Boston Children's Museum When I was a kid (hey! Stop snickering. It may be hard to believe, but I was a kid.), my parents dutifully took me to museums. Most of them were hushed, stuffy places with static displays, "Do not touch" signs, and other restrictions that made them decidedly unfriendly to children -- especially a fidgety, curious little kid like me. (How fidgety and curious? Well, there was the time I couldn't resist squeezing the handle of one of the fire extinguishers on display at the gone-but-not-forgotten department store, Jordan Marsh. I think she might laugh about it now, but my kabuki-faced mother was definitely not laughing at the time.)

One place that I always looked forward to visiting was the Boston Children's Museum. Many museums have since evolved and are more accommodating to youngsters, but the Children's Museum has been a veritable haven for generations of squirmy, probing kids. From the get-go, its motto seems to have been "Please touch" -- and its get-go got going 100 years ago. The second oldest of its type, the museum is celebrating its special birthday with a series of special events and month-long "Centennial Connections." During April, for example, the theme is imagination, and exhibits include exploring magnets, using household objects to make music, and testing the sense of smell.

In May, kids will be able to build cultural understanding through the arts and artifacts when the theme will be friendship and community. Other monthly themes will include stories, exploration, and curiosity. On August 2, the museum will celebrate its birthday party with free admission and many special activities. The partying continues with a gala weekend planned for October 4 to 6. If you visit the museum, feel free to let your kids fidget about and interact with the exhibits. You may want to keep an eye on them if they wander over to a fire extinguisher, however. Boston Children's Museum Centennial Events Through October 5, 2013

Photos: Boston Children's Museum.