The Creative Discovery Museum (CDM) is a leading non-profit children’s museum that offers hands-on educational programs and exhibits in the arts and sciences. Founded in 1995, CDM has been an integral part of the revival of downtown Chattanooga as a tourist attraction and is consistently ranked among the best children’s museums in the country. CDM is on a mission to inspire all children to explore, innovate, create, and play, making our community the best place for a child to grow up.
CDM falls at a unique intersection of identities as a prime tourist attraction, leader in experiential learning, and non-profit organization. As Chattanooga’s reputation in the tourism industry continues to grow, particularly for families, CDM is often a destination of note for travelers. But for locals, the Museum is a place that is consistently leading the conversation around informal education. We support educators in our region by providing tools and resources from field trips to outreach lessons and more. Beyond traditional educators, the Museum’s expertise in experiential learning provides support for parents and caregivers as they learn how to be their children’s first teachers. As a non-profit organization, CDM partners and collaborates with a variety of organizations to impact the region both within the Museum’s walls and beyond.
CDM is proud to be in the final stages of a comprehensive renovation of all Museum exhibits. Our permanent exhibits engage children and families in the arts and sciences with hands-on activities that spark innovation and creativity. In addition, our Temporary Exhibit Gallery hosts rotating traveling exhibits with different themes and components for guests to enjoy.
There is always something going on at CDM! We are gearing up for the Fall season right now, which includes our semi-annual fundraising event, Drink & Discover, many members-only events, like Monster Bash and Snow Night, and General Admission science and arts programming like Chemistry Day and Chocolate Festival. One event of particular note is our annual fundraising event, AmuseUm, which was named in the top five Best of the Best fundraisers in Chattanooga! On March 4, 2023, AmuseUm: Full STEAM Ahead brought nearly 500 adults to the Museum and raised over $130,000, making it the most successful fundraiser the Museum has hosted to date.
There are a variety of ways to support the work taking place at CDM. As a non-profit, CDM relies on generous donations from individuals and corporations every year. The money raised through our Annual Fund campaign helps fill in the gaps so the Museum can continue its mission in Chattanooga and beyond.
In addition, there are opportunities for teens to volunteer through our Museum Apprentice Program. Teens 13-17 are given a variety of experiences working in our exhibits and facilitating activities at events that help grow skills for future jobs and adult life. While they gain these skills, they are also supporting Museum staff to ensure an exceptional experience for our guests.
One of the simplest ways to support CDM is by telling friends and family to visit, purchasing memberships, and donating to the Museum. We value those who advocate for CDM by posting about us on social media and bringing friends to experience the Museum for themselves.
The Museum is in an exciting place as we close a chapter and begin a new one. In addition to the complete renovation of the Museum, our President and CEO, Henry Schulson, is retiring this Fall after leading the Museum for 26 years. His career has left an indelible mark on CDM and Chattanooga, and his legacy will live on in the work the Museum continues to do as new leadership is appointed in the coming months.
The Creative Discovery Museum is on a mission to inspire all children to explore, innovate, create, and play.