City Awake Advisory Board Member, Brenna Richardson, shares how the Boston Children’s Museum has helped families weather a time of much uncertainty, the best way they know how – through the power of play.
If you venture into Boston’s Seaport District by way of the Congress Street or Seaport Boulevard bridges, you are welcomed by Boston Children’s Museum, a 107-year-old celebration of childhood, learning, and play. Bookmarked by Martin Richard’s Park and the iconic Hood Milk Bottle, over 550,000 children, parents, grandparents, educators, researchers, and caregivers visit our Museum each year. For generations, our Museum has provided a safe, welcoming space for families to connect, play, and enjoy first experiences of music, culture, and performing arts together. The power of play is strong, and it has propelled our institution for over 100 years.
The number one reason I love going to work each day is not playful exhibits, not our whimsical programs, and not even our Museum’s reputation as a well-loved and historic Boston institution. I am passionate about working at Boston Children’s Museum because of the people – those who I work with, and those children and families we serve. Truly the best of Boston, I am privileged to work with such a dynamic and passionate staff, who each day work tirelessly to provide joyful learning experiences for all visitors. Serving children and families is our Museum’s investment into a bright future for Boston, and not a responsibility we take lightly. We understand that with each visit, a family, school, or community center is investing their precious time and resources in order to ensure a brighter future for our next generation. In turn, we are committed to being there to support families in times of joy, and in times of crisis.
Currently, we are living in what has been described as “a new normal.” Families across our city, country, and world are facing extraordinary challenges with job and wage loss, adapting to working and learning at home, stresses around isolation, and the many health care unknowns surrounding a rapidly spreading virus.
As our team has shifted to working remotely and adjusting to rules of social distancing, a quote that has been circulated recently by our staff and to our Museum community is by a true advocate of children and childhood, Mister Fred Rogers.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." - Mister Fred Rogers
We truly cannot thank front line helpers enough. Each day, first responders, health care workers, grocery and pharmacy workers, all delivery personnel and more are leaving their families to face countless unknowns to fight to keep the rest of us healthy and nourished. We are so proud of and grateful for our city and state leaders, who are making countless difficult decisions each day in order to keep us safe.
While we are not on the front lines, I am proud to be part of an organization that is seeking to help alleviate some of the stress families are facing at this difficult time. As a member of our Museum Development Team, I appreciate first hand the incredible impact the support of our members, donors, and corporate sponsors has on our organization. At this time, we feel more than ever it is our duty to help our museum families, supporters, and the Greater Boston community. By providing at-home activities, digital learning resources, and Museum programming via social media, Boston Children’s Museum seeks to help families weather this storm the best way we know how – through the power of play.
Photo courtesy of Weymouth Designs
Boston Children’s Museum At-Home – Tips & Resources for Families
1. Keep Calm and Play On – Play is instrumental for childhood brain development, building confidence, and refining gross motor skills, and at times of high stress it is imperative help alleviate anxiety for both a child and their caregiver. We have listed our favorite 100 Ways to Play to give new ideas of ways to enjoy time at home together.
2. Keep a Schedule – Whether on the clock at work or at school, schedules help provide structure and promote productivity. Help ease the chaos of the work/school/home environment by setting up designated workspaces and by sticking to a schedule for meals, walks, breaks, and play. Incorporate responsibilities for your child including feeding a pet or making their bed, to give them further pride in having a productive day.
Photo courtesy of Weymouth Designs
3. Engage New Ideas – With entertainment limited to your home and backyard, get creative with new ideas to lift spirits and have fun. Visit the Museum’s Beyond the Chalkboard site and sign up for our Daily Activities Email for new ideas of ways to have joyful discovery moments at home.
4. Missing your favorite museum? We miss you, too! While we're working hard to prepare for reopening on July 22, you can visit our site to take a Virtual Tour of the Museum and follow along on our Facebook and Instagram pages to access Museum programs and activities that our staff members are uploading daily!
5. We are here for you! Boston Children’s Museum applauds all parents and caregivers who are teaching at home and all educators who are teaching from afar. We are here to help! Visit our Play and Learning Resources site to access countless pages of resources for families and educators.
Our entire team at Boston Children’s Museum sends best wishes to the Greater Boston community for good health, safety, and levity through play. We look forward to seeing you again in the Seaport soon.
Development Manager, Campaign and Annual Fund
Boston Children's Museum