“ Lao Niu Children’s Exploration Museum” project is a 0-to-7-year-old early childhood education project jointly developed by our Foundation together with Hohhot Municipal Government, China National Children’s Center, and China Philanthropy Research Institute, Beijing Normal University. It establishes two innovative, interactive, and demonstrative children’s exploration museums respectively in Beijing and Hohhot through the introduction of the advanced design concepts and commonweal practice models of the European and American children’s museums, combining the outstanding Chinese traditional culture and the actual development of Chinese education for children. The educational philosophy of the project is to allow children to gain a correct understanding of the world through practice, observation, and discovery; and to grasp accurate judgments on things through trials, explorations, and thinking. It designs interactive items that encourage self-directed learning to make children more confident; builds a learning environment with no restrictions of thinking to allow children to become more creative and imaginative; organizes activities in the museum to help children understand this diverse world and form correct values; and guides children to accept challenges, developing potentials, and build a fighting spirit.
Since opening on June 1, 2005, CNCC Lao Niu Children’s Exploration Museum (Beijing Museum) has received more than 440,000 visits and 942 visiting units. And it is even difficult to get tickets during holidays and festivals. This project has received important instructions in cooperation model, project innovation, advanced experience in cooperation and other aspects from Vice Premier Liu Yandong of the State Council. It has won the 9th China Charity Award “Nomination Prize” by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, and won the Top 100 Project Award of the 4th China Public Welfare Project Contest.
From 2016 to 2017, Hohhot Children’s Exploration Museum carried out a mobile exhibition tour in 13 kindergartens and public places such as Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Party Committee Kindergarten and Inner Mongolia Science and Technology Museum. Over 9,000 families participated in this tour, which received a total of 11,298 visits. There were 570 activities and 350 education events, covering a total of 7,332 person-times. After completion, this project will become the children’s museum with the largest volume, the most advanced exhibition items, and the most complete supporting facilities in the Asia-Pacific region.
In the future, the headquarters of the China Children’s Museum Industry Association will be located in Hohhot to host Asia-Pacific Children’s Museum Industry Symposium and the annual conference of International Council of Museums (ICOM), becoming the core of Asia-Pacific children’s museums.
In addition, our Foundation has jointly conducted an experimental study on the educational and social influence of children’s museums in China with Center on Chinese Education, Teachers College Columbia University and Children’s Museum Research Center, China Philanthropy Research Institute, Beijing Normal University. The goal of the project is to evaluate the educational and social benefits of children’s museums through experiments. In the first phase, the focus of the study is to examine the impact of experience in children’s museum on children’s creativity, self-confidence, problem-solving ability and other development indicators.
This study is the first empirical study of children’s museums in China, filling the domestic research gap.