Boston Children's Museum at 100

A Boston landmark celebrates the power of play.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/1976 file

The Boston Children’s Museum started out as a collection of scientific specimens. One-hundred years later, it is an interactive space for play and learning, with a collection 50,000 pieces strong.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Maiya Stafford, 5, of Dorchester, had fun with a jungle gym at the museum.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Violet O’Connell, 3, of Jamaica Plain had a blast on a hand-powered cycle.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Emily Wentworth, and her children, Ben, 1, and Cate, 4, all of Haverhill, watched themselves on television as they play with the green screen feature in an exhibit.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Kids crawled on the large mesh three-story jungle gym in the lobby of the museum.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Surina Phelan, 3, of Cambridge, tried her might on the "Power Launch."

Yoon S. Byun/Globe staff

"The first thing kids at the museum do is they start climbing. It’s one of the things that makes this city what it is these days. We all have a right to be very proud of it," said former governor Michael Dukakis.

Playtime is elusive, but also essential

Boston Children’s Museum is celebrating its 100th anniversary this summer and fall with themed exhibits and special events honoring the Power of Play. By Kara Baskin

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2013/06/08/BostonGlobe.com/Lifestyle/Advance/Images/2a_moose_1940s--90x90.jpg The early years were all about birds

At the dawn of the museum, getting to examine a mineral or a stuffed bird up close was a new experience for many children.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2013/06/08/BostonGlobe.com/Special/Images/misskyotoDukakiscrop[1]--90x90.jpg Michael Dukakis, longtime member of the Children’s Museum

The former Massachusetts governor went to the museum as a child in Jamaica Plain, took his own children, and has returned many times with his grandchildren.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2013/05/31/BostonGlobe.com/Special/Images/168306458.jpg A special invitation from the White House

The museum was honored as one of the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners.

Charlotte Fitch of Lowell was fascinated by pinwheels at the museum a few years ago.

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/file/2010

Bored teens forced a strategy change

In the last half century, the museum’s core audience has grown steadily younger, reflecting a shift in the lives of American adolescents.