In 1889, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Samuel Pierpoint Langley embarked on a struggle to create an exhibit for children in the Smithsonian Castle. When it opened in 1901, the exhibit received national acclaim. This article chronicles the creation of the Children's Room and its reception. The exhibit was in many ways a product of Progressive-Era ideas surrounding children and childhood. Langley's approach also empowered children and contributed to the democratization of museums when he placed the audience's interests at the center of exhibit design.