Mission & History

The Children’s Museum’s mission is to inspire children’s creativity and stimulate their curiosity to discover the world through playful exploration of the arts and sciences.


In 2005, a group of Sonoma County mothers began planning a children’s museum to address the lack of a local gathering place where parents, grandparents, and teachers could support a child’s natural craving for curiosity and exploration. Inspired by their visits to children’s museums across the country, these mothers knew firsthand the need for providing children enriched, learning experiences. 

Within Sonoma County, Santa Rosa is the largest city in California’s North Coast and the 5th most populated city in the San Francisco Bay Area. The closest children’s museum was 55 miles south of Santa Rosa, an impossible and costly trip for families without transportation. The 2nd closest museum was more than 200 miles north. 

Faced with the distance to “out-of-school” learning experiences, coupled with increasing budget cuts to science and art programs within schools, this team of educated volunteers established Children’s Museum of Sonoma County (CMOSC) as a Federal 501(c)(3) corporation in December 2005. CMOSC’s mission is to “inspire children’s creativity and stimulate their curiosity to discover the world through playful exploration of the arts and sciences.”  

With absolutely no funding from outside groups or donors, this action-oriented group of moms and teachers immediately launched the Museum-on-the-Go (MOG) mobile science and art outreach program. Basic and engaging concepts in these two focused areas would become the hallmark of MOG exhibits.

Excited about the possibility of bringing a children's museum to Sonoma County, 100 families came together affirm their commitment to the vision. These visionaries became CMOSC's Founding Families.

As the result of CMOSC’s influence in Sonoma County, community members and the Children’s Museum team launched an $8.3MM capital campaign to build the permanent museum, which is currently 98% complete to goal. The Museum campus is located on 4.2 acres and includes over 7,000 square feet of existing interior space that is currently being remodeled, coupled with 36,000 square feet of outdoor exhibits. All exhibits are devoted to science, art or nature, with a specific emphasis in the outdoor exhibit garden on environmental sustainability, water conservation and renewable energies.

The permanent Museum has become a destination for Sonoma County families and beyond. On pace to serve over 70,000 visitors this year, CMOSC inspires children’s creativity and stimulates their development by encouraging exploration in an open and accessible interactive museum. Rooted in current early childhood research, CMOSC is modeled on proven children’s museums such as the Bay Area Discovery Museum and the Discovery Museum of San Jose.