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ACM Trends #7.2 Meeting Children Where They Are
ACM Trends #7.2 Meeting Children Where They Are

Data for this report was collected through a search of available literature. This research was supported by the Institute for Museum and Library Services. The world is designed for mobile media, including smartphones and tablets, and young children are already using these too...

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ACM Trends #7.2 Meeting Children Where They Are

Data for this report was collected through a search of available literature. This research was supported by the Institute for Museum and Library Services. The world is designed for mobile media, including smartphones and tablets, and young children are already using these too

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MuseumLab for Museum Professionals Announces Inaugural Cohort Awardees

Five projects developed by children’s museum professionals recognized for outstanding ideation and planning 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 other

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ACM welcomes four new board members and new board president

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 new and returning Board of Directors for 2024. The new mem

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ACM Trends #7.1 Designing Digital Media for Learning

Data for this report was collected through a review of existing literature. This research was supported by the Institute for Museum and Library Services. When designed well, virtual programming and online experiences can facilitate meaningful learning moments in early childhood.

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ACM Trends #6.4 Collaborating with Libraries: What Children’s Museums Need to Know Copy

Data for this report comes from two surveys. That pertaining to children’s museums’ collaborations with libraries was collected through the Spring 2023 ACM Member Collaborations survey. The dataset contains information from 59 member institutions. Data on library collaborations wi

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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 paren

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From Constraints to Opportunities: Redefining Museum Experience Through a Small Museum Lens

By: Stephen Wisniewski Recognizing the depth and usefulness of a small museum approach, and centering it in our field, can allow us to see much more expansive possibilities by thinking and practicing from the bottom up, rather than seeing compromise and limitation from the top down. When I

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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 childr

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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

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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 leverag

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ACM Trends #6.4 Collaborating with Libraries: What Children’s Museums Need to Know

Data for this report comes from two surveys. That pertaining to children’s museums’ collaborations with libraries was collected through the Spring 2023 ACM Member Collaborations survey. The dataset contains information from 59 member institutions. Data on library collaborations wi

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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

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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

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ACM Trends #6.3 Understanding Museums' Collaboration Goals

Data for this report was collected through a Spring 2023 ACM member survey on collaborations. The dataset contains information from 59 member institutions. Previous pandemic-era survey data on collaborations conducted during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic supported instrument se

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Please Touch Museum Kindergarten Readiness Program Fosters Preparation for New Adventures in Learning

With the waning weeks of the summer of 2023, children continue to make the most of every moment at Please Touch Museum (PTM) in Philadelphia. This is especially true for rising kindergarteners, who are getting ready to pack their backpacks, find their cubbies, and meet new friends. And the 80 chi

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ACM Information Brief on the Power of Play

  Play is a powerful experience that enriches people’s lives in museums, schools, homes, and beyond. In this latest ACM Informational Brief, The power of play in children’s museums and elsewhere, play is explained through the research-based benefits of play to c

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ACM and ASTC Jointly Publish 2023 Workforce Survey 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 an

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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 associ

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Young V&A Showcases how Children's Museums are Growing Quickly Across the Globe

With approximately 40 emerging museum ACM Members, we are thrilled to see more intentional and meaningful spaces for children’s museums coming together across the globe! This week, ACM Executive Director Arthur Affleck represents the association at the Grand Opening of Young V&A in Bethn

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ACM Trends #6.2 The ACM Data Hub: Understanding National Averages

Data for this report was drawn from publicly available IRS Form 990s posted on Candid and the ProPublica nonprofit look-up tools. Supplemental data was collected through the Spring 2022 ACM member survey. Since 2019, ACM and Knology have been working to create a data-based resour

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ACM Information Brief on Mental Health

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 compre

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Empowering the Next Generation of Climate Innovators

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9QYkXrstw4 Children’s museums are constantly responding to the current needs of the children and families in their communities, from health to academics to social issues, as seen in their exhibits, outreach, and programming. Children’s museums also fulfil

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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.

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Association of Children's Museums Collaborates with National Geographic

Arlington, VA (January 31)—The Association of Children's Museums (ACM) and National Geographic Media have announced a collaboration to offer exclusive benefits to children’s museums. ACM U.S. members will now have access to bulk discounts on Nat Geo Kids and Nat Geo Little Kids magazines as wel

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Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek Named “Great Friend to Kids”; to present at InterActivity 2023

Honor awarded during the Association of Children’s Museums InterActivity 2023 conference ARLINGTON, Va (3/27/23)—The Association of Children’s Museum (ACM) is thrilled to recognize and celebrate Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, PhD, as the recipient of the 2023 ACM Great Friend to Kids Award. Th

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Dr. Calvin Mackie Announced as Keynote Presenter at Association of Children’s Museums InterActivity 2023

STEM-NOLA founder and entrepreneur to present Today’s Tinkers are Tomorrow’s Inventors to hundreds of children’s museum professionals ARLINGTON, Va (3/27/23)—The Association of Children’s Museum (ACM) is delighted to announce Dr. Calvin Mackie as presenting keynote sp

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ACM Anniversary Blog

On March 1st, the Association of Children’s Museum (ACM) celebrated its 60th anniversary with a reception in Washington, D.C. Held at the Washington Plaza, the event followed Museums Advocacy Day and the ACM board meeting. Guests included member museums, allied associations, public s

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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 chi

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Museum Virtual Programming after COVID-19: Collaborating on possibilities for virtual museum programming in a post-pandemic world.

This post originally was published by Knology. Access the article here: Museum Virtual Programming after COVID-19 - Knology Children's museums responded to the COVID-19 shutdowns of 2020 and 2021 by developing new forms of programming, delivered through virtual platforms. At the pandemic's outset

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Value Pricing and the Cultivation of Public Trust

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 6.1, the first report in the sixth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. Members are the lifeblood of many children's museums. They are loyal patrons who trust museums to provide playful le

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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 mileston

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Tips for GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday, November 29th this year, reimagines the world as one founded upon generosity. The idea is simple but powerful: every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give. Now in its tenth year, GivingTuesday is a movement not just a moment on the calendar to enact kindness inc

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5 Ways Children’s Museums Have Said “We Can Do This”

Over the past five months, ACM partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the We Can Do This campaign to help increase the public confidence and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines among families and children. In just a short time, ACM shared critical updates and campaign infor

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Virtual Programming in Action: National Children’s Museum

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 5.4, the fourth report in the fifth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. For this ACM Trends Report, we invited staff from National Children’s Museum in Washington, DC, to write about the

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Key Concepts: Trust

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 5.3, the third report in the fifth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. This ACM Trends Report delves into the topic of trust, which is particularly important as museums reach out to new au

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Museum Summer Camps and COVID Safety

It is finally summer with school out of session and camp activities in full swing! Museum camps are one of the best places for children to spend their summers investigating, learning, and growing in a safe and educational environment. A crucial element of a great camp experience is keeping parents a

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New Hand to Hand: Communications 2022

The latest issue of Hand to Hand is all about Communications in 2022! Read each article on the ACM blog, and find the full issue PDF in the Hand to Hand Community on ACM Groupsite. This issue explores the different approaches children’s museums take to get their messages out and stay connected

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What Is a Communications Plan and Why Do I Need One?

This article is part of the "Communications 2022” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Maureen Wolsborn, Hamilton Place Strategies A communications plan is an organizational road map to ensure that your mission and message reach your community.

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In Search of Kindness: A Call to Action

This article is part of the "Communications 2022” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Mike Yankovich and Gretchen Kerr, Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus For nearly fifty years, the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

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Macro to Micro: Developing a Cohesive Social Media Strategy

This article is part of the "Communications 2022” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. Q&A with Jenny Holland, Director of Digital Strategy, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Mary Maher | Interviewer Former reporter turned content marketer

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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 n

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Social Media Communications Today: It’s the Wild West

This article is part of the "Communications 2022” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Amanda Sobczak, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum In the early spring of 2020, it’s likely that we all shared a similar feeling. Unlike many other businesses

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Responding to Public Reviews: Dos and Don’ts

This article is part of the "Communications 2022” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Kathleen Sandoval, San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum Thanks to cell phones and the internet, we are all connected in ways never before experienced. Whil

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TikTok Talk

This article is part of the "Communications 2022” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Keith Ostfeld and Henry Yau, Children’s Museum Houston For years, Children’s Museum Houston has been using social media to reach our audience for announce

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In Pursuit of an Online Audience: Using Stories to Cultivate a Community

This article is part of the "Communications 2022” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Rebecca Tucker Nall and Molly Noah, Mayborn Museum Complex Children’s museums are in a unique position on social media. Our direct audience is not there.

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Content Front and Center: Minnesota Children’s Museum Talks about Racism

This article is part of the "Communications 2022” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Bob Ingrassia, Minnesota Children’s Museum For more than forty years, kids and parents have appreciated Minnesota Children’s Museum as a playful place fo

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Museum Resources for Talking about Tragic Events with Children

Traumatic and tragic events in the news can deeply affect the children and families our field serves. As community resources and advocates for children, children’s museums serve the critical function of helping to build socioemotional supports for children and those who love and care for them.

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Museums and Pediatricians Are Key Partners on COVID-19 Vaccine Education

By Dr. Michael Yogman I may be a pediatrician, but it doesn’t take a doctor to know the last two years have been profoundly challenging for our nation’s children. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all areas of children’s lives, including canceled playdates and school closings—all exacerb

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Children’s Museum Leaders Play the Long Game at InterActivity 2022

WHAT  The Association of Children’s Museums will convene hundreds of leaders from children’s museums and supporting organizations to share knowledge and advocate for the field during its annual InterActivity conference, returning to an in-person convening for the first time since 2019. Hosted

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Parents & Caregivers Preferences for Virtual Programming

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 5.2, the second report in the fifth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. For this ACM Trends Report, we invited Scott Burg from Rockman et al to write about his team’s research during th

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PBS KIDS Named “Great Friend to Kids”

--Honor awarded during the Association of Children’s Museums’ annual InterActivity Conference-- ARLINGTON, VA (May 5, 2022)—The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) is thrilled to announce PBS KIDS as the recipient of the 2022 ACM Great Friend to Kids Award. The award will be accepted b

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Six Ways Museums Can Help Build Broader COVID Vaccine Confidence

ACM is proud to partner with We Can Do This, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 Public Education Campaign, to share critical information about the availability of COVID vaccines for children. In addition to the resources from the We Can Do This website below, ACM is prov

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The Expanding Role of Virtual Programming in Children’s Museums

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 5.1, the first report in the fifth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. Volume 4 of the ACM Trends Report series, Museums in a Pandemic, reported findings from regularly conducted surveys b

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ACM Partners with HHS’s We Can Do This Campaign

ARLINGTON, VA (March 22, 2022): Today, the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) announced its partnership with We Can Do This, the COVID-19 public education campaign of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). An international membership organization with 470 members in all 50 stat

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New Hand to Hand: Children’s Museums and Climate Change

The latest issue of Hand to Hand, “Children’s Museums and Climate Change” is now available! Read each article here on the ACM blog, and find the full issue PDF in the Hand to Hand Community on ACM Groupsite. This issue delves into how children’s museums are exploring climate-related issue

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Talk, Act, Hope: Pushing Together to Save Us from the Effects of Climate Change

This article is part of the “Children's Museums and Climate Change” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. A Conversation with Katharine Hayhoe, PhD, along with Jonathan Patz, MD Led by Brenda Baker, Madison Children’s Museum Noted atmospheric s

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Building a Climate of Hope

This article is part of the “Children's Museums and Climate Change” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Lisa Thompson, Natural History Museum of Utah | University of Utah A Climate of Hope is the working title we’ve adopted for a new exhi

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Science from the Past and for the Future: Learning from Indigenous Knowledge for Climate Change Adaptation

This article is part of the “Children's Museums and Climate Change” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Lauren Butcher and Rachel Zollinger, Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum How can we equip our children for climate change? On

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Seeing the Future and Taking Steps to Get There: Discovery Museum Acts on Its Commitment to Sustainability

This article is part of the “Children's Museums and Climate Change” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Neil Gordon, Discovery Museum The news about climate change, the environment, and the state of our planet is frightening and discouragin

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How to Engage a Community in Fire Season Education

This article is part of the “Children's Museums and Climate Change” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Chris White, The Discovery When I first moved out to Nevada from Maryland to join The Discovery team, one of the first phrases I had to

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Learning from Nature, Not Only about It

This article is part of the “Children's Museums and Climate Change” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. A Conversation with Billy Spitzer, executive director of the Hitchcock Center of the Environment in Amherst, Massachusetts, and Al DeSena, int

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Building Sustainability, Inside and Out

This article is part of the “Children's Museums and Climate Change” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Lance Cutrer, Museum of Discovery and Science The Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has embarked on a

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When to Begin? Early Memories Build the Foundation for Environmental Learning

This article is part of the “Children's Museums and Climate Change” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Charlie Trautmann, PhD, Cornell University Many children’s museums are thinking about whether to introduce the difficult but increasin

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For Our Children, the Planet, and Our Budgets: Museums Learn to Manage Energy

This article is part of the “Children's Museums and Climate Change” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Stephanie Shapiro and Sarah Sutton, Environment & Culture Partners Culture Over Carbon is a research project designed to improve the

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Climate Action Heroes in the Museum, Online, and Soon at Dulles Airport

This article is part of the “Children's Museums and Climate Change” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Langley Lease and Paige Childs, National Children’s Museum Engaging children and their families in a meaningful dialogue around clima

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Rebounding through Making and Tinkering

This article is part of the “Children's Museums and Climate Change” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Rachel Daigre, Cate Heroman, and Alexandra Pearson, Knock Knock Children's Museum In 2019, MakerEd, a nonprofit organization that brings

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Museums in a Pandemic: Confidence in Meeting Operational Needs

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.14, the final report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. This is the final report in the Museums in a Pandemic volume of the ACM Trends Report series. Since March 2020, the

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Museums in a Pandemic: Patterns in Fundraising

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.13, the thirteenth report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. Since May 2020, the ACM Trends Report team has tracked the impacts of the pandemic on children’s museums and

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Association of Children’s Museums Names Arthur Affleck New Executive Director

January 12, 2022 (ARLINGTON, VA)—The Board of Directors of the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) today announced Arthur Affleck as Executive Director, starting January 31, 2022. Following an extensive executive search, the Board unanimously selected Affleck to lead ACM, the world’s forem

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Announcing the interPLAY Project to Support STEM Skills for Early Learners in Children’s Museums and Science Centers

—Association of Children’s Museums and STEM Research Center at Oregon State University Partner on Four-Year National Science Foundation-Funded Project— ARLINGTON, VA (August 14, 2020)—The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) and the STEM Research Center at Oregon State University (OS

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Stand Back: Watching and Learning from Returning Families

This article is part of the “Inside the Curve: Business as (Not Quite) Usual” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Pam Hillestad, Glazer Children’s Museum I believe passionately in silver linings, but I have to admit that even my optimistic

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Gardens Grow, and So Do We

This article is part of the “Inside the Curve: Business as (Not Quite) Usual” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. Q&A with Liz Rosenberg, Chicago Children's Museum Before assuming her current role as Lead Arts Educator and Developer in June 2

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Welcome Back: Our People Have Missed You

This article is part of the “Inside the Curve: Business as (Not Quite) Usual” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Kerrie Vilhauer, Children’s Museum of South Dakota Following a fifteen-month closure, Dora Castano, custodian at the Children

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Think Big, Act Small: Innovation Principles and Process for Organizations in Recovery

This article is part of the “Inside the Curve: Business as (Not Quite) Usual” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Krishna Kabra, San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum Inventiveness and ingenuity are stimulated by difficulty. When the going

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Building the Plane As We Learn to Fly It

This article is part of the “Inside the Curve: Business as (Not Quite) Usual” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Hilary Van Alsburg, Children’s Museum Tucson | Oro Valley Who knew ramping up out of a pandemic would be as hard (or harder!)

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Intention and Resolve: Moving into a New Better

This article is part of the “Inside the Curve: Business as (Not Quite) Usual” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Kari Ross Nelson and Stephen Ashton, PhD, Thanksgiving Point Introduction Events of the past eighteen months have created opport

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Necessity: The Mother of Invention

This article is part of the “Inside the Curve: Business as (Not Quite) Usual” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. —Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark By Jonathan Zarov, Madiso

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The Good from Bad: Pandemic Silver Linings

This article is part of the “Inside the Curve: Business as (Not Quite) Usual” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Beth Shea, Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the staff of the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge (

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Centering DEAI in Staff Recruitment and Hiring

This article is part of the “Inside the Curve: Business as (Not Quite) Usual” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Angela Henderson, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Like many cultural institutions and recreational venues across the c

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Support Our Mission, Donate Crypto

This article is part of the “Inside the Curve: Business as (Not Quite) Usual” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Mary Maher, ED "If it’s currency, it can be donated,” concluded Adam Woodworth, executive director of The Children’s Mus

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New Hand to Hand: Inside the Curve: Business as (Not Quite) Usual

The latest issue of Hand to Hand, “Inside the Curve: Business as (Not Quite) Usual” is now available! Read each article here on the ACM blog, and find the full issue PDF in the Hand to Hand Community on ACM Groupsite. This issue presents stories of what museums have learned since the start of

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Hand to Hand: COVID-19: Stories from the Field

The latest issue of Hand to Hand, “COVID-19: Stories from the Field” is now available! You can read individual articles here on the ACM blog. ACM members can also find the full issue PDF in the Hand to Hand Community on ACM Groupsite. With articles written primarily in June and July of this

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The Founding of the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center – An Excerpt from International Thinking on Children in Museums

The following is an excerpt from “Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center … The gathering place – where East meets West” by Loretta Yajima. It is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in International Thinking on Children in Museums: A Sociocultural View of

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How Children’s Museums Can Leverage Relationship-Building for Fundraising Success

By Bob Harvey NOTE: I recently received a request to comment about fundraising during the COVID-19 experience, specifically around the topics of donor communication and cultivation strategies. I decided to use this request as an opportunity to speak with several of my current and former colleague

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Celebration Ideas to “Fall Back” on this Halloween

By Kayla Bowman, M.S., M.A.Ed. Fall celebrations might look different this year, but there are still plenty of fun ways to celebrate safely. If you need some tricks to add to your treat bag this Halloween, try these tips for a spook-tacular celebration with family and friends. 1. Have a Virtuall

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Museums in a Pandemic: Snapshot of Impacts in Fall 2020

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.5, the fifth report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. We have conducted two surveys since May 2020 to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting children’s muse

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What’s Different about This Picture: Laying the (New) Groundwork for Design

This article is part of the “Exhibit Planning in 2020” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Alissa Rupp, FAIA, Frame | Integrative Design Strategies When helping museum leaders lay the groundwork for good design, we talk about how to get a pro

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Exhibit Fabrication and Installation Challenges during COVID

This article is part of the “Exhibit Planning in 2020” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Cathlin Bradley, Kubik Maltbie, Inc. These days, it seems like every conversation begins with, “during these uncertain times,” and for good reaso

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Climate Action Heroes: New Museum Uses Small Exhibit to Create Broad Digital Experiences

This article is part of the “Exhibit Planning in 2020” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Langley Lease, National Children’s Museum After nearly twenty years without a permanent home, National Children’s Museum finally reopened its d

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Staying Out Front (While Behind-the-Scenes Exhibit Work Goes on)

This article is part of the “Exhibit Planning in 2020” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Sharon Vegh Williams, North Country Children’s Museum Like museums across the U.S., attendance at North Country Children’s Museum trickled, then

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Back to Basics: Shutdown Offers Time for Exhibit Upgrades and Reaffirmation

This article is part of the “Exhibit Planning in 2020” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Beth Whisman, Children’s Discovery Museum Walking through an empty children’s museum, it’s easy to spot the exhibits that need work. Finding the

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Two Museums and a Design Firm: Thinking about How We Design Exhibits Now

This article is part of the “Exhibit Planning in 2020” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. Developed by Kate Marciniec, Boston Children’s Museum In early 2020, as COVID-19 made its way across the globe, children’s museums c

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Creating the ‘Wow-Aha!’ Exhibit

This article is part of the “Exhibit Planning in 2020” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. An Interview with Paul Orselli, POW! Mary Maher, Editor/Interviewer For nearly forty years, Paul Orselli has worked to create inventive and playful museu

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A Novel Approach to Exhibit Interactives amid the Pandemic

This article is part of the “Exhibit Planning in 2020” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Melissa Pederson and Stephanie Eddleman, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis We want to be candid: this article may not be what you anticipated. We

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Creating a World Beyond This One

This article is part of the “Exhibits Planning in 2020” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Megan Dickerson, with Panca, The New Children’s Museum Sometimes, after a year like we’ve all had, you need to take a chunk of time to reflect.

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New Issue of Hand to Hand: Exhibit Planning in 2020

The latest issue of ACM’s quarterly journal, Hand to Hand, “Exhibit Planning in 2020: Thinking Now about Where We Hope to Be in the Future” is now available! Read each article on the ACM blog. ACM members can find the full issue PDF in the Hand to Hand Community on ACM Groupsite. Every a

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Museums in a Pandemic: Audience Experiences

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.6, the sixth report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology.  The ACM Trends Reports team has continued to study the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s museums.

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Museums in a Pandemic: Diversifying Funding Streams

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.7, the seventh report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology.  Since spring 2020, the ACM Trends Reports team has studied the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s

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Invitations to Learn and Play through Video: Practical Tips for Museum Professionals

By Kim Koin, Chicago Children’s Museum Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) closed its doors to the public in March 2020 to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Like many learning spaces, CCM needed to switch from in-person to online interactions to continue connecting with our community during the

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Conducting Research-to-Practice Work During a Pandemic: Utilizing Video and Zoom to Engage Families in Tinkering-At-Home

By Natalie Bortoli, Tsivia Cohen, and Kim Koin, Chicago Children’s Museum; Catherine Haden, Loyola University Chicago; David Uttal, Northwestern University When Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality of a prolonged closure soon hit hom

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Why Do We Need All This Office Space Now?

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Collette Michaud, Children’s Museum of Sonoma County The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County (CMOSC) closed to the public on March 13, 2020, and

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Museum Guild 2021

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Tara MacDougall, Discovery Center at Murfree Spring During pandemic pause and reset, four weeks into our closure to the public in April of 2020, we

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The Future of Work: Putting Pivots into Practice and Examining How We Support Staff

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Kyrstin Hill, Creative Discovery Museum For working parents of young children, finding quality, affordable, flexible childcare was already difficult

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An Ongoing Journey of Healing

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Julia Bland, Louisiana Children’s Museum Our venture into the world of mental health support began September 12, 2001 when I called Andy Ackerman,

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Cross-Institutional Study of Virtual Programming: What Do Parents Want Now?

By Scott Burg & Claire Quimby, Rockman et al Children’s museums need actionable data from audiences to plan virtual programs during this pandemic. However, few large-scale surveys gathering such data have been administered to date. At Rockman et al, a research and evaluation company based i

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The Future of Membership Programs

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. Q&A with Jane Greenthal, Project Coordinator, Harvard Business School Association of Northern California Community Partners Convened by the Lawrenc

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Welcoming the Neighbors

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Carol Tang, PhD, Children’s Creativity Museum Over the past few years, the Children’s Creativity Museum (CCM) has grown dramatically; both atten

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Building a Bigger Purpose

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Kerry Falwell, Explorations V Children’s Museum When the pandemic hit and local businesses here in Lakeland, Florida, began to close, Explorations

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Programs Multiply As Reach Expands

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Joe Cox, Museum of Discovery and Science Friday the 13th of March 2020 should have been the 25th Annual Bank of America Wine, Spirits & Culinar

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Expanding the Earned Income Menu: Camps, Seasonal Fun, Family Play

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Beth Fitzgerald, The Magic House The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum, opened in 1979. Our founders created an earned income driven organi

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Look and Listen: Taking a Chance on New Partnerships

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rest tends to stay at rest—unless an external force acts upon the object. —The Law of

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Supporting Children’s Learning When and How They Need it

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Patti Reiss, Mississippi Children’s Museum Mississippi Children’s Museum’s (MCM) Launch into Learning (LIL) program provides tutoring, aftersch

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Taking Science Learning to New Places and People

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Neil H. Gordon, The Discovery Museum From a professional point of view, responding to COVID-19 has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Ever

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Learning through and about Social Media

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By PAPALOTE Staff On March 16, 2020, after PAPALOTE closed our venues in Chapultepec in Mexico City, Cuernavaca, and Monterrey to visitors to help stop

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Doubling Down on DEI

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Dianne Krizan, Minnesota Children’s Museum In May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed under the knee of a police officer eleven miles from Minnesota

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Food Pantry Fulfills a Need and Opens a World of Possibilities

This article is part of the “Forged in Fire: New Models” issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Steve Long, Children’s Museum of the East End In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.” This adage aptly describes the Children’s M

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New Issue of Hand to Hand: Forged in Fire – New Models

The latest issue of Hand to Hand, “Forged in Fire: New Models” is now available! Read each article here on the ACM blog. ACM members can find the full issue PDF in the Online Member Resources Library. This issue of Hand to Hand shares stories from sixteen museums that have transformed their

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Museums Mobilize to Support Parents and Caregivers

The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly difficult for children and families. Whether caregivers are essential workers, working from home, or stay-at-home care providers, they have needed to navigate childcare and online or hybrid schooling in the midst of the extreme stress and isolation of the pa

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Museums Mobilize to Fight Food Insecurity during COVID-19

By March 19, 2020, all children’s museums in the U.S. had closed their doors to the public in response to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past year, children’s museums have innovated and transformed, creating new programs to support their communities and fill critical needs all whil

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Museums in a Pandemic: Social & Health Services Collaborations

The ACM Trends Reports team has continued to study the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s museums. To understand the situation, we conducted two surveys, the first in May 2020, and the second from September 24 to October 18, 2020. Overall, 96 US-based children’s museums participated

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Museums in a Pandemic: Snapshot of Impacts in Spring 2021

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.9, the ninth report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology.  The ACM Trends Report team has studied the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the children’s museum field since

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Museums in a Pandemic: Collaborations with Cultural Institutions

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.10, the tenth report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology.  The ACM Trends Report team has continued to study the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s museums. T

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Museums in a Pandemic: School & University Collaborations

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.11, the eleventh report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology.  The ACM Trends Report team has continued to study the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s museum

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Museums in a Pandemic: Personnel & Rebuilding Teams

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.12, the twelfth report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. Since May 2020, the ACM Trends Report team has tracked the impacts of the pandemic on children’s museums and t

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New Hand to Hand: The Power of We

The latest issue of Hand to Hand, “The Power of We: Local/Regional Support Networks Flourish” is now available! Read each article on the ACM blog, and find the full issue PDF in the Hand to Hand Community on ACM Groupsite. This issue shares stories from local and regional museum groups, rangi

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Northwest Association of Youth Museums: Regional Network Powerhouse

This article is part of the "The Power of We: Local/Regional Support Networks Flourish" issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Alissa Rupp, FAIA, FRAME | Integrative Design Strategies The strength of the association is not that it encourages museu

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Guerilla Networking: Connecticut Children’s Museums Organize to Pursue State Funding

This article is part of the "The Power of We: Local/Regional Support Networks Flourish" issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Jen Alexander, Kidcity Children’s Museum Amid all the unknowns since March 2020, I held fast to one constant: a standi

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Supporting Leaders | Building Healthy Organizations

An Interview with Darren Macfee, Museum Roundtable Facilitator This article is part of the "The Power of We: Local/Regional Support Networks Flourish" issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. Darren Macfee’s career began in fundraising as the director

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Hive Minds and Transient Networks

This article is part of the "The Power of We: Local/Regional Support Networks Flourish" issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Sam Dean, Scott Family Amazeum As we enter into what we all hope are the later stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, I find m

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Collaborate to Advocate: The Power of Collective Voice

This article is part of the "The Power of We: Local/Regional Support Networks Flourish" issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Michael McHorney, Children’s Museum of Eau Claire; Deb Gilpin, Madison Children’s Museum; Anne Snow, Children’s Museu

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Community Education Network Supports Children and Institutions during the Pandemic

This article is part of the "The Power of We: Local/Regional Support Networks Flourish" issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. By Rachel Carpenter, Children’s Discovery Museum; Hannah Johnson & Candace Summers, McLean County Museum of History; Shan

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Kindred Spirits: Q&A among Seven Regional Museum Networks

This article is part of the "The Power of We: Local/Regional Support Networks Flourish" issue of Hand to Hand. Click here to read other articles in the issue. Africa Play Network  •  NorCal Small Museum Cohort • Louisiana Children’s Museums  •  North Carolina Science Netwo

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Museums in a Pandemic: Impacts for Workforce and Audiences & Partners

Sharing ACM Trends Reports 4.3 and 4.4 from the Association of Children’s Museums and Knology ARLINGTON, VA (September 9, 2020)—The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) and Knology shared Volumes 4.3 and 4.4 of the ACM Trends Reports, “Museums in a Pandemic: Workforce Impacts” and

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ACM Launches “Museums Mobilize” to Highlight COVID-19 Responses

Campaign Tagline #MuseumsMobilize captures efforts ARLINGTON, VA (November 30, 2020)—The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) has launched Museums Mobilize, a new initiative to highlight how children’s museums around the world are supporting children and families during the COVID-19 pan

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Children’s Museums Mobilize to Serve Children and Families during COVID-19

Association of Children’s Museums’ “Museums Mobilize” Initiative Highlights Programming to Support Communities   ARLINGTON, VA (February 26, 2021)—Children’s museums around the world are offering programs to serve their communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Through its Museums Mobi

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Reflecting on One Year of the Pandemic for Children’s Museums and the Communities They Serve

Association of Children’s Museums’ “Museums Mobilize” Initiative Highlights Efforts from Past Year ARLINGTON, VA (March 18, 2021)—By March 19, 2020, all children’s museums in the U.S. had closed their doors to the public in response to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomorrow, March

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Museum Visits Top Three Million through Museums for All, an Access Program for SNAP Benefit Recipients

640+ Museums Participate in Offering Low/No Entrance Fee ARLINGTON, VA (May 24, 2021)—Museums for All, an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) initiative, has been instrumental in opening museum doors for 3,000,000 community members receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits since its

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Laura Huerta Migus Selected to Lead the Office of Museum Services at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

Larry Hoffer Named ACM Interim Executive Director ARLINGTON, VA (June 29, 2021)—Laura Huerta Migus, current Executive Director of the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), has been selected to lead the Office of Museum Services at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), beginnin

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Association of Children’s Museums to Partner on Communities for Immunity, Boosting Vaccine Confidence

ARLINGTON, VA (August 5, 2021)—The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) is proud to partner with Communities for Immunity, an unprecedented collaboration among museums and libraries to boost COVID-19 information and vaccine confidence in communities across the United States. Communities f

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Announcing the 2021 ACM Board of Directors Election Results

Association of Children’s Museums Announces New Roles for 2021 Term ARLINGTON, VA (October 5, 2021)—Today, the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) announced the results of its 2021 Board of Directors Election. Joe Hastings, Executive Director of Explora Science Center and Children's Mu

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Nothing Yet to Close: Emerging Museums Pause and Regroup

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. Emerging museums at all stages are now dealing with a host of interrelated problems based on the pandemic. Funding:  Those in capital campai

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The National Struggle with Unknowingness: Thoughts from a Facilities Director on Reopening

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 Luke Schultz After closing on March 13, Madison Children’s Museum (MCM) staff decided there were still too many pandemic unknown

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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 strategi

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Building Relationships through a Pandemic

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 Alix Tonsgard and Laura Diaz Building and maintaining trusting relationships is at the core of early education and care programs, w

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Working from Home for a Museum with No Visitors: Front-Line Staff Stories

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 Mary Maher On March 16, due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus, DISCOVERY Children’s Museum (DCM) in Las Vegas, Nevada, closed

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After I Hung Up…..

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. The Zoom call ends, the hangout disperses.  You sign off, then what?  What are the first thoughts that come to mind as you return to solo w

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Museums in a Pandemic: Impacts for Audiences & Partners

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.4, the fourth report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. Read other reports in this series: ACM Trends Report 4.1, “Snapshots of Impact,” ACM Trends Report 4.2, “Financial Impa

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Museums in a Pandemic: Workforce Impacts

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.3, the third report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. Read other reports in this series: ACM Trends Report 4.1, “Snapshots of Impact,” ACM Trends Report 4.2, “Financial Impa

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#InviteCongress for an August Visit

This post was written in collaboration with the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and is cross posted on the ASTC blog. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on children’s museums, science and technology centers and museums, natural history museums, and museum

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Reopening with Equity in Mind

Jump to a SectionOpportunities for Culturally Relevant Practice in Museums, Cultural Competence Learning InstituteEmbedding DEAI in Strategic Planning, High Desert MuseumThe Three Bears Model: Identifying Just Right Partnerships, Chicago Children's MuseumMobilizing Your Museum to Be a Resource for

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On the Physical Reopening of Children’s Museums

Children’s museums’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic was swift and responsible: to close their doors as soon as the threat posed to public health became clear. By March 19, all U.S. children’s museums and most around the world closed the doors to their physical facilities for the health and

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Museums in a Pandemic: Financial Impacts by Mid-May 2020

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.2, the second report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. Read other reports in this series: ACM Trends Report 4.1, “Snapshots of Impact,” ACM Trends Report 4.3, “Workforce Impa

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New Webinar Series Helps Museums Take Diversity and Inclusion Efforts from Intention to Action

This post was produced in collaboration with the Association of Science and Technology Centers. Museums across the country are navigating a critical moment: the urgent need to challenge systemic racism in our communities and institutions alongside the interconnected effects of the COVID-19

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A Note from the Editor

This article is part of the June 2020 issue of Hand to Hand, "Tightening Up: Streamlining Museum Operations." Click here to read other articles in this issue. By Mary Maher, Editor, Hand to Hand In June 2019, I met with ACM staff to plan topics for the coming year.  At the time, blips we

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Contingency Planning, Multiple Budget Scenarios, and Creative Operating Models: Then, Now, and Always

This article is part of the June 2020 issue of Hand to Hand, "Tightening Up: Streamlining Museum Operations." Click here to read other articles in this issue. By Patty Belmonte, Hands On Children’s Museum Give us a snapshot of Hands On Children’s Museum in 2008. In 2008, with 116,000 a

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Operating in Five Locations Since Opening in 2006 Has Taught Us Flexibility

By Lisa Van Deman and Melanie Hatz Levinson, Kidzu Children’s Museum This article is part of the June 2020 issue of Hand to Hand, "Tightening Up: Streamlining Museum Operations." Click here to read other articles in this issue. Describe your museum in 2008 (size, location, years in operatio

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Positioning for Growth: Thanksgiving Point Restructures to Ensure Long-Term Sustainability

This article is part of the June 2020 issue of Hand to Hand, "Tightening Up: Streamlining Museum Operations." Click here to read other articles in this issue. By Stephen Ashton, PhD, Gary Hyatt, Lorie Millward, and Mike Washburn,Thanksgiving Point A Note to the Reader: Most of this article wa

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AMI: What We Learned about Data— Collecting It, Analyzing It, Using It

Q&A with Jane Bard, CEO, Children’s Museum of New Hampshire This article is part of the June 2020 issue of Hand to Hand, "Tightening Up: Streamlining Museum Operations." Click here to read other articles in this issue. The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire was one of six New England

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Navigating with Knowledge: Using Data Strategically to Maximize Impacts and Benefits

This article is part of the June 2020 issue of Hand to Hand, "Tightening Up: Streamlining Museum Operations." Click here to read other articles in this issue. By John W. Jacobsen with Laura Roberts, David Ellis, George Hein, and Lynn Baum The crucible of a crisis provides the opportunity to f

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From Protests to Virus: Operational Changes with An Eye on Survival

This article is part of the June 2020 issue of Hand to Hand, "Tightening Up: Streamlining Museum Operations." Click here to read other articles in this issue. By Serena Fan, Hong Kong Children’s Discovery Museum After almost three years of planning, Hong Kong Children’s Discovery Museum (

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Thriving (in a Downturn)

This article is part of the June 2020 issue of Hand to Hand, "Tightening Up: Streamlining Museum Operations." Click here to read other articles in this issue. By Charlie Trautmann, Sciencenter As with all of the contributions to this issue of Hand to Hand, the text of this article was writt

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Announcing the Operations Issue of Hand to Hand

In light of the extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest issue of Hand to Hand, “Tightening Up: Streamlining Museum Operations,” will be published online rather than printed. You can read the issue in full here on the ACM blog, and also find the PDF in ACM's Onlin

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Museum Resources for Talking about Racism with Children

Please contact ACM to add your children’s museum's resources to this list. Demonstrations continue to unfold around the world calling for an end to racist systems that oppress Black people and people of color. As institutions with a responsibility to the children and families in thei

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Museums in a Pandemic: Snapshot of Impacts

This post was originally published as ACM Trends Report 4.1, the first report in the fourth volume of ACM Trends Reports, produced in partnership between ACM and Knology. Read other reports in this series: ACM Trends Report 4.2, “Financial Impacts by Mid-May 2020,” ACM Trends Report 4.3, “W

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A Letter to the Field

This post was first sent to the Association of Children's Museums (ACM) membership as a Letter to the Field on June 1, 2020. Children’s museums were born of the education reform movement in the early 1900s as a way to support children’s learning through play. Since then, children’s m

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Children’s Museums Respond to the Death of George Floyd and Ongoing Demonstrations

Starting in late May, demonstrations have unfolded throughout the United States—and around the world—in response to the death of George Floyd, seeking an end to racist systems that oppress Black people and people of color. Children’s museums have a responsibility to the children and famili

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Reopening with Equity in Mind: Opportunities for Culturally Relevant Practice in Museums

This post was produced in collaboration with the Association of Science and Technology Centers. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, museums—like so many other institutions and sectors—are being asked to reimagine themselves: Will hands-on exhibits ever be the same? When and how can we reope

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How Museums Are Helping Keep Essential Workers Safe

This post was produced in collaboration with the Association of Science and Technology Centers. Children’s museums and science centers have overwhelmingly closed in response to COVID-19. While museums can no longer welcome visitors, they are leveraging their facilities, knowledge, and communi

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Conversations with Children’s Museum Leaders around COVID-19

The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) held a series of three hour-long CEO Calls, sponsored by Blackbaud, on March 24, 25, and 26, 2020. These calls provided a space for ACM to connect with children’s museum executive leadership—and for leaders to connect with each other—in the afterm

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Children's Museum Virtual Activities

Update: ACM has launched Children's Museums at Home, a searchable database sharing virtual programming from more than 240 children's museums around the world! This post will no longer be updated—please see Children's Museums at Home for an up-to-date listing of children's museum virtual activiti

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Museum Strategies for Event Cancellation, Rescheduling, and Refunds

By Elissa K. Miller As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, children’s museums, science-technology centers, and other cultural and educational attractions are facing unprecedented challenges in every aspect of operations. After your team meets the most urgent physical safety requirements and addre

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ACM Resources to Help Guide Your Museum’s Response to Coronavirus

Check out our updated COVID-19 Resources on the ACM website (Updated March 26, 2020) . In recognition of the global response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) recommends the following actions to children’s museums to guide their rapid response to this

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What Do You Love about Your Children’s Museum?

There are more than 300 children’s museums in the world serving millions of families, but each one is unique. We know that children’s museums are joyful spaces for learning and play, but they are much more than just places to visit. In fact, all children’s museums—regardless of size —fun

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Five Ways Children’s Museums Can Participate in Endangered Species Day

By David Robinson The fifteenth annual Endangered Species Day on May 15, 2020 provides children’s museums with an opportunity to highlight their educational/other programs while also recognizing this nationwide celebration. First approved by the U.S. Senate in 2006, the purpose of Endangere

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Playing Together: Engaging Part-Time Floor Staff in Co-Creating the Museum

The following post appears in the latest issue of Hand to Hand, ACM’s quarterly journal. By Rebecca Shulman Herz and Kristin Vannatta This article appears in the most recent issue of Hand to Hand. About a year ago, I spoke to Janice O’Donnell, former director of Providence C

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Children's Museums and Nutrition

Each year, UNICEF releases a report on the State of the World’s Children, and this year, its focus was The Changing Face of Malnutrition. This report highlights the global challenges of undernutrition, hidden hunger, and overweight—challenges recognized by our field, as seen in ACM’s Good to

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Disaster Resources for Children's Museums to Share with Families

The children’s museum field has a long history of stepping up to support their communities in times of need. We’re heartened by the strength of California children’s museums as they offer children and families a retreat for playful learning to families affected by widespread fires in the stat

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Be Inclusive, Be Included: Participate in the National Landscape Study on DEAI Practices in Museums

By Jenni Martin Children’s museums, because of our unique focus on audience rather than content, are often at the forefront of innovative museum practice around diversity, equity, access, and inclusion (DEAI). Our roots are deeply embedded in our communities, and our institutional goals focus

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How Caregivers See Learning Happen in Children’s Museums

By Jennifer Rehkamp Children’s museums are known for being joyful spaces where children can learn through play—and more than just fun places to visit. The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) defines a children’s museum as a nonprofit educational and cultural institution committ

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What Is A Children's Museum?

By Laura Huerta Migus Children’s museum professionals face a unique challenge in the museum field: people often ask us, “What is a children’s museum?” Children’s museums have led the way in so many important trends in the museum community: a focus on using objects, hands-on

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7 Effective Ways to Increase Revenue for Education Programs

By Elissa K. Miller, M.Ed. Even though outsiders may think it’s an oxymoron for a nonprofit museum to earn revenue, all nonprofits must bring in money to support their missions. It’s a wise practice for museum education departments to increase revenue and reduce overhead so that more funds

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Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

By Amelia Chapman This summer’s 50th anniversary of humans first setting foot on the Moon is a celebration of exploration, teamwork, innovation, imagination, STEM, and discovery—topics embraced by children’s museums every day. Use NASA’s free resources to join in the anniversary ex

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11 Mascots from the Children's Museum Field

Many children’s museums around the world have mascots that represent their museum’s mission, history, and sense of fun. We talked to eleven ACM members about what their mascots mean to them.  Sparky the Art Dog at Buell Children's Museum (Pueblo, CO) When Buell Children’s Museum

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Museums Advocacy Day: Mr. Shanklin Goes to Washington!

This post first appeared on Kidspace Children's Museum's blog on March 19, 2019. By Michael Shanklin Museums Advocacy Day 2019 took place February 25-26 in Washington, DC. A new Congress convened facing an enormous list of timely policy debates, including support for museums. In the

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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

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Museum Schools: Laboratories for Playful Learning

The following post appears in the January 2019 issue of Hand to Hand, ACM’s quarterly journal.  By Ruth G. Shelly Museums that run preschools or elementary schools often have more than just physical walls separating these operations. Museums and schools have vastly different schedules, re

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Celebrating Endangered Species Day at Children’s Museums

By David Robinson Exhibit and education coordinators and other children’s museum staff often face a challenging assignment: creating an exhibit or activity that captures the interest of young people and offers a positive learning experience. The 14th annual Endangered Species Day on May 17,

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Children’s Museums Offer Free Admission to Furloughed Employees

The recent partial federal government shutdown was the longest in U.S. history, with 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working without pay. Many ACM members around the country offered discounted and free admission to families affected by the shutdown. This list has been updated as of 11:00 a

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Defining Play: Practical Applications

Led by the Association of Children’s Museums and the University of Washington’s Museology Graduate Program, the Children’s Museum Research Network (CMRN) formed in 2015 with funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. For the past year, CMRN has contributed an article to ea

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Results from a Study of Play in U.S. Children’s Museums

Led by the Association of Children's Museums and the University of Washington's Museology Graduate Program, the Children's Museum Research Network (CMRN) formed in 2015 with funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. For the past year, CMRN has contributed an article to each iss

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Children’s Museums Reopen After Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence made landfall on Friday, September 14, near Wilmington, NC. The effects have been devastating for many in the Carolinas and Virginia, and our hearts go out to all those affected. There are dozens of children’s museums in the states most affected by Hurricane Florence, and man

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Four Low-Cost/No-Cost Member Benefits

By Elissa K Miller, M.Ed. For many families, the decision to purchase a museum membership is based on a value calculation: are the benefits of membership greater than the cost? To increase the perceived value of memberships, many children’s museums are exploring options beyond the standard “fre

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Celebrating National Summer Learning Day

National Summer Learning Day is less than one month away! Led by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), July 12 is a national advocacy day promoting summer learning—and fighting summer slide. This year marks the first joint celebration of National Summer Learning Day, a partnership betwe

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32 Years and 25 Linear Feet of Hand To Hand

This post first appeared on Jeanne Vergeront's Museum Notes blog on May 23, 2018.  By Jeanne Vergeront During InterActivity 2018 in Raleigh (NC), tables stretched across the convention center lobby. Over the 4 days of the conference, participants, presenters, and vendors moved around the tables l

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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 num

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Leveraging Museum Software for Successful Programs

By David Mimeles You’ve already got an amazing program in place. Your community shows up in force to learn and have fun. Even better, parents and children alike love to attend your programming! As a professional, though, you know that no matter how successful your program is, it’s useful to pe

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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

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Participatory Museums as Peacebuilders: The Case of Rodadora in Ciudad Juárez

by Isabel Diez How do you design a museum that seeks to sustain peace in a city once described as the most dangerous place in the world? When Sietecolores was entrusted such a task, the only answer we found was to involve the community throughout the entire development process—and beyond. From 2

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The New Nature Movement: An Interview with Richard Louv

The following post is condensed from an interview appearing in the latest issue of Hand to Hand, ACM's quarterly journal. The interview was conducted by Mary Maher, editor of Hand to Hand. In 2006, Richard Louv delivered a keynote address at InterActivity held that year in Boston. He had recently

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Eco Boys and Girls Celebrate ISCSMD

This post first appeared on the International Science Center & Science Museum Day Blog on October 3, 2017. The post is shared in partnership with Eco Boys and Girls. By Sophia Collas and Maria Snyder Eco Boys and Girls joins with the Association of Science-Technology Centers to celebrate the 2

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Children's Museums Affected by Hurricane Irma

[Post updated September 19] Our hearts go out to all those affected by Hurricane Irma, as well as those still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. We're happy to report that several ACM members affected by the storm will reopen their doors on Wednesday, September 13. Some museums are already open, w

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Children's Museums Reopen After Harvey

Several ACM members in the Gulf Coast region of Texas were directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey this past week. We're happy to report that many of these museums are already open and providing a safe and fun place for families to play in this difficult time. The Children's Museum of the Brazos Val

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ACM Harvey Relief Fund

In response to the ongoing damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, ACM is establishing the ACM Harvey Response Fund to assist the staff and families of our members affected by the storm. ACM members Galveston Children's Museum, The Woodlands Children's Museum, Children's Discovery Museum o

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Answering Questions about the ACM Trends Reports

In June 2017, ACM partnered with New Knowledge Organization to release the first six ACM Trends Reports. This first volume, which will consist of 12 reports total, draws from a decade of ACM member data, including survey responses from 2004-2012. This is the first time ACM has been able to look at a

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Eclipnics, Planet Painting, and Other Ways to Celebrate the Total Solar Eclipse

This August holds an exciting surprise for children (and most adults!) across America: a total solar eclipse! August 21st will mark the first total solar eclipse to occur all across the continental United States since 1918. Leading up to and during the eclipse, children's museums across the country

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Does Digital Technology Belong in Children’s Museums?

Does digital technology belong in children’s museum exhibits? This question draws enthusiastic responses…and more lukewarm ones. In “From Cautious to Pragmatic: Wrestling with the Issues,” a recent article in Hand to Hand, museum director and blog author Rebecca Shulman Herz and IT manager a

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Celebrating Childhood and Serving Immigrant Children

By Felipe Peña III The role of a children’s museum is to provide a safe and fun place for families to play, learn, and enjoy time together. As executive director of the Children’s Museum of Brownsville, I am reminded of this every day. But what happens when new people arrive in your town? How

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Announcing the ACM Trends Reports

What stories and trends do a decade of ACM member data reveal?  To find out, ACM has partnered with New Knowledge Organization Ltd. (NKO) to launch a series of 12 trends reports about the children's museum field. The ACM Trends Reports series analyzes 10 years of ACM member data to highlight

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Immigration Tools and Resources

ACM's research for 90 Days of Action shows that more than 75 percent of our members are looking for ways to engage immigrant and refugee communities. If that describes your institution, we recommend checking out "USCIS Tools and Resources" on Thursday, March 23, from 2:00–3:00 p.m. EST. This webi

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Take Part in 90 Days of Action

On February 7, 2017, ACM launched 90 Days of Action, a campaign celebrating the important role children’s museums play in welcoming immigrant and refugee children and families. We’re thrilled with the early results of our research into what children's museums are already doing to serve divers

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Children's Museums and the Climate Crisis

On September 20, in support of youth voices and in recognition of the challenges our society faces, ACM shared the ACM Climate Crisis and Resiliency Task Force Statement, with a preliminary draft action plan. This statement is the latest in a suite of work from the ACM Board of Directors' 

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Small Town Dreams Big

The following post appears in the latest issue of Hand to Hand, ACM’s quarterly journal. By Sharon Vegh Williams, PhD This article appears in the most recent issue of Hand to Hand. The North Country Children’s Museum is located in Potsdam, New York, a remote, rural, low-income com

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STEM in Children’s Museums

The following post appears in the latest issue of Hand to Hand, ACM’s quarterly journal. By Charlie Trautmann, PhD, and Janna Doherty The most recent issue of Hand to Hand focuses on all things STEM. STEM exhibits. STEM programs. STEM events. We hear a lot about children’s museums a

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Finding Common Ground at Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

By Jenni Martin These days, it seems the national conversation is about how we need to have more honest and truthful conversations that acknowledge our different perspectives, honor our various experiences, and build bridges for understanding and healing, so that we can find common ground. Childre

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Spotlight on Satellite Museums: The Children's Museum of the Upstate

The following post appears in the latest issue of Hand to Hand, ACM’s quarterly journal. The article is a case study of The Children's Museum of the Upstate (TCMU) in Greenville, SC, and its satellite museum, TCMU-Spartanburg. The Q&A was conducted between Mary Maher, editor of Hand to Hand,

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Prescription for Play: What Science Says About the Importance of Play for Children and Families

Thank you to everyone who joined us for "Prescription for Play: What Science Says About the Importance of Play for Children and Families" on Monday, November 19, 2018. In collaboration with Boston Children's Museum, this was the Association of Children's Museums' first-ever webinar geared toward bot

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Reflecting on the First Volume of ACM Trends Reports

We have completed the first volume of the ACM Trends Reports! As we reflect back on our inaugural volume, we would like to discuss some key highlights the reports have unveiled that are relevant to both ACM and the field. (For those who have not read the reports, we are hoping this will inspire you

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Helping Busy Parents Support Their Kids’ Brain Development

The following post appears in the latest issue of Hand to Hand, ACM’s quarterly journal.  By Bezos Family Foundation [caption id="attachment_768" align="alignright" width="249"] Read the full article as a PDF[/caption] In today’s time-strapped world full of countless obligations and distrac

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Welcome to the ACM Blog!

“The Run Around” is the official blog by the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), sharing the latest news for and about children’s museums. Its goal is to disseminate key Association updates with our stakeholders, as well as uplift the collective knowledge of our field. Articles should b

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