The mission of the Rocky Mount Children's Museum and Science Center is to raise awareness in those we serve of their global connection and "unique place in space" by encouraging their participation in science, mathematics, and technology. The Rocky Mount Children's Museum and Science Center is an excellent way for families to spend quality time with one another. Our programs and exhibits are especially engaging, hands-on, and fun for absolutely everyone.
Founded in 1952, the Rocky Mount Children’s Museum (RMCM) was one of our nation’s first children’s museums. Rocky Mount’s Jaycees and Junior Guild initiated the preliminary museum concept and plan. Each group raised and donated the initial funds to get the new museum on its way. Mae Woods Bell was hired as the museum’s founding Director and the museum was given space to operate in the basement of the old Braswell Library.
The museum quickly outgrew this space and was moved to the Sanitarium Nurses’ Dormitory. Unfortunately, there was no heat in the building and many days were spent teaching to huddled and bundled-up students.
Again, Rocky Mount’s Junior Guild assumed a leadership role and raised an additional five thousand dollars to build the fledgling Children’s Museum a new and permanent home. On Easter Sunday, 1954, the RMCM opened its doors to the public at its permanent home in beautiful Sunset Park.
Since that time the Rocky Mount Children’s Museum and Science Center (now a Division of the City of Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Department) has continued to grow and develop. In 1967, approximately 3,000 additional square feet were added to the museum. This addition was designed primarily as new exhibit space with a small area being allocated for administrative areas.
Then, in 1971, the Rocky Mount Civitans assumed the responsibility of helping outfit the museum’s 20 ft. planetarium - making it the first planetarium east of Raleigh.
In 1985, in honor of Mae Woods Bell’s years of service, another wing was added to the museum . Thanks in part to the City of Rocky Mount, the Grassroots Science Museums Collaborative, the State of North Carolina, Rocky Mount’s Junior Guild and Civitans, many other innovative exhibits and displays were also added.
In 1999, the RMCM was poised to break ground on the largest expansion in the museum’s history when Hurricane Floyd temporarily curtailed these plans. Even though losses were great, the commitment to rebuild as made by our City and its citizens was equally great.