Our Vision

History & Mission


The mission of the Jersey Explorer Children’s Museum / Educational Project is to provide educational enrichment to the thousands of children who visit the museum and to provide academic and vocational opportunities. The Museum’s special areas of focus—selected for their ability to benefit children throughout their lives—include early childhood education, creativity, health, and world cultures.

We believe that children are interested in things worth knowing about. We are dedicated to making visible the ways children think, imagine, design, invent, and create when given intelligent materials including the tools of the arts and sciences.

We envision a world where everyone retains and values the innate curiosity, creativity, and empathy of childhood. Jersey Explorer Children's Museum is inspired by a hands-on approach to early childhood education. More educational philosophy than rigid framework, this approach emerges from a series of core principles based on a fundamental respect for children as knowledge-bearers and gifted researchers who learn through their exploration of the world and through the countless ways that they share their discoveries with adults and with each other.

Our staff is composed of teachers, volunteers and students who are also the museum’s carpenters, artists, storytellers and guides. They are the crew of the spaceship and the actors in the Time Traveler. Three days a week we provide educational programs for our visitors.

Since 1992 the Jersey Explorer children’s Museum has been a pioneer in the areas of both exhibit design and youth development.

Our 9,500 square ft. museum, located in East Orange, New Jersey, was among the first children’s museums in the country to include immersion exhibits in our design and the first to involve young people in all aspects of the creation of a museum.

Through this unique partnership over two hundred and fifty thousand children and adults have been reached by our museum programs.  Dozens of elementary schools and over 45 highs schools in the New York metropolitan area have brought us in to do programming in to their schools.  In that same period over a thousand  young men and women, who worked at the Explorer have obtained their high school equivalency diplomas while in our Youth Corps program.


Gary Patnosh
Executive Director, Mentor