History & Building
Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago was founded in 1985 as an extension of the Kohl Teaching Center in Wilmette, one of four such centers in Illinois and Israel conceived by Dolores Kohl in 1972 and supported by the Dolores Kohl Education Foundation. Offering creative methods of enhancing traditional approaches to teaching, Kohl Teaching Centers provided training and educational resources to teachers and helped them incorporate hands-on experiences into their classrooms. Kohl Children’s Museum was founded to continue reaching educators and extend its service to meet the growing needs of families and the community at large through interactive exhibits and hands-on programs.
In 1998, Sheridan Turner became the Museum’s president and CEO and Dolores Kohl stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the Museum, expressing a strong desire for the Museum to be funded by the community that had come to rely on its services. With new leadership in place, the Museum’s Board of Trustees, led by Board Chairman Frederick H. Waddell of Northern Trust, conceived and realized plans for a new facility in Glenview, just five miles from the original Wilmette location, which opened to the public in 2005.
Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago is located on an 8.8-acre parcel of land in the center of The Glen in Glenview, at 2100 Patriot Boulevard, Glenview, Illinois 60026.
Total square footage of the Museum is a 46,700 square feet, with 23,000 square feet of public space. An additional 2-acre outdoor exhibit space, Habitat Park, allows for Museum attendance to be less weather-dependent.
Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago strives to be equally available to guests with any level of physical, visual, auditory, or cognitive challenge. Our facility and exhibits were designed using the principles of universal design.
The Museum has developed a Parents Guide to Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago, in collaboration with North Shore Pediatric Therapy, to help parents and their children choose the exhibits they want to visit. The guide is available for checkout at the Ticketing Desk or for download below.
Download Guide: English or Español (.pdf files, 2.2 MB)
A Green Building
It’s important for us to be good stewards of the environment in order to maintain a world that our children can enjoy for many years to come. Kohl Children’s Museum has created an environmentally friendly, energy-efficient facility that has earned Silver-level certification as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building from the U.S. Green Building Council.
In 2010, the Museum installed 217 solar panels on the roof of the west wing. These panels are expected to provide 7-8% of the Museum’s annual power needs. This project was underwritten by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation; ComEd, an Exelon Company; HSBC – North America; and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Activity.
Signage and activities provide children and families with hands-on learning opportunities about environmental concerns in both the indoor and outdoor exhibit spaces, accessible year-round.
Kohl Children’s Museum houses 17 hands-on, interactive exhibits that support the strategic direction of the Museum as outlined in its mission statement and key beliefs.
Click here for a list of exhibits!