A Unique Building for a Unique Place
The idea to develop Creative Discovery Museum was initiated in 1989 by the Board of the Hunter Museum of American Art. After the board of the Hunter evaluated the viability of developing a children’s wing for the art museum, it recommended that a separate children’s museum be created as part of the revitalization of downtown Chattanooga. Creative Discovery Museum was incorporated in 1992 and the Hunter’s Director of Education became the founding director. The idea for the Museum quickly outgrew its origins. It evolved into a multi-disciplinary educational institution for young people, utilizing interactive programs and exhibits to explore art, music, science and technology.
From the beginning, input from children, parents, teachers, and supporters has been the key to our success. Initial funding was acquired from visionary individuals and foundations to make the plan for a children's museum a reality. Chattanooga public and private school students and 60 of their teachers determined that the Museum feature a hands-on, high-tech experience, while meeting curriculum goals of local school systems.
Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership in New York, acknowledged experts in children's museum design, was the building architect and designed all the inaugural exhibits. Their goal was to create a facility "rich in imagery, exciting to the eye, welcoming to the visitor and friendly to the child".
After extensive renovations and additions by Kraemer Design and Production, the Museum features several exciting permanent exhibits including: RiverPlay, the Little Yellow House, Arts Alley and the Back Alley Theatre, Excavation Station, the Inventors' Clubhouse, Lookout Tower, and the Rooftop Fun Factory.
Other fun spots in the 43,000 square foot, two-story building include a 118 seat auditorium, the Museum Shop, Café Dino-Mite, temporary exhibits gallery, classroom, a teaching kitchen and the birthday party room. We have something fun for children ages 4-months to twelve-years-old. All areas of the Museum are fully wheelchair accessible except the Lookout Tower and the top level of RiverPlay.