the Museum's Walls:

  • Over 209,000 visitors a year (including 33,000 free admission passes to underserved children and their families) experience hands-on learning in our core exhibits: RiverPlay, The Little Yellow House, Arts Alley, Excavation Station, Inventors' Clubhouse, Rooftop Fun Factory, The Lookout Tower.
  • A wide array of education programs within the Museum complement and enhance the core and temporary exhibits.
  • Science Theater - Science comes to life with spectacular demonstrations of physical and chemical phenomena. Children apply what is learned in a science show in hands-on workshops following the demonstration.
  • PlayGym - Offered for ages 4 months through 3 years, this caregiver and baby program offers multi-sensory stimulation for developing motor, cognitive and social skills.
  • Homeschool workshops - 1.5 hour lessons offered in two five-week series in the arts and sciences.
  • Spring and Summer Camps - Week long experiences center on a variety of themes in arts and sciences providing fun and learning at all age levels.
  • Club Discovery and Friends Discovery Camp - After school programs and summer camps designed to meet the needs of children with disabilities such as autism and Down Syndrome.
  • MAP Teen volunteer program - The Museum Apprentice Program provides 100 teens the opportunity to volunteer within the museum while developing leadership and life skills.
  • Preschool Adventure Days - One Saturday a month, special themes are explored through a variety of activities focused on the developmental needs of children 18 months to 4 years old.
  • ArtsLive programs - Offered to all Museum visitors, ArtsLive provides monthly performances and demonstrations by professional artists such as ballet performances, painting, etc.
  • School Tours - Specially designed tours for classes provide enhanced learning experiences.
  • Teacher workshops - Three-hour workshops based on temporary exhibits, as well as workshops offered in collaboration with other organizations including local universities and the school district.

The Museum Without Walls:

In addition to the educational programs and exhibits within our walls, the Museum serves children out in the surrounding community and in partnership with schools and other organizations. Over 46,000 additional children are reached in the following programs:

  • Museum A-Go-Go - Curriculum based programs provided in early childhood centers and elementary schools in the arts and sciences. The hands-on experiences correlate with the state education standards and are led by certified teachers on staff with the Museum.
  • Discovery Mobile - This mobile science and engineering lab features an interactive classroom on wheels that travels to schools, recreation centers and community events.
  • Family Nights - Held at local schools, Family Nights also promote parental engagement as the families explore math, science and health concepts together.
  • Science Troupe - This collaboration between high science teachers and the Museum science staff offers students a “for-credit” class. The Science Troupe develops and presents science demonstrations for elementary schools and Museum audiences. Tyner Academy, CGLA, Hixson and the STEM high school all currently have Science Troupes.
  • Distance Learning - now students outside the Chattanooga region can experience the unique classroom learning experiences offered by the Museum. Materials are shipped to classrooms and lesson activities are led by Museum Educators via Skype.
  • Museum Magnet collaboration - In collaboration with six other museum/institutions, Museum offers its facilities for use as a classroom resource to Normal Park Museum Magnet and Chattanooga Museum Magnet Middle School.

Our Service

We're a popular place! Our staff welcomes over 200,000 guests every year. The Museum fulfills its mission through permanent and temporary exhibits and an extensive array of education programs. The audience for these exhibits and programs include children, families, parents, teachers, caregivers, schools and organizations that serve children. The Museum is recognized as a vital educational resource and collaborates with over 40 different community partners providing a variety of educational programs.

The General Admission visitor to the Museum is offered a variety of programs including art lessons, science demonstrations, story times, as well as "spur of the moment" activities. The art lessons change monthly and offer parents and children the opportunity to engage in a fun educational lesson offered by trained instructors. The science demonstration changes two or three times per year and feature subjects such as liquid nitrogen, light, bugs, and health. The "spur of the moment" activities might include bringing a snake into the atrium of the Museum for children to touch or inviting children to "get their heart rates up" in an activity called Just Move.

We strive to be as accessible as possible to families throughout the greater Chattanooga area. Over 30,000 children and families take advantage of free admission programs each year. The Museum provides free admission to the community for two days during the week before Christmas. We also distribute free tickets to various social service agencies that serve clients that otherwise could not afford to come to the Museum. We also provide free admission to the families of children who attend the Museum Magnet elementary and middle schools. In addition to the free admission program, the Museum offers discounted admissions to school groups with students who participate in free or reduced school lunch programs.

The Museum's most recent 990 form is available.