The Magic House will engage all children in hands-on learning experiences that encourage experimentation, creativity and the development of problem solving skills within a place of beauty, wonder, joy and magic.
The Magic House will be a leader in providing and advocating hands-on learning for children of all ages and abilities. As the premier children’s museum, it will be a unique, welcoming venue where childhood is protected, nurtured and celebrated.
The Magic House, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization, was founded by two St. Louis women, Jody Newman and Barbie Freund, who volunteered three years of their time to create a cultural institution that would be both educational and fun.
To house the region’s first interactive children’s museum, they chose a vacant Victorian mansion in suburban Kirkwood, located in the demographic center of the St. Louis metropolitan area. The house was originally built in 1901 as a private home for the George Lane Edwards family. Mr. Edwards was a managing partner in his family’s brokerage firm, A.G. Edwards & Sons, as well as the first president of the St. Louis Stock Exchange and a director of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Thanks to the efforts of the founders and the contributions of many St. Louis-area individuals, corporations and foundations, The Magic House opened to the public on October 16, 1979.
Throughout our history, The Magic House has sparked the imaginations of more than 10 million visitors. We welcome over 500,000 children, parents, grandparents and caregivers to the museum each year. More than 47,000 students visit The Magic House annually on school field trips. For those unable to come to the museum, The Magic House comes to them, reaching more than 30,000 children every year through outreach programs delivered to schools, libraries, community centers, child-care facilities and hospitals.
The Magic House is not just for kids! The museum also offers programming for grown-ups including staff development workshops for educators, parent-child classes and special events for grandparents.
The Magic House is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. About half of the museum’s revenue comes from admission fees. Other sources of earned income are the Picnic Basket Café, Museum Shop, memberships and program fees. The Magic House does not receive funds from the United Way, the Arts & Education Council or tax revenue.
The Magic House’s innovative and interactive exhibits and programs have been recognized by Nickelodeon, Orbitz, FamilyFun magazine and Zagat, which named The Magic House the nation’s top family attraction in “child appeal.”
Our Commitment to All Kids
The Magic House is committed to sharing our resources with all children, especially those who have the fewest opportunities. The Star Society annual fund and the Education Program Fund both provide free field trips, outreach programs and other hands-on learning experiences for children, families and schools in need. As part of the museum’s commitment to provide beauty, wonder, joy and magic for everyone, The Magic House also provides events and programs for special populations including new Americans, military families, seriously ill youth and foster children.