The i.d.e.a. Museum is the place to explore your imagination through design in art, science and technology! We support “your child and the child within you” by providing interactive opportunities that engage your senses and encourage creativity. There are three main exhibit areas and an outdoor atrium to explore during your visit. You may enjoy your own lunch in the Atrium or Snackery. Visitor service staff can provide you with a list of local eateries if you wish to eat out.
The museum began in 1978 as the Arizona Museum for Youth until its name changed to i.d.e.a. Museum on February 6, 2014. As the original children’s museum focused on art in the country, it is a public/private partnership between the City of Mesa and the i.d.e.a. Museum Board of Directors. Our mission is to encourage visitors to experience their world differently through art, creativity and imagination.
i.d.e.a. Museum is built upon the solid and successful 35 year history of the Arizona Museum for Youth, the original, fun, inspiring, and educational hands-on art museum for children and families in the United States. We impact 68,000 visitors annually and have 1,700 member families. Our plan is to reach over 100,000 annually over the next three years under the new brand.
The i.d.e.a. Museum will continue to include the popular art and art-inspired activities, while adding science, engineering and design-thinking in the multi-sensory experiences provided with an increased use of technology to support these offerings and even more opportunities for families to create together. Our purpose is to develop one’s creativity in its many forms, not just art. With your help we will develop one’s ability to think critically -“outside the box”- and problem-solve. We are a place “for your child and the child within you.”
Our mission is to inspire children of all ages to experience their world differently through art, creativity and imagination.
Arizona Museum For Youth (AMY)
The Arizona Museum for Youth (AMY) is a museum designed for exhibiting, teaching and interacting with the fine arts. AMY is primarily designed for younger age groups but has exhibits, classes and activities designed for all age groups. The museum hosts several changing exhibition each year and features ArtVille, an art-town for kids ages 0 – 4. As part of the exhibits, art classes, workshops and family programs are available to teach art principles and techniques. AMY is run and operated by the City of Mesa, Arizona and is located at 35 North Robson in downtown Mesa.
In 1978, the Arizona Museum for Youth received its 501(c)3 status and was incorporated after several years in the preliminary development phase bringing the dream of Valley philanthropists Jack and John Whiteman to life. The museum was founded in 1980 as the only children's museum in the United States with a focus on fine art. Since then, it has been a major destination for families in Metro-Phoenix area, providing the community with interactive fine art exhibits inspired to introduce children to the world of art and discover self-expression. Featuring artwork by local, national and international professionals, the exhibits of the museum bring the very best of the world of art to those under 1 to over 101 years of age.
AMY links each exhibitor with interactive art-making activities. Guided by current research, AMY's education staff has developed the premier experience for the museum patrons. Caregivers and children learn together about the techniques, processes and materials used to create art while exploring themselves and our world through play and self-expression. With each exhibit, areas are dedicated to expression through music, reading, theater, art making, and of course, art appreciation.
Housed in a refurbished 1950s grocery store, the museum contains over 20,000 feet of public exhibition space featuring two art galleries, ArtVille, ArtZone, a family zone and 3 classrooms. Both areas showcase new exhibitions several times a year featuring artworks that reflect a chosen topic or theme. ArtVille is a permanent exhibition and activity area, especially tailored for children 0 – 4 years of age as a small town environment. ArtZone is a semi-permanent art activity space for visitors ages 5 and older, and include drawing, building and reading areas.
Fine arts workshops are presented year-round for children between the ages of 6 months and 12 years. Family programs, summer camps and special Saturday drop-in workshops are also offered that focuses on art and the museum's exhibitions. The three spaces are also used during school tours for related art activities led by trained Gallery Educators.
The Family Zone features a lounging area with vending machines, picnic tables and activities. Visitors are free to bring in their own food as well.
In 2014 after extensive research, The Arizona Museum for Youth (AMY) became i.d.e.a. Museum (imagination, design, experience, art).