ACM Introduces “Empowering Young Minds” Podcast

Empowering Young Minds hosted by Arthur G. Affleck, III.

ACM Executive Director

Join us as we explore innovative practices and groundbreaking research shaping the future of children, unlocking potential for lifelong learning, discovery, and social-emotional development. Whether you’re a parent, educator, museum professional, or simply someone who believes in the transformative power of childhood, Empowering Young Minds has something for you. Tune in monthly for inspiring stories, practical tips, and a healthy dose of laughter as we rediscover the joy of learning through play.

Episode 1-3 are now available online featuring interviews with Jean Margaret Smith, Dr. Leah Austin, Dr. Frederic Bertley, and Joe Cox.

Here’s what you can look forward to on future episodes:

INSPIRING CONVERSATIONS: We’ll chat with educators, museum curators, researchers, and passionate advocates who champion the rights of all children to a healthy, safe, and equitable future.

DEEP DIVES INTO PLAYFUL LEARNING: Discover how museums ignite curiosity, spark critical thinking, and nurture creativity through interactive exhibits and engaging programs.

ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS: Learn practical tips and strategies to bring playful learning experiences into your own homes, communities, and classrooms.

CELEBRATING DIVERSE VOICES: We’ll amplify the voices of children and families from all backgrounds, ensuring every child’s unique perspectives and experiences are heard.

THE FUTURE OF EARLY LEARNING: Exploring innovative trends and technologies shaping the way we engage young minds.

Children and Museums: You Can’t Start Early Enough: An Article featured in The New York Times, in Collaboration with ACM

The Association of Children’s Museums recently worked with The New York Times on an article highlighting the emphasis and importance of children’s programs in museums in the United States! The article dives into the trends within non-children’s museums and discusses the work of various children’s museums across the country, highlighting quotes from Arthur Affleck and ACM member museums. You can read the full article in The New York Times here: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/27/arts/design/museums-childrens-programs.html

ACM Executive Director Honored with AAM Advocacy Leadership Award

Arthur G. Affleck, III recognized for advocacy and leadership representing children’s museums and the museum field

ACM’s Executive Director Arthur G. Affleck, III with AAM’s Interim CEO/Chief of Staff Brooke Leonard and fellow honoree Brenda Granger, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Museums Association (OMA), at Museums Advocacy Day 2024. Photo by © AAM/Todd Buchanan 2024

ACM is pleased to share that the association’s executive director, Arthur G. Affleck, III, has been honored by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) with a 2024 Advocacy Leadership Award.

The award, which was presented during AAM’s Museums Advocacy Day on February 26, 2024, is presented annually to advocates who demonstrate exemplary leadership in their advocacy for the museum field.

“As Executive Director of ACM, Arthur brings a passion for education and equity as well as a proven record of accomplishment in the nonprofit sector,” says Brooke Leonard, Interim CEO/chief of staff at AAM, of the recognition. “Arthur’s commitment to elevating children’s museums and enriching the lives of children and families has led ACM to new levels of activity, visibility, and impact.”

Arthur joined ACM as Executive Director in January 2022, to lead the association which serves more than 470 members in 50 states and 11 countries. Under his vision and leadership, ACM has expanded programs, established new partnerships, and prioritized advocacy at all levels of government and across the museum field as critical for not only children’s museums, but for museums of all types. This work is guided by ACM’s new strategic plan, introduced in January 2023. The plan includes four aligned priorities which include elevating the children’s museum community, lifting up children and families, advancing the field through advocacy, policy, and research, and strengthening the organization. ACM’s participation in AAM’s annual Museums Advocacy Day, as well as the concentrated strategic initiatives, research, and professional development, reflect the importance of amplifying the field and championing issues that effect it.

Upon receiving the award, Arthur shared the recognition with the ACM Board of Directors, professional staff, and members of the field, and emphasized, “this award belongs not just to me, but to my colleagues at ACM and the countless individuals and organizations dedicated to advocating for museums and their essential role in our society so that we may all better support children and families.”

“This award belongs not just to me, but to my colleagues at ACM and the countless individuals and organizations dedicated to advocating for museums and their essential role in our society so that we may all better support children and families.”

Arthur Affleck, upon receiving the award, shared the recognition with the ACM Board of Directors, professional staff, and members of the field.

Meet the InterActivity 2024: Flourish! Opening Plenary Speakers!

ACM, together with our partnering host museum, Madison Children’s Museum, will convene children’s museums professionals across the world at InterActivity 2024: Flourish!, May 15-17.

A highlight of every InterActivity, the opening plenary session highlights a keynote presentation that leverages expert knowledge in a related field to address the issues and opportunities confronting children’s museums. This year, the opening plenary will feature three small talks speakers framing lively short presentations around the conference theme, highlighting the ways museums, communities, and the children we serve can flourish in an ever-changing world.


Lynda Barry
Cartoonist and Professor of Interdisciplinary Creativity   

Drawbridge: Making Comics with Kids

How old do you have to be to make a bad drawing? Most people give up on being able to draw at about the age of eight or nine when they realize they can’t draw a nose or hands in a representational way. There is another kind of drawing that can leap right over this problem of good and bad, which can allow us to experience a way of making pictures that set the conditions for discovery and insight and can be used by anyone of any age. What might it be? Can drawing with kids bring mutual benefit?

Lynda Barry has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator and teacher and found they are very much alike. The New York Times has described Barry as “among this country’s greatest conjoiners of words and images, known for plumbing all kinds of touchy subjects in cartoons, comic strips and novels, both graphic and illustrated.” She earned a degree from Evergreen State College during its early experimental period (1974-78), studying with painter and writing teacher
Marilyn Frasca. Frasca’s questions about the nature of images and the role they play in day-to-day living have guided Barry’s work ever since. In 1979 while pursuing a career as a painter, Barry began drawing a weekly comic strip incorporating stories considered to be incompatible with comics at the time. Stories, as Barry puts it, “that had a lot of trouble in them.” Widely credited with expanding the literary, thematic and emotional range of American comics, Barry’s seminal comic strip, Ernie Pook’s Comeek, ran in alternative newspapers across North America for thirty years


Richard J. Davidson, PhD
William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Founder and Chief Visionary for Healthy Minds Innovations, Inc.  

The Science of Wellbeing: Teaching and Training for Healthy Minds, Brains, and Bodies

Just like being physically in shape means regular exercise, supporting one’s emotional well-being begins with a training program – for the mind. In this talk, world renowned neuroscientist, Dr. Richard J. Davidson discusses the scientific concept of neuroplasticity and how research in the lab confirms that well-being is a skill that can be taught. By learning and practicing the skills associated with awareness, connection, insight, and purpose – anyone can have a healthier mind, despite their external circumstances. Based on four decades of contemplative neuroscientific research, Dr. Davidson outlines a path to well-being for anyone in this highly relevant talk.

Davidson received his PhD from Harvard University in Psychology in 1976. Davidson’s research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style and methods to promote human flourishing including meditation and related contemplative practices. He has published over 573 articles, numerous chapters and reviews and edited 14 books. He is the author (with Sharon Begley) of “The Emotional Life of Your Brain” published in 2012 and co-author with Daniel Goleman of “Altered Traits” published in 2017. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2006. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017 and appointed to the Governing Board of UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) in 2018. In 2014, Davidson founded the non-profit, Healthy Minds Innovations, which translates science into tools to cultivate and measure well-being.


Charles Hua
Founder and Executive Director of PowerLines, Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy Loan Programs Office, and Research Affiliate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 

negative space
Discussing his climate journey—from first learning about climate change and the importance of taking initiative from his second teacher to launching a campaign for Madison Metropolitan School District to become the nation’s then-largest school district with a 100% renewable energy goal to now serving in the Biden-Harris Administration and advising on clean energy policy—Charles Hua will illustrate how the thoughtful mentorship and support he received along the way has shaped him into the person and leader he now aspires to be. 

Charles Hua is the Founder and Executive Director of PowerLines, Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy Loan Programs Office, and Research Affiliate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Previously, Charles advanced building electrification policy with Rewiring America. In college, Charles was appointed to serve on the Harvard Presidential Committee on Sustainability, where he helped develop and write Harvard’s sustainability plan and organized the inaugural Harvard Climate Summit. Charles has advised Fortune 500 companies and international NGOs on sustainability issues and serves on the Board of Directors for environmental nonprofits Slipstream, Energy News Network, and Clean Wisconsin. Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, Charles organized a campaign that successfully petitioned his school district to become the largest in the U.S. at the time with a 100% renewable energy commitment. For his work, Charles has been recognized by the White House as a 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholar, by the Aspen Institute as a Future Climate Leader, and as an Energy News Network 40 Under 40 honoree. Charles holds an A.B. in Statistics and Mathematics from Harvard College.


Barry, Davidson, and Hua will present on Thursday, May 16 at the Opening Plenary session at InterActivity 2024. For more details about the entire conference, view the preliminary program. Registration is now open.

Nickelodeon Shares Community Resources: Talking to Kids about Difficult Current Events

It can be tough to discuss difficult topics with kids, but having candid conversations can help your child understand and cope with disturbing current events. ACM partnering organization Nickelodeon put together Nickelodeon’s Guide to Talking to Kids About Difficult Current Events. This guide was created to help parents, educators, and caregivers prepare for conversations with children about current events.

In addition, Nickelodeon recently shared the interview on CBS Mornings with Jamie Howard, PhD, Sr. Clinical Psychologist at Child Mind Institute, who shares age-appropriate tips for parents for navigating questions that kids may have about what is happening in Israel and in Gaza.


Traumatic and tragic events in the news can deeply affect the children and families the children’s museum field serves. As community resources and advocates for children, children’s museums can help build socioemotional supports for children and those who love and care for them.

Click here to access all the Trauma Resources curated by ACM >

Nickelodeon and ACM Partner for Return of Annual Worldwide Day of Play on Saturday, September 30

Nickelodeon today announced the return of its global Worldwide Day of Play (WWDoP) campaign, in partnership with the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM).  Worldwide Day of Play will take place Sept. 30, 2023. Part of Nickelodeon’s Our World, a brand-new global initiative, with the goal of inspiring kids and helping to provide them with tools to strengthen their individual and collective agency. To date, events are planned by children’s museums and other organizations across the U.S., the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and more.

Through Worldwide Day of Play, Nickelodeon has fueled a generation who values playing and being active,” said Jean Margaret Smith, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Nickelodeon. “The Association of Children’s Museums is the perfect partner to help us mark the return of this beloved annual event as an anchor program for the Our World initiative, allowing us to showcase the importance of play and the role it can play in building confidence and helping to upskill kids around the globe.”

“Play is a powerful experience that enriches people’s lives in museums, schools, homes, and beyond,” states Arthur G. Affleck, III, executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums. “ACM is pleased to partner with Nickelodeon to amplify the importance of play on wellbeing and healthy brain development, and to make learning more effective and joyful for children and adults. As children’s museums, we believe in the power of play and we strive to nurture more play and playful learning to enrich the lives of children everywhere.”

The Association of Children’s Museums, an Our World coalition member, is partnering with Nickelodeon to bring Worldwide Day of Play activations to affiliates around the globe on September 30th, reaching more than 1.8 million kids and caregivers. Museums participating in Worldwide Day of Play have the opportunity to feature custom Nickelodeon activities that help highlight the importance and transformative power of active play.  Participating ACM locations will also feature a varied array of activities, including Mess Fest! at Sacramento Children’s Museum, Play Fair! at Children’s Museum Curacao, Toys and Games from Franklin’s Early Days at the Franklin Area Historical Society (OH), and Slime Time at the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum (FL). Families can check www.childrensmuseums.org/dayofplay/ for information on activities going on in their city, town or area.

In addition to partnering with ACM to host grassroots events globally, Nickelodeon will begin rolling out messaging encouraging kids and families to get up and get active this Worldwide Day of Play (Sept. 30) across its linear, social and digital platforms Thursday, Sept. 29. Kids and families can also visit www.childrensmuseums.org/dayofplay to get tips on ways to celebrate play and access toolkits to help plan their own WWDoP activities.  Additionally, Nickelodeon has teamed up with Our World partner Aspen Institute to create the “Worldwide Day of Play Playbook” that amplifies youth voices and demonstrates how play can be a powerful tool in skill building. 

Worldwide Day of Play is part of Nickelodeon’s global Our World initiative and is centered in the brand’s longstanding commitment to promoting active play and healthy lifestyles. Since its 2004 inception, thousands of WWDoP events have been held across the U.S., and in Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Mexico, Brazil, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Germany, Italy, Russia and more. Additionally, more than $3 million in grants and scholarships have been awarded to national and local organizations to promote active play.

About Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)

ACM is the foremost professional society supporting children’s museums in developing rich environments that stimulate children’s natural playfulness, curiosity, and creativity. With more than 470 members in all 50 states and in 16 countries, ACM champions children’s museums and together enrich the lives of children worldwide. As a global leader, advocate, and resource for the field, ACM and our member organizations strive to build a better world for children and serve over 30 million visitors annually. Started in 1962, ACM recently marked its 60th year of impactful service to children, families, and children’s museums.”

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 44th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location-based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon is a part of Paramount’s (Nasdaq: PARA, PARAA) global portfolio of multimedia entertainment brands.

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ACM and ASTC Jointly Publish 2023 Workforce Survey Report

Purchase Report

For more information, the 2023 ACM-ASTC Workforce Survey Report can be retrieved via ACM or ASTC. A digital download of the report is available for purchase ($199 ACM or ASTC member/$499 non-member).

ACM members and nonmembers may download the association’s publications order form and send it to membership@acm.org.

ASTC members may purchase their report via myASTC.astc.org

The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) and the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) are pleased to announce the release of the 2023 ACM-ASTC Workforce Survey Report. This report presents findings from 138 participating institutions, 36% of which are active ACM member museums, and 81% of which are active ASTC member museums. ACM and ASTC worked together on previous efforts to capture this data and share with the community, most recently in 2016. 

The purpose of this joint data collection effort is to provide museum professionals and leadership with an understanding of important staffing trends in the museum world, as well as analysis that can help institutions understand how their own policies relate to institutions of similar size or type.

Key Findings

•   Full-time staff numbers are rebounding to their pre-pandemic levels, but part-time positions remain down by almost 15%, and volunteer numbers are lower as well.

•   65% of institutions report that they are currently hiring floor/frontline staff, far above the percentage that reported currently hiring for any other positions.

•   Full-time staff salaries are up by 15% since 2019 and approximately 6% in the past year.

•   Part-time hourly wages increased 23% since 2019 and approximately 7% in the past year.

•   Benefits that institutions offer staff have not changed dramatically since the 2016 workforce survey. Currently, more than 80% of institutions report contributing to employee health insurance.

•   Questions on remote work arrangements show that the majority of museum work is still being done primarily in-person. At the same time, many respondents said the demand for remote work flexibility is a major challenge in recruiting new staff.

•   11% of institutions reported have some unionized staff, but unionization is typically limited to only certain roles or departments.

•   Demographic information on staff is quite limited, raising questions for how institutions can measure their progress toward diversifying the field.

The 2023 ACM-ASTC Workforce Survey Report paints a picture of a field that is moving forward from the pandemic, but not without challenges. Compensation is rising and staff numbers are rebounding, but these trends are not consistent across all types of staff. Museums are looking for ways to attract and retain staff in a time when many workers are navigating career transitions, but they are also encountering obstacles as workers sometimes find more competitive pay, benefits, or work policies in other fields.

The full 2023 ACM-ASTC Workforce Survey Report provides a closer look at these numbers and issues, with breakouts by institution type, size, and location to help organizations understand where their own policies and practices lie in comparison to the larger field. A robust executive summary is available open access for free.

Let us walk you through it

Monday, July 17, 2023, 3:00 PM ET 

Please join ACM and ASTC for a free webinar—open to all—to learn more about the survey instrument and our findings. Attendees will hear from ACM’s Jennifer Rehkamp, Director of Field Services and Research, and ASTC’s Melissa Ballard, Director of Programs. 

Register via Zoom

ACM Information Brief on Mental Health

Download Report

Mental health is important.

Children’s museums have long been invested in creating environments where children thrive. Mental health is a pressing current issue for the children in our communities, and children’s museums have expansive opportunity to meet those needs with comprehensive, collaborative experiences that supplement the essential work of mental health professionals—providing all children with the skills to navigate their world with joy, wonder, and wellness.

ACM’s latest information brief The role of children’s museums in supporting children’s mental health, provides an overview of some primary research trends about children’s mental health and then shares insights about how children’s museums—community-serving organizations that reach millions of U.S. children each year—can bolster children’s mental health.


Paper commissioned by ACM | Written by KT Todd, Director of Learning and Research, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Association of Children’s Museum welcomes five new board members and announces new roles for its governing board

Arlington, VA—The Association of Children’s Museum (ACM), the world’s foremost professional society supporting and advocating on behalf of children’s museums, and those who work at and otherwise sustain them, is pleased to name its 2023 Board of Directors. Voted as a slate by the association’s membership, ACM first announced the Board at its annual conference, InterActivity 2023: Leveraging Our Voice, hosted April 26–28 in New Orleans.

Newly joining the ACM Board as At-Large Members for three-year terms are:

Rongedzayi Fambasayi, Managing Director, Play Africa Johannesburg

Gretchen Kerr, Chief Operating Officer, Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

Brindha Muniappan, PhD, Senior Director of the Museum Experience, Discovery Museum (Acton, MA)

Hilary Van Alsburg, Executive Director, Children’s Museum of Tucson

Stephen White, Esq., Chief Strategy Officer, Vice President of Partnerships and Business Development, Center of Science and Industry (COSI) (Columbus, OH)

Joe Cox, President & CEO at Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was named President Elect for the 2023–2024 term, and will serve as Board President for the 2024–2026 term.

New officers and committee chairs will join ACM President Joe Hastings of Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Past President Tanya Durand of Greentrike in Tacoma, Washington. They include:

• Vice President Crystal Bowyer, President & CEO, National Children’s Museum

• Secretary Putter Bert, President & CEO, KidsQuest Children’s Museum (Bellevue, WA)

• Treasurer and Finance Chair Felipe Peña III, Executive Director, Children’s Museum of Brownsville

• Governance & Nominating Chair Tifferney White, Chief Executive Officer, Louisiana Children’s Museum

• Strategic Initiatives Chair Dené Mosier, President & CEO, Kansas Children’s Discovery Cent

“The ACM Board of Directors represents the ACM membership as leaders in the children’s museum field,” said ACM Executive Director Arthur G. Affleck, III. “The governing body will oversee the association as we implement our newly shared five-year strategic plan. We are appreciative to this important group of volunteers whose willingness to share their expertise and enthusiasm with ACM will help us better serve children, their families, and the community.”

The plan has four inter-related priorities: elevating the children’s museum community; lifting up children and families; advancing the field through advocacy, policy, and research; and strengthening the organization. All the work in every priority will be evaluated through the two overarching lenses of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI), and environmental resiliency and regeneration.

More about the ACM Board leadership:

New Board President Elect:
Joe Cox has served as the President and CEO of the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since February 2018. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum connects more than 450,000 visitors to inspiring science annually. He has worked in the museum field for more than 20 years having previously served as the President of the EcoTarium Museum of Science and Nature in Worcester, Massachusetts (2012–2018) and as Founding Executive Director of the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples, Florida (2004–2012) where he led a campaign to raise more than $25million to build the Museum. Joe has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from St. Mary’s University in London with a focus on environmental law and paleoquaternary biogeography and completed his Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. Joe was the recipient of a Smithsonian Fellowship in Museum Practice based at the National Zoo and National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. He completed the Getty Museum Leadership Institute at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Joe is past Chair of the Florida Association of Museums Foundation.

New At-Large Board Members:

Rongedzayi Fambasayi is a children’s rights lawyer who since August 2022 has been Managing Director at Play Africa Children’s Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a passionate champion of children’s rights, the power of cities to support children’s rights, including the right to play. He is also an external expert on children and climate change with the African Union’s Children’s Committee. After attending the University of Zimbabwe for undergrad, Rongedzayi obtained his Master’s in Law and finalising a PhD Law and Development both from North-West University (Noordwes-Universiteit).

Gretchen Kerr became Chief Operating Officer of Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus in July 2010 after serving as the Vice President of Development. Leading all facets of museum operations, including the museum’s DEAI initiatives, and continuing to play a key role in organizational fundraising efforts, Gretchen helped lead the museum’s $16.1 million expansion campaign in 2015. Before joining the museum, she worked for the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross. She is a member of the Association Alliance of Museum’s 2023 Executive Committee for their Annual Meeting, serves on the Advisory Committee for the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business Customer Service Program, is a graduate of Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation’s Leadership Denver. Gretchen graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S in Kinesiology. 

Brindha Muniappan’s passion for science communication led her from the research bench into the field of informal science education. Since joining Discovery Museum in 2019, she has helped expand the organization’s diversity, equity, access, and inclusion initiatives to connect with more underserved and marginalized children and is committed to sharing Discovery Museum’s efforts widely. Before joining the Discovery Museum, Brindha led the Education and Public Programs team at the MIT Museum and was part of the Current Science and Technology team at the Museum of Science, Boston. Brindha earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering and Ph.D. in biological engineering from MIT. 

Hilary Van Alsburg became the Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Tucson and its satellite location inside a nature park after a varied career in law and the non-profit sector in Tucson—to include experience as an entrepreneur, school teacher, and time at the University of Arizona.

Stephen White, Esq. is the Chief Strategy Officer, and serves as In-House Counsel at the Center for Science and Industry (COSI), the number one science center in the nation by USA Today.  During his career, he founded the theory of Servant Learning as an engagement strategy to help bridge the “COVID Canyon” education gap with the philosophy to inspire others to dream more, do more, and become more.  In his role at COSI, he is oversees the development of optimizing the entrepreneurial business model for the organization, building new models of impactful education programming, creating and implementing a global strategy for public partnerships at the city, state, and federal levels, and leading the execution of COSI’s Strategic Plan. As a first generation student, Mr. White earned three degrees, all from The Ohio State University, including his B.A. in English and Political Science, J.D. from the OSU Moritz College of Law, and his M.A. in Public Policy and Management from the OSU John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and extended his learning at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the OSU Moritz College of Law covering nonprofit law and leadership, as well as several state and federal boards including as Co-Chair of the International Space Station Subcommittee on Education. 

A complete list of the ACM Board of Directors can be found on the ACM website.

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Children’s Museums are Growing Intellectually and Emotionally: An Article by The New York Times, In Collaboration with the Association of Children’s Museums

The Association of Children’s Museums recently worked with The New York Times on an article highlighting the advancements and importance of children’s museums in the United States! The article dives into the history and evolution of children’s museums with ACM Executive Director Arthur G. Affleck, III and discusses the work of various children’s museums across the country, highlighting the story of Fort Lauderdale High School sophomore, Connor Carey, and the impact the Museum of Discovery and Science has had on his self-confidence and social skills. You can read the full article in The New York Times here: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/27/arts/design/childrens-museums.html?fbclid=IwAR0doOhSwOhOwxBebj6FCjxEXQG9Lw4rdTywF-zxOLxYi6vQLydA0bhlzAY

ACM Announces New Strategic Plan

DEAI and environmental resilience and regeneration will guide new and ongoing goals and objectives for the leading children’s museum association

Arlington, Va.—The Association of Children’s Museum (ACM), the world’s foremost professional society supporting and advocating on behalf of children’s museums, and those who work at and otherwise sustain them, is pleased to announce its new five-year (2023-2028) strategic plan. Approved unanimously by the association’s board of directors, the plan was developed with a robust background review of ACM, informed by ACM community engagement, and guided by international arts and culture consulting firm, Lord Cultural Resources.

With the new plan comes revised mission and vision statements to better encapsulate ACM’s new strategic directions and to articulate the aspirational priorities, goals and objectives of the organization.

Mission: We champion children’s museums and together enrich the lives of children worldwide.

Vision: A world that prioritizes the rights of all children to playful learning and a healthy, safe, and equitable future.

“The importance of children’s museums for our communities cannot be understated,” emphasizes ACM Board President and Executive Director of Explora (Albuquerque, NM), Joe Hastings. “The ACM strategic plan creates a roadmap for implementation of new directions and priorities and for highlighting the impact of children’s museums worldwide. The intentional addition of a priority focused on supporting children and families is meant to emphasize ACM’s commitment to strengthening community.”

At its core, ACM’s strategic plan for its future has four inter-related priorities:

1 – Elevating the children’s museum community.
2 – Lifting up children and families.
3 – Advancing the field through advocacy, policy, and research.
4 – Strengthening the organization.

All the work in every priority will be evaluated through the two overarching lenses of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI), and environmental resiliency and regeneration.

“Revisiting and re-envisioning ACM’s strategic direction is integral to ensuring that our values align with the current and future needs of the field and our intention to do more to lift up children and families.” shares Arthur G, Affleck, III, Executive Director of ACM. “Now more than ever do children and families need quality and dependable places to experience hands-on, interactive, and playful learning experiences and exhibits to further their growth, development, and well-being. By sharing this strategic plan, ACM reaffirms our commitment to supporting the children’s museum field and the children and families that we support together.”

The association’s professional staff now turns to phase three of the plan: implementation, where ACM staff will further develop these priorities with actionable tasks. This includes strategic actions aimed to provide more resources, professional development, networking opportunities, and meaningful benefits to ACM members, as well as meaningful and intentional partnerships and collaborations—domestic and international.

ACM plans to share more about this important work at its annual conference InterActivity 2023: Leveraging Our Voice hosted by the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans, April 26-28.

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Museums for All Initiative Reaches 1,000 Participating Museums

Collaborative museum access program has served more than five million visitors

ARLINGTON, VA (November 3, 2022) – The Association of Children’s Museum (ACM) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are pleased to announce that the Museums for All initiative has reached a milestone of 1,000 participating museums. An initiative IMLS, a federal agency based in Washington, DC, and administered by ACM, Museums for All is a national, branded access program that encourages individuals of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong learning experiences and museum going habits.

Through Museums for All, those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits) can gain free or reduced admission to now more than 1,000 museums representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, simply by presenting their SNAP EBT (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Electronic Benefit Transfer) card. Since the launch of the initiative in 2014, more than five million visitors have utilized the program benefits.

“The experience of visiting a museum leaves a lasting impact especially on young people,” reflects Arthur Affleck, III, Executive Director for ACM. “At ACM, we are proud to serve children and their families by connecting them with enriching experiences. That is why we are particularly proud of our work connecting museums of all types to underserved communities through Museums for All. Participating museums report that the initiative has improved their institutions for the better, making them more inclusive and accessible.”

With a year-round open-door policy, Museums for All invites visitors facing economic challenges to feel welcome at cultural institutions. It is open to participation by any type of museum — including art, history, natural history/anthropology, and general museums, children’s museums, science centers, planetariums, nature centers, historic houses/sites, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and arboretums.

“Museums for All is the remarkable success story of creating an affordable and welcoming program for all American families to enter the world of imagination, fun, and knowledge represented by America’s extraordinary museum world,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “The 1,000 members represent millions of American children and their parents.”

Museums for All is the only nationally coordinated financial accessibility program in the museum field, providing an easy-to-implement structure and the ability for participating museums to customize their implementation. Find a participating museum near you or browse our full list of participating museums.

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About the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS envisions a nation where individuals and communities have access to museums and libraries to learn from and be inspired by the trusted information, ideas, and stories they contain about our diverse natural and cultural heritage. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)
The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) champions children’s museums worldwide. With nearly 500 members in 50 states and 19 countries, ACM leverages the collective knowledge of children’s museums through convening, sharing, and dissemination. Learn more at www.childrensmuseums.org.