The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is to inspire people to discover the wonder of science, math and technology.
Our Vision is to be the leader in imaginative and interactive learning experiences.
In 1978, with approval from the city of Ann Arbor a group of devoted volunteers began converting the old brick firehouse into an interactive, hands-on museum for children of all ages. The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum opened in 1982 with 25 exhibits on two floors, one staff person and ten volunteers.
During the Museum’s first year of operation, it welcomed 25,000 guests. The visitors’ interest and enthusiasm propelled the Museum to accelerate expansion plans. Four years later the museum opened the third and fourth floors of the firehouse with the help of a Kresge Foundation Challenge Grant. In 1993, the Museum purchased several adjoining buildings and began a $6.5 million Capital Campaign to fund building and program expansions. Five separate grants, received over several years, from the National Science Foundation totaling 1.7 million, funded the creation of new exhibits and the expanded facility. Through many generous gifts the Museum completed its renovations and introduced its latest facility in October 1999.
The Museum was founded by a group of dedicated volunteers and continues to thrive because of their endless energy and support. Over 100 volunteers donate their time directing visitors, answering questions, building and restoring exhibits, and conducting intriguing experiments on the Museum floor for our guests.