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What We Do

Museum activities and exhibitions focus on three key pillars: supporting early learning, nurturing creative thinking and engaging families. We also believe creating opportunities for children of all ages and backgrounds to experience new ways of seeing their world is essential for making our diverse community the best it can be.

Supporting Early Learning


Your gift helps support a child's development by viewing and learning about artworks by professional artists, and experiencing and creating art of their own. Your generosity is essential and helps children develop gross and fine motor skills, build their vocabulary and ability to read, reach key developmental milestones, and begin to show self-expression. It also allows them to explore other cultures, viewpoints and concepts.


Myth: Art isn’t important for preschoolers.


Fact: Between 90-95 percent of brain development occurs by age 5. Art factors significantly in language development, motor skills and problem solving.


“Most (of my preschoolers) had never been to a museum. …The experience sparked their curiosity about the world around them.” – CeCe Peru, KinderU


Resources/ Articles

Edutopia: Why Arts Education is Crucial

Harvard University: The Science of Early Childhood Development

First Things First Arizona: Brain Science

Nurturing Creative Thinking


No matter what vocation they pursue, your financial gift will help our young guests to nurture their ability to think creatively. You will help foster their curiosity and natural inclination to experiment and explore to support and develop their problem-solving skills – and that’s not limited to our youngest guests.


Myth: Creativity comes naturally.


Fact: Student creativity is on the decline. Nurturing of this type is essential, as employers say creativity is the top skill they seek.


“This program inspires students to explore creative solutions to real-world problems. Every day, Boeing employees engage in creative problem-solving.” – Mary Baldwin, Boeing


Resources/ Articles

Huffington Post: Importance of S.T.E.A.M. Learning

Forbes: IBM Study of CEO's - Importance of Creative Workforce

Edutopia: S.T.E.A.M. learning key to strong economy

Engaging Families


Your support helps foster quality family time – an important component for the healthy development, both physically and mentally, of children. We know quality time together helps strengthens family bonds and builds lasting and shared memories. And parents want to make sure time together is well spent, especially because 60 percent of married couples with children under the age of 18 both work outside the home. We only have 936 weekends together from birth to age 18.


Myth: The museum is just for children.


Fact: It’s for all ages, and 78 percent of the museum’s adult visitors participate in activities with their children —the highest engagement in the nation.


“We learn about art and cultures and people. We create art and play games. … I can’t think of another activity in which I can simultaneously accomplish so much for my children.” – Jessica Miller, Mom of 5



Harvard University: Need for positive adult interaction in child development

Parenting Magazine: Benefits of creative family time

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Percentage of dual-income parents and other family characteristics

Pew Research Center: American Family today and rise of single parent families

Providing Opportunities


Through your support, you provide opportunities for children and families (even adults with unique needs) who are at-risk, low-income, medically fragile, differently abled, disadvantaged and/or marginalized, to gain free or reduced access to, and the experiences of, the i.d.e.a. Museum. At the same time, your support allows us to continue providing the same high-quality exhibitions and interactives for all of our visitors.


Myth: All children have the opportunity to visit a museum.


Fact: Half of the population never visits a museum.*




National Endowment for the Arts: Motivations and Barriers to Why People Attend the Arts

HighScope Educational Foundation: Effects of preschool on kids in poverty

National Assembly of State Art Agencies: How Arts Benefit Student Achievement

National Endowment for the Arts: Barriers to arts and socio-emotional development for low-income families


*Source: Reach Advisors | Museums R&D 2014-2015 Year In Review

Directionsidea-museum-directions-iconi.d.e.a. Museum150 W. Pepper PlaceMesa, AZ 85201idea-museum-address-iconAdmission: $9/personFree for members and those under age 1idea-museum-admission-icon480.644.idea (4332)
480.644.2468 (live)480.644.2466 (fax)E-mail  >
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Tuesday - Thursday & Saturday
9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday12 - 4 p.m. SundayClosed Monday and most holidays

Our Sponsors


Receives support from the state of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts.Support Access for All Programsthe-steele-foundation-logoThe Steele Foundation


Learn more about sponsorship >


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