Information on:

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

220 East Ann Street

Mission Statement:

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is to inspire people to discover the wonder of science, math and technology.

Vision Statement:

Our Vision is to be the leader in imaginative and interactive learning experiences.

Our History:

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.


Julie Rosenbaum

Saturday, June 23, 2018
As a parent of a three year old and one year old, I really appreciated the separate preschool room for ages 4 and under. The door to the room was monitored, and bigger kids were gently told that they were not able to go in the room, which made me feel better about my little ones' safety. This is such a great museum, with a water room, a full size ambulance, rock climbing wall, and so much to explore. The hardest part is finding a good parking spot! Bring snacks as they only have vending machines, or check out one of the fantastic restaurants nearby.

Maria Cristina Kent

Friday, June 29, 2018
I took my three foster grand children here. We (me included) had an awesome time, we loved every inch of it. The youngest was 2yrs old. She was able to participate in all the activities. They will get wet in of the some areas so bring a change of clothes or a shirt at least. Parking is where ever you find a meter. My only complaint was parking, a 4 block walk in the bitter cold. Price was reasonable, we stayed four hours.

Jessica Denny

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
This place is one of the many gems of Ann Arbor with one acception: it's a place JUST for our young adventurers! It has many rooms that meet the likes and tastes of ALL children! Personally, my daughter is a 4 year old who loves everything water and she LOVED the water tables in the downstairs atrium, and in the upstairs playroom. There's lots of building supplies for little hands, in every section. In every room they have plenty of items to stir up your children's imagination! My daughter also very much enjoys music and they have music on the stairs, and a whole music area upstairs. All of these activities have an excellently disguised theme of SCIENCE! They make science super fun for our young children.

Amelia Bateman

Tuesday, July 3, 2018
I love this place! They have a preschool room that makes it easy to bring multiple little ones with less concern of loosing one in the crowd. The water room is always a big hit. Also, don't forget to visit the top floor for a dance party.

Sean Walls

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
The Ann Arbor Hands-On museum is always a hit with our 2 boys. There is plenty of variety, and both the water play area and the "ball machine" are always winners. My only critique is that there isn't a regular cycling in/out of exhibits so replay value is low over frequent visits. Outside of that, staff is friendly, facilities are clean, and exhibits are well maintained. Great way to spend the day having fun and learning some science!

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media