About Us

Engage, Encourage, and Challenge!

The Niantic Children’s Museum is an interactive, hands-on, educational place for children to try on new roles, let their imaginations soar and feel safe while exploring the world around them.

With 5,000 square feet all on one floor and outdoor playspace, nearly all is wheelchair accessible. We engage, encourage, and challenge children from 9 months to 9 years in the arts, sciences, and world cultures.

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Our Mission

The mission of the Niantic Children’s Museum is to encourage learning and spark imagination by engaging children and all families through creative and hands-on play in a safe and accessible community environment.

Activities for All Ages

Explore the Discovery Room featuring Kelsey’s Vision and science-based activities. Visit the Imaginative Play side where you can pilot a fishing boat, take on the role of architect with our giant foam blocks, or visit the global village and celebrate a variety of cultures. Don’t miss Toddler Land which welcomes our youngest visitors.

Exhibits and Imagination

See our Exhibits page! Exhibits include Imagination Sparkers for adults looking for a bit more information to spark the children’s imagination. Many include classic children’s books to read to their child.

Our outdoor area delights youngsters with a real tree house, whale drum, climbing wall, kid-sized zipline, and performing stage!

For Older Children and Adults

Older children will enjoy the Museum Challenges like a scavenger hunt to explore within the museum. Adults and children can both explore a more in-depth study with kits available for the Creation Station!

Come ready to play and learn along the way!

Our History

A group of volunteers from the East Lyme area created the Niantic Children’s Museum (then called the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut) in 1992. The Museum was formed to provide interactive, creative learning experiences for young children and their families who either visit or live in one of the areas towns and communities.

For nearly 30 years, the Museum’s mission remains true, while exhibits and programming have gone through several recent renovations and re-designs to address the changing needs of today’s families and children.

From the Executive Director

A personal note from Russ

I want to extend my personal welcome to you from the Niantic Children’s Museum. Over the past two decades, thousands of children and their families have visited our Museum, enjoying experiences rooted in discovery, play, and creative exploration. The Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut was opened in 1992 by a group of East Lyme volunteers. They wanted to provide educational exhibits that encourage family interaction and learning through play for all children and all families.

Today, the Museums mission remains faithful to the intent of its founders: To encourage learning and spark imagination by engaging children and all families through creative and hands-on play in a safe and accessible learning environment. Experiences at the Museum are designed to grow with children as they pass through each developmental stage of childhood. We also strive to supply the highest quality offsite programming to local schools, libraries, daycare centers, and parks and recreation departments.

Our goal is to provide our visitors with a safe and welcoming environment while sparking the imagination, curiosity and creativity so important to the development of our young children. Children can follow their interests and discover new things, as they explore the museum or take part in one of our many onsite programs and activities.

Please explore our website to plan your visit, and learn about our exhibits and programs. We will look forward to seeing you here at the Museum!

Ola Nordmann
Customer Support

Russell Rothan

Executive Director

Russell Rothan

Executive Director

Ola Nordmann
Customer Support

Russell Rothan

Executive Director

Holly Cheeseman

Executive Director Emeritus

Volunteer Board of Trustees

The Niantic Children’s Museum is a private, nonprofit corporation with a 7-member Board of Trustees, 501(c)(3) classification.

John Burkhardt, President
Retired; Site Director, Global Head, Drug Safety Research and Development Groton Laboratories, Pfizer, Groton, CT

Pandy Wohler, Vice President
Retired; CPA; CohnReznick, Glastonbury, CT

Art Tanner, Vice President of Strategic Planning & Treasurer
Principal; Noank Consulting Group, Noank, CT

Catherine Marrion, Secretary
Attorney; Waller, Smith and Palmer, New London, CT

Ellen Cummings
Owner; Flavours of Life, New London, CT

Christopher Sandford
Head of School, The Woodstock Academy, Woodstock, CT

John Schweizer
Retired; Merrill Lynch, Niantic, CT

(updated Jan. 2024)

Interested in Joining our Team?

As a volunteer, you will receive the heartfelt appreciation of all at the museum and of many small people as well. Theress nothing more gratifying!

Learn More