Orpheum Children's Science Museum

346 North Neil Street
Champaign, IL 61820


Our Mission in Action :

To promote the continued exploration and understanding of the importance of science through engaging exhibits and innovative programming, creating an atmosphere where imagination, learning and fun combine to encourage a life-long interest in science. We are a founding member of the Museums at the Crossroads, which raises awareness of the museums of Champaign County.


The New Orpheum Theatre opened on October 19, 1914 as both a vaudeville theater and a "moving picture" house. All the great stars of the Orpheum Theatre Circuit played Champaign, and it was considered to be the finest theater in downstate Illinois. The Orpheum is a one-third scale model of the opera hall at Versailles and one of the earliest designs of the prestigious architectural firm of Rapp and Rapp of Chicago.

The theater closed in 1986. It sat unused and largely forgotten until 1989 when the Preservation and Conservation Association began its campaign to preserve the theater. In 1994 it was purchased by The Discovery Place, Inc. The nonprofit Board renovated 6750 sq. ft. for a hands-on science demonstration museum and opened the doors on December 27, 1994. In 1996 the name was changed to the Orpheum Children's Science Museum.

Phase II, underwritten by grants from the U.S. Geological Survey and Illinois First, was completed in 2000. The vestibule, lobby, and mezzanine were renovated.

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