Opened in 1990, The Kids Bridge was developed to create an environment in which families and children could talk about the difficult subject of race in Boston. The exhibit was the first time a major institution in Boston, and across the country, created a playful, positive environment for kids and families to consider difficult topics like prejudice and racial and ethnic differences. To enter the main exhibit space visitors would cross a 46-foot mock bridge meant to symbolize a link between distinct worlds, where they could then experience, through videos, neighborhoods of their city they never visited, play puzzle games, listen to music, press buttons on a console that described the kind of person they are, and peek into the windows of miniaturized homes and view diverse families celebrating cultural and religious traditions.
The exhibition subsequently traveled to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. and then to many children’s museums throughout the United States. Since parts of the original exhibit focused on Boston’s neighborhoods and ethnic groups, its Boston Children’s Museum creators insisted that the exhibit be changed as it traveled to reflect local people and places.