Social Media: Successes, Challenges, Surprises, and Questions

This article is part of the “Communications 2022” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue.

We posed four basic questions around the use of social media among children’s museums around the U.S.  Responses from the museums listed below left reflect the new and ever-changing territory navigated daily by staff charged with communicating in an increasingly and pandemic-accelerated digital world.


Amazement Square (Lynchburg, Virginia)
Morgan Kreutz, Vice President

Brooklyn Children’s Museum (New York)
Winston Williams, Manager of Communications

Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose (California)
Joey Sanchez, Director of Marketing & Communications

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (Dover)
Neva Cole, Communications Director

The Children’s Museum at Saratoga (New York)
Ben LaPoint, Digital Media Coordinator

Discovery Center Museum (Rockford, Illinois)
Ann Marie Walker, Director of Marketing

Greentrike (Tacoma, Washington)
Rolfe Bautista, Communications Manager, and Rebecca Schrack, Communications Coordinator

The Iowa Children’s Museum (Coralville)
Amanda Thys, Director of Marketing & Communications

KidsQuest Children’s Museum (Bellevue, Washington)
Melissa Berger, Digital Marketing Manager

Mighty Children’s Museum (Chillicothe, Ohio)
Kelcie Pierce, Executive Director

Mississippi Children’s Museum (Jackson)
Clara Williams, Digital Media & Website Coordinator

The Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum (Illinois)
Jada Culberson, Community Engagement & Marketing Manager

Please Touch Museum (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Amanda Mahnke, Director of Marketing & Communications



Amazement Square
Over the last two years we have exponentially increased our social media presence and audience and have “found our groove” with content that resonates the most with varied audiences.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum
In winter 2021-2022 we opened our rooftop ArtRink: a synthetic-ice skating rink meets winter wonderland meets visual arts exhibition. A little out of left field from our typically offerings, this complex concept also faced a well-established competitor with both a polished message and faithful audience.

First, we designed it to be as visually appealing as possible, with strategic branding placement throughout the experience to increase word-of-mouth when shared.

Opening into the headwinds of Omicron, we also invested in collateral advertising and doubled down on targeted advertising on social. Rather than launch it as the big holiday experience we originally envisioned, we positioned ArtRink as a safe, smaller-scale opportunity for families to play outside and where children could learn to skate. To emphasize the “wow” factor of the physical space, we hired an agency to produce a couple of high-impact videos including some drone footage of the rink with the NYC skyline in the background.

It was a huge hit. Thousands of families from Brooklyn and beyond came to the museum just to experience it during its three-month run; plans for a bigger, better 2.0 version are slated for the end of this year.

Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
Our year-end performance on social, and in particular, Instagram. Two giveaways that included museum tickets and a family membership generated significant excitement, engagement, and follower growth. It was so successful that we plan to integrate giveaways into our quarterly strategy. We’ve also seen a lot of success with photo carousels and user-generated content on our social media pages.

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
With a robust YouTube page and educators willing to make videos, since March 2020, we have created 155+ educational videos that have been viewed across all our platforms (Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram) a total of over 225k times (as of January 2022)! This growing library of videos makes excellent social media content throughout the year.

The Children’s Museum at Saratoga
Spending more time developing and making consistent posts as well as making efforts to increase engagement, our social media analytics have shown positive growth.

Discovery Center Museum
For Discovery Center Museum’s 40th anniversary in 2021, we had anticipated a huge celebratory public event, a private event for donors, an event for members, as well as other happenings. Then COVID hit. With Illinois’s COVID restrictions and locally high case numbers, for months our capacity was limited to 50 guests. Large events were out of the question, but we still wanted to share this milestone and feel the gratitude we had for our members, guests, and supporters over the years. Through a social media campaign, we solicited photos, favorite memories, and testimonials from the public with fantastic results. Through social media and our website, we shared user-generated content and created an anniversary video. Connecting with current members and volunteers as well as many from decades past, we now have a wonderful collection of digital images and testimonials to use in the future as well!

Over the last six months, we have integrated a variety of scheduled updates. The regularity and transparency of these communications have built expectations among our audiences for what kind of information and resources they can expect us to provide.

The Iowa Children’s Museum
Our education and exhibits team created a puppet version of our mascot, Pete the Turtle, which provided new social content and opportunities to collaborate with community partners. In the last six months, ads, giveaways, and special discounts for memberships have been crucial to rebuilding our membership base post-pandemic.

KidsQuest Children’s Museum
Reaching out to patrons to ask them to submit names for our two exhibit animals, a sheep, now called Lady Baba, and a cow named Mooriah. Fun and playful, comments and likes were up more than 50 percent.

Mighty Children’s Museum
Capturing 10k followers in roughly fifteen months through our story, which began on Facebook and then expanded into other platforms (Instagram and TikTok).

Mississippi Children’s Museum
Our announcement that the museum had won  the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service organically reached over 2 MILLION people on Facebook!

The Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum
Experimenting with contests, videos, staff stories, and sharing mission-related posts from other sources, the staff stories and mission-related posts seem to be doing best.

Please Touch Museum
The name recognition alone of our next traveling exhibit, The Wizard of Oz Educational Exhibit, guaranteed excitement. But we were still surprised when our Facebook announcement post reached 23,475 people, with 131 likes, 62 comments, and 53 shares! Our highest reaching post in the past two years.


Amazement Square
Getting our constituency to commit to attending events. While we have an abundance of interest and “virtual confirmations,” the translation to physical attendance has been difficult.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Communication of multiple goings-on across many channels on a tight budget with a team of limited bandwidth. It’s a constant balancing act to maintain a consistent message and presence.

Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
Having enough capacity to create new content for the website/blog, which can then be repurposed and promoted on social. With programs moving from all virtual, to hybrid, to all in-person, the pandemic also provided a whole new set of challenges in representing content visually. Masked vs. unmasked photography of our activities made a big difference in the way our audience perceived us. Gauging their comfort level to return was difficult, and we took—and continue to take—a lot of criticism from the anti-mask side.

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
Switching to an online registration/pre-payment system, which we love, but communicating the ins and outs of that system is still prone to misunderstanding. From finding the right ways to spell out reservation steps to ensuring that the process doesn’t actually prevent people from visiting is a big concern. We try to mitigate any difficulty by making sure guests can reserve their spots quickly and easily over the phone. We also offer a $0 option to simply reserve a date and time online and then pay at the door upon arrival making the museum more accessible to people using EBT cards or free passes.

The Children’s Museum at Saratoga
Money. Social media basically costs time and is accessible to everyone, but content can easily get lost in the ocean of posts, especially ones with broad and popular appeal. Utilizing other forms of communication, such as radio ads that better target our core demographics would be great, but many of them are out of our price range. We have explored the idea of geofencing, but again, the cost of initiating and running both options long enough to gauge response is an investment outside a budget focused on the more immediate needs of our audience, donors, and sponsors.

Children’s Museum at Saratoga

Discovery Center Museum
Internal: Training new staff and keeping them up to date as our policies change. Several key staff positions vacated during COVID have not been filled. It has been challenging for our small staff, often taking on new duties, to get the communication they need to be effective and feel well connected to the organization.

External: With a reduced budget, maximizing communications to help rebuild our membership base, communicate changing mask, capacity, and reservation policies, and marketing classes and events.

Reaching new audiences in an increasingly crowded digital communications space. We have revitalized existing communications methods and launched new systems, but new audience growth is happening at a slower pace than pre-pandemic levels.

The Iowa Children’s Museum
Sharing our nonprofit mission and looking for more ways to communicate all the ways we serve our community. Many local residents see the museum as more of an “indoor playground in the mall” and are unaware that we provide accessible, educational play opportunities in our museum and outside our walls.

KidsQuest Children’s Museum
KidsQuest is much more than just a physical space so it’s tough to keep our followers up to date on all we have going on—from in-museum programs, to outreach, to our work in the community and with community partners—without confusing or overwhelming them with messages.

Mighty Children’s Museum
Attracting new visitors! We hear the phrase “I didn’t even know this place was here” far too often. In a small town, this comment makes us wonder how we can attract (and keep) our online visitors, but we would like everyone who is liking or following our pages to step foot inside our doors!

Mississippi Children’s Museum
With so much happening at the museum, it can be difficult to find the line between keeping our followers informed and overwhelming them with too much content.

Mississippi Children’s Museum’s announcement that the museum had won the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service organically reached over 2 MILLION people on Facebook.

The Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum
Staff time. We are only seven years old and lots of people in our community don’t know we are here, or even what a children’s museum is!

Please Touch Museum
Keeping up with changing social media algorithms. Right now, Instagram Reels are important for engagement, but will they be in six months? Reels require significantly more work to create than photo-driven posts, which formed the majority of our previous posting plan.

Getting engagement on our posts, particularly when we ask viewers to share something in the comments. We have a significant follower count on our platforms, but they are not active commenters, which hurts our organic reach.


Amazement Square
We monitor our social media posts and catch problems before they go too far, but it is so easy for messages to be taken out of context and publicly disseminated to hundreds at the click of a button.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum
You have to give people what they want—and quickly—or they move on. At the beginning of COVID we experimented with digital-only programming, including short videos for YouTube and public broadcast television. As wonderful as these experiments were, it showed us that our biggest fans aren’t looking for that, at least not from us. They want one-of-a-kind programs and performances they can experience in-person to form lasting memories and be exposed to entirely new ideas and ways of life. Reopening to visitors and resuming regular hours and live cultural festivals reminded us how essential it is to align all of our content—in-person and online—with our audience’s desires. Don’t fight uphill battles—focus on giving people what they want.

Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
We are more resilient than we thought we could be with reduced staff. Different kinds of content can work well on organic versus paid. For example, text graphics don’t typically do well on our organic social, but event text graphics do very well on paid social.

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
Spending more time crafting content doesn’t always translate to more views. Don’t be afraid to be silly and human. Not in a million years would I have predicted having to defend a museum health and safety policy like mask wearing. We learned when to respond to comments, when to let extreme opinions sit without response among more balanced opinions from other followers, and when to turn off comments if things get out of hand!

The Children’s Museum at Saratoga
How much tracking of an individual’s habits and locations takes place. Useful from a marketing standpoint, but it really opened my eyes to just how much information about you is out there.

Discovery Center Museum
How TikTok has grown and been utilized by museums.

Although social media has been a primary vehicle for organizations to self-promote and share information for the last decade, the ways in which different age groups engage with it remains incredibly varied. For some, following organizations to stay in the know is second nature, while others need to be directed to our social media accounts by other means, such as televised promotions and word of mouth.

The Iowa Children’s Museum
The quick shift to video content! We have a lot of work to do in order to keep up with this new emphasis on TikTok/Reels videos.

KidsQuest Children’s Museum
Our followers are invested in the community and engage particularly well with posts about Black Lives Matter and BIPOC-focused stories about individuals or organizations.

Mighty Children’s Museum
How accessible we can be. We can post changes to programming and daily experiences virtually; we can even convert programs to solely online offerings through Facebook live or posted videos if we need to. The pandemic accelerated our skills in using online platforms to deliver both messages and content.

Mississippi Children’s Museum
How much things change in such a short amount of time! Staying up-to-date on social media trends is a challenge in this digital age.

The Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum
The posts that you think would do really well aren’t always the ones that do. Sharing pictures from programs doesn’t do well. Sharing from other sources does (but not reliably). We shared a Cuddlebug post that did really well.


Amazement Square
How can we secure nonprofit donor status for our Facebook page so that we can build a donation page? We have provided the necessary information but we keep getting rejected and can’t reach anyone to figure out why.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum
What’s next (besides TikTok)? How to succeed in a digital world that is becoming more privacy-minded, where users are allowed to opt-out of analytics?

Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
Any tips on the fastest and most efficient ways to create blogs and other longer-form content? So worth it, but so time-consuming.

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
Is it really worth the money to advertise consistently on Facebook and Instagram? Should it be worked into your annual budget or can you get away with “here and there” event-related boosting?

The Children’s Museum at Saratoga
What is the best way to monitor how social media posts impact real world results? How can I find out how many people came to an event because of our social media posts?

Discovery Center Museum
For small marketing departments with limited staff and resources, which social media platform(s) should we focus our attention on?

With social media platforms maturing from purely social networks into ones geared towards monetization, what are your predictions and recommendations for platforms yielding the most organic audience growth, brand content growth, and audience engagement with museums?

The Iowa Children’s Museum
Given the ongoing shifts in social media platform usage, especially for younger generations, what are the most effective ways to reach today’s parents of young children?

KidsQuest Children’s Museum
How to continue to grow our followers and up our engagement with them in an authentic way.

Mighty Children’s Museum
How to reach more followers and keep our news on the top of social media pages. The current algorithms make it incredibly difficult to continue to see up-to-date info.

Mississippi Children’s Museum
Which social media platform do you think is the best to invest in as a children’s museum?

The Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum
How does social media marketing translate to getting people in the door? How do you know/track this?

Please Touch Museum
With so many social media platforms and limited staff bandwidth, is it better to go wide—maintaining a presence on many platforms with fewer posts—or to go deep—creating a lot of good content for fewer platforms? What platforms are on the horizon to reach young parents that we aren’t thinking about yet?

Children’s Museums Surviving the Pandemic: Insights from Three Leaders

This article is part of the August 2020 issue of Hand to Hand, “COVID-19: Stories from the Field.”
Click here to read other articles in this issue.

By Peter Olson

“How are we going to survive?” was the first question many children’s museums faced in March.  While many strategies have been developed, it remains an open question. The coronavirus pandemic is still affecting all aspects of society, and children are experiencing upended lives. With many museums’ doors still closed, children’s museums are innovating safe ways to be of service to their audience while protecting staff and fighting for institutional survival. It’s not an overstatement to say we are living through an unprecedented juncture, one at which every children’s museum in the U.S. initially closed to visitors in mid-March, the duration of the pandemic is unknown, and it remains unclear how post-virus attitudes will affect hands-on museums. 

In this context, in March, I spoke with three children’s museum leaders to learn about their real-time efforts to keep their museums sustainable through the pandemic. Stephanie Hill Wilchfort, president and CEO, Brooklyn Children’s Museum; Tanya Durand, executive director, Greentrike (Children’s Museum of Tacoma); and Tammie Kahn, executive director, Children’s Museum Houston, all shared strategies and tactics for surviving closure, preparing to reopen, and re-imagining missions and adapted operations. 

In late June, I checked in again with all three regarding specific aspects of their reopening progress. These conversations often spoke to the dire realities of these tough times, but they all shared the hope that the children’s museums field will reemerge as relevant, vital resources for children, families, and communities after the pandemic.

When did you first start grappling with the effects of pandemic?

WILCHFORT: Even though New York was not in lockdown yet, we started seeing an unexpected decline in visitation the first weekend in March. The following week we started grappling with closing. This wasn’t our first emergency health situation. We dealt with similar issues during a measles outbreak earlier in 2019, so we had developed some messaging and protocols on how to communicate. But this time we had to invent a framework for helping determine when we should close. To start, we created a basic four-point guideline. We would close: 

  1. If the governments ask us to close;
  2. If fewer than five staff members are able to report to duty to run the museum;
  3. If an employee reports serious and contagious illness; or
  4. If a visitor reports serious and contagious illness. 

We did not originally anticipate two other considerations. The first was that public health experts were clear that closure of spaces like ours could help mitigate the potential crisis, and that public sentiment shifted to feeling like museums should close. On March 12, both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History closed. We closed on Saturday, March 14. Second, at some point, with very few visitors and almost no revenue, staffing the museum was costing substantially more than we were earning. Does it make financial sense to run the museum when no one is coming? We later amended our closure framework to take public health experts into account, and to include an additional decision point related to non-attendance.

To determine when to reopen, we take our cues from New York City and New York State. We’ve been looking at how museums in other countries have handled this, and it seems like there is likely to be a twelve-week timeline for sheltering in place. Based on that, we initially assumed a July 1 reopening date. (That date was later moved to October 1.) Even if the world returns halfway to normal by then, our institutions may still be unable to reopen, either because large crowds will still be discouraged, or because we have had to contract so substantially that ramping up will take some time. We also know that, even when we do reopen, there will likely be a period of lower attendance and revenue.

New York City was initially one of the hardest hit COVID-19 areas in the country.  What’s the mood in your city today?  What do people want from a children’s museum now?

WILCHFORT: The mood is cautiously optimistic as the impact of the disease seems to be waning locally. Recently, we were heartened by the return of 600 survey responses from our visitors in two days. People seem to be willing to imagine coming back in the fall with safety measures in place.

DURAND: Our Pacific Northwest CEO group had been talking about the possibility of closure since mid-February. Examining models and various scenarios, we had been working on how to stay open as long as possible, right up to the day before everyone closed. What we thought was right one day, wasn’t right the next day. In a twelve-hour span, the conversation transitioned from “let’s be that place for families that is safe, clean, and has resources” into “it’s not socially responsible to be a place to gather.” On March 12 we closed our outreach program and on Friday, March 13, we closed the museum. Our childcare center stayed open until March 17, when a parent called us to report their child had symptoms. She never was tested, but we decided to close anyway for at least two weeks. Then another family called to inform us that their child also had symptoms. We’ll reopen the museum when it’s safe to do it. We’re not in a red-hot hurry.

In response to overwhelming community need, the museum reopened some day camps and its childcare center.  What has been community response to these shifts? Have other needs emerged that you’re dealing with or planning to?

DURAND: We are now coordinating an extension of the day camps into the summer months, and are poised to lean into the needs that fall may bring. The community’s response is one of gratitude and encouragement.

KAHN: We closed the museum to the public on March 16 and initially hoped to reopen in July. (The museum reopened at limited capacity in June). When visitors walk through our doors again, we know they’ll have much higher expectations than previously. With children out of school for so long, parents will be looking for educational, enriching resources. Our educators will be working in the galleries providing more personalized, content-rich experiences. We’re still going to have fun, but we’re going to provide value where and when it’s most needed.

Children’s Museum Houston (CMH) jumped out early in the production and dissemination of video and online learning programs. How have these digital offerings been received? What have you learned that may shape future work in this area?

KAHN: Our videos have had 2.8 million views. Our eblast initially had 70,000 subscribers; it’s now down to about 68,000. As far as content, we know that reading programs are oversaturated. Keeping at least digital connections with children is good for their mental health, but are they learning their ABCs? We just don’t know yet. Our videos have produced some museum “stars”—kids come in and ask for educators by name.

Millennial audiences approach life differently. They are harder to reach and less interested in the physical interactions with the museum. To continue to reach them, be ready to go digital. That said, we also know there are still digital deserts in Houston’s lower income communities. We have learned from local educators that only 42 percent of students logged on 1x/week to all the online learning programs the schools have been pumping out. School administrators figure they have lost contact with about 50 percent of students. Social justice needs to shape mission-directed museum work: if we can’t reach them, how can we serve them?
How are you remaining vital to your audience and your community while closed?

DURAND: As our community called upon us to spread the mission to honor children and champion play in diverse ways, last fall, our organization made an identity shift and changed its name to “Greentrike.” We’ll always operate a great children’s museum and, in fact, we’re opening a satellite. But we will also be an advocate, a disrupter, an educator, and a partner in ways that go far beyond typical museum operations. In addition to the museum and our emerging satellite, we operate a childcare center and a school. We’re leading a community-wide effort to explicitly brand our community as child-centered. Partnering with schools, the Boys & Girls Club, the YMCA, and the parks department, Greentrike has been tasked with coordinating the effort to provide childcare for children of emergency personnel, healthcare professionals, and others on the frontlines.

Based on your experiences in the past four months, do you see the mission of Greentrike evolving in any specific ways?

DURAND: Yes. For example, Greentrike is partnering with another agency to lead a conversation about ending the childcare crisis in our community.

Our nimbleness and our lack of bureaucratic structure enable us to advocate pretty strongly for important issues as they come up. We can “go to bat” for partners who lack the resources or the capacity to do so on their own.

WILCHFORT: We are all about in-person, sensory, physical programming and object-based learning. We do not have a robust digital team nor many resources in this area. So we have convened a cross-department team with staff from marketing, programming, exhibits, and live animal care, and started to create units of digital outreach programming in three big areas: Amazing Animals, which will showcase some of the museum’s animals in a digital format; Earth Science, based on content we’ve developed for a new earth science garden to be opened in a few years; and Cultural Festivals, creating content that brings in our partners, with activities, recipes, and dancing that normally happen at our in-person festivals. We hope that through this process we will build competencies around digital resources and new ways of presenting content that will continue after the immediate pressing need is over.

KAHN: We transformed our website to offer fun and engaging at-home learning opportunities for families. We provide both livestream broadcasting along with a database of school-related, curriculum-based activities and videos created by our staff. We launched this while we still had access to the museum, but then educators began “broadcasting” from their homes. Their children and pets starred in some of the programs. It’s all about connecting our audience with our stars—our educators—now that classrooms are closed.

What are the top issues you’re struggling with because of the pandemic? 

WILCHFORT: We realized right away that there would be no work for most of our part-time floor staff in a closed museum. We had to make the heartbreaking decision to lay them off. We called two staff meetings, both of which I led, on two separate days, and all staff completed a Google form indicating which meeting they could attend to ensure that no more than thirty-five people were in the room for each meeting. When staff arrived at the museum, we kept everyone at least six feet apart. We tried to make it as safe as possible while recognizing that a level of respect needs to be afforded to them. We also reduced hours and salaries by 20 percent for all full-time staff, but have made a commitment to retain as many people as possible, protecting their healthcare benefits throughout this process.

From left to right: Tanya Durand, Greentrike; Tammie Kahn, Children’s Museum Houston; Stephanie Wilchfort, Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Our board engaged in conversations about our annual fundraiser benefit scheduled for May 27. The initial idea was to do something like a Zoom party as an engagement and cultivation event as much as a fundraiser. The reality is that in this moment, children’s museums are not at the forefront of people’s needs. When emergency workers are on the frontlines, often working without proper PPE, it does not seem like the right time for us to fundraise aggressively. It’s so hard to say this might not be our time, when we love our organizations so much. However, it is important we advocate with donors and public funders in ways that aren’t tone deaf to what is happening around our city and country. Because we have amazing city support, wonderful trustees, a robust foundation community in New York, as well as local support for a future arts and culture stimulus, I am cautiously optimistic about our future.

Has your temporarily restrained
approach to fundraising changed in the past few months?  Where are you now with regards to raising money for core operations or special projects?

WILCHFORT: We elected not to do the May 27 event, but instead held a virtual board gathering and unveiled designs for our science garden exhibit that’s in development. Board members still gave money. We have reengaged in fundraising. Now that we’re reopening, donors are coming back. Two months ago, none of us understood how long this would last. Now we have a better sense of defining our response and a more refined understanding of where our organization falls: cultural organizations are more relevant than ever in providing safe ways to gather for learning experiences. Parents and children are fraying at the edges. We’re all asked to play roles we never expected to play, working full-time, and limiting outside contact. It’s a real crisis, and parents are anxious. Our fundraising aligns with meeting the needs in our community today.   

DURAND: I worry about people’s livelihoods. We reduced our team from sixty-nine to twenty-two. On average, the furloughed team members received two weeks paid leave, and it’s our intention to continue to pay for their healthcare benefits during the furlough. Our board cares deeply about our staff and is looking at the long game.

Like all of my colleagues I’m worried about money. We’ll probably have to dip into our line of credit. Our museum admission is by donation, so we don’t rely on the gate income that other museums do—a blessing in disguise in times like these. We actually save money by being closed. Our financial forecast is that we’ll end our fiscal year with a $150,000 shortfall for the first two and a half months (mid-March through May). This is not great news, but it certainly could be worse, and I feel for colleagues facing deeper deficits.

KAHN: We’re in the middle of complex financial modeling, including significantly dampening predictions for the coming eighteen months. For years we’ve studied worst case scenarios, but this crisis rivals our worst nightmare. We initially laid off 150 part-time staff and gave them two weeks’ severance to help bridge them to unemployment benefits. Many of this team live in families all dependent on part-time employment. Locally, massive layoffs due to required business closures have been devastating. For decades, Texas has attracted people who came here willing to work two or three jobs to give their kids a chance at the American Dream. We are proud to hire people from the demographics we serve. But we never planned on extended, universal unemployment for our entire region. And our biggest economic engine is still the energy business, which has hit several lowest-ever markers in the past few weeks. There’s a sea change taking hold in that industry as well.

Federal payroll assistance does not cover part-time employees. Normally we have plenty of cash on hand, even a cash reserve in our endowment. However, our shut down eliminated spring break and the start of our summer peak attendance. We are predicting an overall loss of $500,000 at the end of our 2020 fiscal year (June 30), even with short term federal relief for full-time staff. Our endowment value is at its lowest in ten years. We were fortunate to be running a surplus before the crisis, and we have been authorized to consider spending up to $1 million from our reserve fund including cash held in our endowment.     

But our museum is people-dependent. Our mission model is about transforming communities through innovative, child-centered learning. Our level of community engagement requires a lot of fully engaged talented people. Our efforts to have collective impact and work collaboratively are taking a major hit. Most of our community-based partners are shut down, libraries are closed, schools may not open until fall, and people are isolated. Our digital efforts are producing high contact numbers, but we are just beginning to learn how to build robust digital relationships. We are already evaluating learning outcomes from these efforts, but the evidence will require we rethink the new nature of the value that we bring.

As staff were gradually brought back to work in the museum, what new trainings did they need to meet today’s audience needs (safety standards, audience expectations, etc.)?

KAHN: Our staff training is not much different than before. The museum visit was re-structured as an “Epic Adventure” with a clearly mapped entrance/exit that paces the visit and allows social distancing. Each visitor receives an Epic Adventure bag that contains 80 percent of the materials need for the adventure, and which they can take home. Normally, the museum is full of frontline staff, but now, only our full-time educators are working in the galleries.
What are you working on now that you are most excited about?

WILCHFORT: Our 20,000-square-foot, outdoor Earth Science Garden, a big capital project in partnership with the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, and by far our most exciting large-scale project. While it won’t come to fruition for a couple of years, it’s going to change the organization. The narrative for the eight exhibit areas is rooted in the history of Brooklyn and how it got its slopes and heights.
How do you see your organization coming out of the shutdown? Are you expecting and planning for any fundamental changes to your audience and how you serve them?

WILCHFORT:  If there’s one thing I’d say to other children’s museums in this moment, you may think you should put the brakes on big capital projects, but don’t. One, it’s good for the institution. When we do come out of this, people will need these new projects and programs. Two, content development, construction, and fabrication can be part of a stimulus program. If we keep the capital projects going, we’re creating jobs. If we stop these big projects, we won’t have that ability. It’s essential that everyone keep their capital and major exhibit work moving.

KAHN: We’ll be reducing our hours and days of operation, further cutting personnel expenses. However, we will increase the depth of educational experiences for visitors. Even before the pandemic, this generation of caregivers tend to display a heightened level of control over all aspects of their child’s safety, as well as the selection of environments and experiences to which their child is exposed. As a public venue designed for young children, we will be subjected to higher cleanliness and safety expectations than ever in the coming “post-COVID” era. As a nation, we have spent spring 2020 retraining our citizenry to assume new behaviors that are not in sync with our pre-pandemic missions or business models.

Since you have reopened, what are some of the biggest changes and challenges related to health/safety standards compliance?

KAHN: Visitors’ temperatures are scanned at the door. Masks are required for everyone age two and older–no mask, no admission. (Masks are sold in the museum store for $3.95!) Ever since Sandy Hook, the museum has posted a guard at the door. A typical compliance issue is visitors pulling their masks off their nose once they’re inside. Visitors who do so are reminded by staff, and if they still don’t comply, the guard will ask them to leave. Only one family so far has requested a membership refund over the masks rule.

Like most reopened museums, we have initiated an aggressive cleaning program, and have spent $400,000 on upgrades and cleaning supplies (HEPA filters, UV lights, cleaning products, etc.). Our lobby’s former Yogurt Snack Bar is now a Hand Sanitizer Bar.

A separate but related issue involves staff. Their temperatures are taken daily, and masks must be worn in the museum at all times. To date, one staff member tested experienced COVID-19 symptoms after returning from New York; five of the remaining hundred employees were believed to have been exposed to the virus so were sent home out of caution. Each of these employees required individual fourteen-day quarantines. It has been difficult to lose staff due to exposure from families and friends, while still paying full-time salaries for people who are in quarantine.
Do you think adjustments to the children’s museum experience are temporary or permanent? What is your level of optimism for children’s museums to continue to be relevant with hands-on, in-person learning?

DURAND: Children need to play to learn, and they need to play with others to gain social skills. That won’t change. We are waiting longer to reopen because I don’t think it’s right to ask a child to come back to a beloved familiar environment that we designed specifically to engage them in play, and now ask them to engage in different and difficult-to-explain ways. It does not set the child, or the family, up for success. Our field needs to advocate even more strongly that play is the right of children. We need to keep them and their families safe, but we need to push for a return to the rights of childhood as soon as we can.

DURAND: This is a basic operational and philosophical question that the entire museum field is considering. Greentrike will advocate for what families need. Childcare and access to the fundamentals will be important. The museum, I think, will experience a slow ramp back up to “business as usual,” whatever “usual” will mean at that time. We are working with our colleague museums to do a combined launch with consistent messaging. This obviously impacts budget: we are losing most earned income for almost five months. We are applying for CARES support and will continue to raise funds. 

As far as changes to the children’s museum audience, everyone will be enhancing their cleaning and safety protocols and thinking about social distancing. But, since our gallery experiences are hands-on, interactive, and often involve close contact with other visitors, these changes will certainly impact the way we serve our audience and it will certainly feel different.

For children’s museums in general, I don’t think it’s a terminal situation, but a hibernation. My hope is that there won’t be a decreased demand for children’s museums. I don’t anticipate a time when we say we shouldn’t have safe, rewarding, enriching places for children to go. The wake up, however, is going to be fascinating. I don’t know how extensive the hangover will be for families who do not want to return to public places. We need to watch our friends across the ocean, where there is a chance for a second wave, and how they handle it. This edition of Hand to Hand is almost like a time capsule, but one you’re not sure what to put in, because everything is changing on a daily basis.

Peter Olson is currently the owner of Peter Olson Museum Planning, LLC, and is the museum project director of the emerging Region 5 Children’s Museum in North Central Minnesota. Peter has served as the founding executive director at Knock Knock Children’s Museum and the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, and as the director of exhibits at Minnesota Children’s Museum.


In a year filled with rapidly changing responses to a still fluid environment, Children’s Museum Houston just announced that it will launch All-Time Access, an online initiative to enhance distance learning. This program will be open to families all over the world from an all-time digital landscape. As kids return to school, in whatever configuration that may be, the museum will take a break beginning August 31 to focus on All-Time Access meeting children and their families where they are —at school, at home, at play. The museum will reopen once again as soon as it is feasible.

Read other articles in the August 2020 issue of Hand to Hand, “COVID-19: Stories from the Field.”

The First Four: Origin Stories of the First Children’s Museums in the United States

Pictured clockwise from top left: Brooklyn Children’s Museum (1899), Boston Children’s Museum (1913), The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (1925), and Detroit Children’s Museum (1917)

The following post appears in the “History and Culture Summit” issue of Hand to Hand, ACM’s quarterly journal.

By Jessie Swigger, PhD

In the first twenty-five years of the twentieth century, four museums for children opened in the United States: Brooklyn Children’s Museum (1899), Boston Children’s Museum (1913), the Detroit Children’s Museum (1917), and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (1925). These four museums—opened by different individuals and groups in different places and at different times—were linked by more than their shared focus on young audiences.

First, they were all shaped by the progressive education movement, which was then at the height of its power and influence. Second, at each museum, women played significant leadership roles (which was unusual in the museum profession, or anywhere). Many of these women knew one another and created a new professional network for their particular brand of museum work. Reflecting on the origin stories of these pioneer children’s museums sheds light on current trends and directions in the children’s museum movement.


Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) opened in 1899, less than one year after Brooklyn became a borough of New York City. The museum originally operated under the umbrella of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences (BIAS), then in the process of moving into a new and much larger building under construction on Eastern Parkway. The children’s museum opened just a few blocks away in what was known as the Adams House in Bedford Park (now Brower Park) in Crown Heights.

BCM was open to the public, free of charge, and sought to provide young people with an introduction to the natural sciences that supported the “various classwork of the public schools,” particularly along the “lines of nature study.” The BIAS Annual Report of 1901-1902 included a special invitation to teachers encouraging them to draw on the museum’s resources when developing “class work in nature-study.” This focus on nature study is perhaps unsurprising—New York’s recently appointed superintendent of public schools, William Henry Maxwell, was an advocate for nature study in the curriculum.

The nature study movement, part of the increasingly popular progressive education movement, encouraged young people to learn by observing and interacting with the natural world. Historian Sally Gregory Kohlstedt explains that “at the core of nature study was a pragmatic insistence on using local objects for study emphasizing the connection between those objects and human experience.” It was particularly popular in urban areas, where progressives feared the lack of contact with nature in America’s growing cities would be detrimental to the Americanization of newly-arrived immigrants.

In 1902, Anna Billings Gallup, a teacher, nature study advocate, and recent graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, joined BAIS as an “assistant” at the children’s museum. Two years later she was named curator-in-chief. At a time when few women held significant positions in museums, Gallup was a pioneer.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s collections certainly reflected a commitment to nature study, but they also addressed the wide range of childhood interests and the breadth of the public school curriculum. Inside BCM, children found collections illustrating zoology, botany, U.S. history, mineralogy, geography, and art. Gallup explained in an article for Popular Science that the exhibits were “attractive in appearance, simple in arrangement, and labeled with descriptions adapted to the needs of children, printed in clear readable type.”

Gallup’s work was well recognized by her peers. In 1907, she was one of five women who attended the Second Annual Meeting of the American Association of Museums (AAM) in Pittsburg, PA, where she presented a paper titled “The Work of a Children’s Museum.” For the next thirty-four years, Gallup and her staff worked to expand the museum’s collection and physical presence.


Delia I. Griffin was one of the other women attending the 1907 AAM meeting, where she presented her paper, “The Educational Work of a Small Museum.” At the time, she was director of the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury, VT. Like Gallup, Griffin was trained in nature study techniques and had even produced a pamphlet titled Outline of Nature Study for Primary and Grammar Grades. At St. Johnsbury, she created lesson plans in nature study at the museum for local public schools. Griffin and Gallup became friendly, and when a second museum for children opened in Boston, Gallup recommended Griffin for the job of curator.

In 1909, members of Boston’s Science Teachers’ Bureau began building a collection of natural history objects that could be used in public school classrooms. By 1913, the bureau had founded the second children’s museum in the United States, the Boston Children’s Museum. Like Brooklyn Children’s Museum, it was housed in a former mansion. Located at Pine Bank in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood, the museum offered children access to ethnographic, natural history, and historical collections. Griffin would later write that the goal of the children’s museum was to train the “plastic minds of children to observe accurately and think logically.”


In 1917, the Detroit Museum of Art, undergoing its own growth, opened a children’s museum, with yet another woman at the helm. Gertrude A. Gillmore, a supervising teacher of the Martindale Normal School, was appointed curator. She explained that the museum’s purpose would be “two-fold: to loan illustrative material to the schools and to attract the children to the Museum through monthly exhibits appealing directly to their interests.”

In 1919, Gillmore reflected on the Detroit Children’s Museum’s (DCM) progress in a report. Like Brooklyn and Boston, the museum’s work developed in tandem with that of public schools. While the collection was drawn from the Detroit Museum of Art’s holdings, the children’s museum reported, “in general our policy has been not to organize material as a collection until a wish for it has been expressed.” This approach meant that collections were created in response to requests from public school teachers in an even more direct way than at Brooklyn and Boston. By 1919, the children’s museum had hosted exhibits on the “History of Detroit,” “Common Birds and Mammals of Michigan,” and several exhibits on “phases of art of interest to children.” In 1927, the Detroit Museum of Art changed its name to the Detroit Institute of Arts and moved to a new and larger building on Woodward Avenue. Two years earlier, the DCM had been placed directly under the Detroit Board of Education. The Detroit Children’s Museum found a new home in a building type that was now a familiar one to children’s museums—a former mansion—the Farr Residence at 96 Putnam in Detroit.


The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis opened in 1925. Discussions about children and museums had begun two years before, when the Indianapolis Progressive Educational Association (PEA) held its first meeting at the Orchard Country Day School. Founded in 1922, the Orchard School was a fitting location for the meeting. The curriculum followed Marietta Pierce Johnson’s “Organic School Model.” Johnson drew from progressive educator and philosopher John Dewey’s ideas about learning by doing. Two of the school’s nine founders were Martha Carey and Mary Carey Appel, daughters of wealthy socialite Mary Stewart Carey. In fact, Mary Stewart Carey had donated her home and apple orchard for the cause.

There were several items on the PEA agenda, but most pressing was a desire to make the museum collections housed in the Statehouse available to the city’s public school children. Faye Henley, newly appointed director of the Orchard School, argued, “The material should be put into traveling cases and sent around to the schools.”

Mary Stewart Carey may not have been at this meeting, but it’s quite likely that she knew about the Indianapolis PEA and their conversation given her association with the Orchard School.

The next year, Mary Stewart Carey visited Brooklyn Children’s Museum while on vacation in nearby Asbury Park, NJ. Soon, she was on her way to the Adams House. When she returned to Indianapolis, she was determined to create a similar institution in her hometown.

Carey was well positioned for this kind of endeavor. Her philanthropic activities expanded beyond the recently founded Orchard School. For example, she played a key role in selecting the Indiana state flag in 1917, and was a member of the Indianapolis Woman’s Club and the Art Association of Indiana. Carey’s connections would prove useful in garnering support and resources for the museum.

Soon, an organizational committee was formed with Carey at the helm. They quickly formalized their commitment to creating a museum centered on their intended audience rather than a collection, writing that “the viewpoint of the child should be considered in providing for the equipment and installation of all materials.” Over the next few months, the museum wrote a constitution, elected a board of trustees, and began developing partnerships with the local public schools and with clubs for children.

The museum board had members and interest, but they lacked the funding to purchase a collection. So, the board called on the local community to donate objects they believed would educate children. Museum lore claims that the first donated objects were a few arrowheads that Carey’s grandchildren had found and given to her. They received an overwhelming response from community members. One woman tried to donate a live alligator, perhaps knowing the Brooklyn Children’s Museum included a live animal collection, but the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis turned it down. While its sister institutions had solicited collections from established sources, such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, the children’s museum was the first to directly invite the community to participate in the creation of the collection.

In July 1925, the museum found its first home when the board rented a carriage house behind the Propylaeum, the city’s women’s literary society. By November, the board hired E.Y. Guernsey as curator. Guernsey was formerly an archaeologist for the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles and at the Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, Indiana. When Guernsey oversaw the museum’s first opening to public school classes the following month, there were no cases. Instead, the objects were placed on tables, out in the open.

Two years later, primarily due to high rent, the museum moved out of its first carriage house home and into Carey’s former home on North Meridian, where children visited a larger collection distributed among themed rooms that included the Geology Gallery, the Natural Science Gallery, and the Pioneer Gallery.

Connecting Past and Present

The four museums discussed here were created more than 100 years ago, but their origin stories raise questions for the contemporary movement. Each museum had strong links to the progressive education movement and to public schools. In many ways, the first four children’s museums saw themselves as partners with public schools. How do current children’s museums work with schools, and how do they view their relationship with them? Second, women played a central role in founding each museum. As an extension of the public schools, where a majority of the teachers were women, it was acceptable for women to take on the role of curator or director of a children’s museum. These women formed an unofficial but important network as they shared ideas about how best to do children’s museum work. Do women continue to play a larger role in the children’s museum profession than in other fields, or has this changed over time? How has the presence of women from the very beginning impacted the approach of various children’s museums?

There are many other similarities that these first four museums shared. In studying the connections among Brooklyn, Boston, Detroit, and Indianapolis, we can learn more not only about the foundational history of children’s museums, but also about the current state of the field.

Jessie Swigger is the director of Western Carolina University’s Public History Program. She earned her MA and PhD in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to presenting at numerous regional and national conferences, her work has appeared in The Encyclopedia of Culture Wars and The 1980s: A Critical and Transitional Decade. In 2013, she received the North Carolina Museums Council Award of Special Recognition. Her award-winning book, History Is Bunk: Assembling the Past at Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village, was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2014.

To read other articles in the “History & Culture Summit” issue of Hand to Handsubscribe todayACM members receive both digital and printed complimentary copies of Hand to Hand. ACM members can access their copies through the Online Member Resource Library–contact to gain access. 

The Children’s Museum History & Culture Summit

The following post is condensed from the introduction to the latest issue of Hand to Hand, ACM’s quarterly journal. 

The first museum designed for children, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, opened in 1899. By 1960, thirty-eight children’s museums were in operation in the U.S. By 2012, this number had increased to 300 children’s museums worldwide, and continues to grow today.

Looking at the timeline of children’s museums, it’s possible to identify the social and cultural trends that fueled the field’s different periods of growth. However, in addition to empirical research, it’s critical to engage the people behind this growth, and learn their firsthand experience.

With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), ACM convened a small group of children’s museum leaders, past and present, for The Children’s Museum History & Culture Summit on May 5, 2017, following InterActivity 2017. The Summit engaged leaders active in the children’s museum field in the past twenty-five years, with a focus on the explosive development of the field between 1995 and 2005.

This meeting was part of an ongoing project to collect stories and data to help tell the story of the recent history of the children’s field, building off the last major effort of this type, 1999’s Bridges to Understanding Children’s Museums project and report. A related goal of the Summit was to reconnect past leaders who have left the children’s museum community, many to retire or join related fields.

Over the course of an afternoon, panelists and participants engaged in reflection, camaraderie, and storytelling. Together, they reviewed themes from ACM’s initial data collection about the history of children’s museums, using this as a jumping-off point for a far-ranging discussion about the field.

The conversation was guided by the following questions:

  1. How has practice in children’s museums affected practice in the broader museum field? What are the implications for how object-based museums present exhibits and programs to children and/or family audiences?
  2. How does the lens of the humanities and academic study help ACM understand how children’s museums affect children’s learning?
  3. How have children’s museums influenced the idea of childhood? How has the idea of childhood affected practice in children’s museums?

The Summit unearthed themes and ideas that were of critical importance during the children’s museum field’s early growth—and continue to resonate today. With further insight from leaders of the field during the 1995- 2005 era, the “History & Culture Summit” issue of Hand to Hand naturally extends the conversation about the connection between our field’s history and future. (Look out for key quotes from the Summit throughout the issue.)

Telling our own story with confidence is the way forward as children’s museums continue to professionalize. How can we empower individual museums to gather their own stories to contribute to this field-wide effort? How can we use these stories to build the institutional self-confidence that comes from knowing who you are?

Alison Howard is Director, Communications at the Association of Children’s Museums. Follow ACM on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

To read other articles in the “History & Culture Summit” issue of Hand to Handsubscribe todayACM members also receive both digital and printed complimentary copies of Hand to Hand. ACM members can access their copies through the Digital Resource Library–contact to gain access if needed. 

Why Do We Need Children’s Museums?

In December, ACM’s executive director Laura Huerta Migus traveled to Poland for “Why Do We Need Children’s Museums?” a two-day conference jumpstarting the conversation around starting a children’s museum in Warsaw. The meeting was organized by the arts organization Artanimacje Association and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

Six ACM member institutions sent staff to give presentations about their museums: Boston Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Children’s MuseumThe Children’s Museum of IndianapolisLondon Children’s MuseumMUZEIKO – America for Bulgaria, and Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling.

We asked them about their experiences traveling to Warsaw and sharing expertise with an international audience. Read their responses below!

Leslie Swartz, Senior Vice President for Research and Program Planning, Boston Children’s Museum, presented, “Boston Children’s Museum: It All Started with Collections.”

What most impressed me about the “Why Do We Need Children’s Museums” conference in Warsaw was the sophisticated, independent and progressive thinking among the organizers and participants. I was inspired by their high-level of organization and dedication to achieving the goal of starting children’s museums in Poland, a place where opportunities for creative playful learning are sorely needed. They are a group of smart, well-informed and determined people who want to effect change. They are also realistic about the obstacles they may face, and are gathering significant support to overcome barriers. By tapping into existing expertise in the field, they’re starting out more fully-equipped to reach their goals.

My talk was about collections at Boston Children’s Museum, reaching back to the museum’s founding in 1913 by progressive educators seeking to improve learning among all children and to nurture the development of good citizens. That was revolutionary at the time in the US.  (Maybe it still is revolutionary.) The history and evolution of children’s museums in the US seems particularly pertinent to Poland. The prairie fire of children’s museum development around the world is heartening and makes me hopeful.

Erin Hylton, former Education Programs Manager, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, presented, “Programming for Over a Century: Addressing the Needs of Children and their Families since 1899”

The meeting highlight was connecting with colleagues in Warsaw and hearing about the incredible projects they have created for children and young people in Poland. It was inspirational and illuminating to be a part of the beginning stages of the development of a children’s museum in Poland.

It was an incredible opportunity to connect with colleagues from around the world in Poland, as well as hear about the work happening in children’s museums across North America and Europe. The children’s museum field is as diverse as the families and communities we serve through a variety of programs, projects and exhibitions. It was encouraging to hear how we are all working through similar questions and solutions, including teaching empathy to our family and community audiences.

Susan Foutz
, Director of Research and Evaluation, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, presented, “Value of Research and Evaluation for Children’s Museums”

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Warsaw and meeting new colleagues in the children’s museum field. As a tourist, the highlight of any trip is always visiting museums, and I had an incredible visit to POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. This museum tells of the rich, and heartbreakingly tragic, 1000-year history of Jews in Poland. As a children’s museum professional, the highlight of the two-day meeting was the passion of everyone involved—from the presenters to the attendees and most especially the organizers.

I really appreciated the opportunity to hear from those representing museums in Europe and Canada. I am always amazed at the diversity of ways we meet our missions—we might use many different approaches (like art-making, facilitated play, object-based learning), but ultimately all children’s museums are powered by passionate people who are driven to enrich the lives of children. Seeing how this plays out in communities around the world is truly inspiring.

Milena Savova, Learning Team Leader, MUZEIKO – America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum, presented, “Design of Educational Programs for Children’s Museums”

The highlight of the trip for me was the possibility to meet my colleagues from other children’s museums. Since Muzeiko is the only children’s museum in Bulgaria, it is very motivating for us to know that we are not alone in our noble work. Seeing so many professionals dedicated to their work with kids gives us the sensation that we are a part of a big family.

After participating in the meeting, I understood that we can widen our focus of interest and further enrich our programs.

Jennifer Ifil-Ryan,
Deputy Director & Director of Creative Engagement, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, presented, “The Power of Storytelling and the Arts for Young Children”

The highlight of the trip was learning about the genesis and continued work of my colleagues in the field. There are so many approaches to working with children and families, all of them valid and important. Some were focusing on cognition, while others focused on investigation and program assessment. The opportunity to learn from each other was rich and I have taken many valuable lessons home with me.

The size range of children’s museum represented gave me a broader perspective on what our work looks like in different areas across the globe, as well as the consistencies in our values of honoring the spirit and potential of the child. That reinforcement was priceless.

Amanda Conlon, Executive Director, London Children’s Museum, presented, “Family Learning as a Tool in Children’s Museums and the Role Permanent Exhibitions Play in This.”


These presentations generated fruitful discussions that brought together the past, present, and future of the children’s museum field. Each speaker shared their museum’s story in a way that broadened the audience’s understanding of what children’s museums can do. We can’t wait to see how children’s museums continue to develop in Poland and beyond!

Alison Howard is Communications Director at the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM). Follow ACM on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Photo courtesy of Susan Foutz.