Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Play Project

In a recent post about "Smaller IS Better" I asked for suggestions of museums doing innovative things in remote or smaller outposts, that normally don't get recognized. Megan Fischer from Providence Children's Museum, wrote to tell me about her museum's Play Power project.

Here's what Megan had to say:

Last fall, Providence Children's Museum opened Play Power, an exhibit celebrating the power of children's play. We've always talked to our visitors about the importance of play, but we made the message more deliberate with this exhibit - through labels (paper & video), a parent resource area & sheet, supporting programs, and more. We've included our play message in all we do - all print materials, e-newsletter, including PlayWatch (stories observed & reported by Museum staff & volunteers) in our newsletter.

We've also been doing a lot of outreach/advocacy work to get the message out beyond the Museum's walls:

• using our blog to link to articles & resources and give a behind-the-scenes look at the interesting things staff are doing & talking about.

• partnering with other local organizations to host community screenings of "Where Do The Children Play?" - a documentary about kids' lack of time & space for play, especially outdoors (click here for blog follow up to the most recent event)

• and just last month, launching a listserv that grew from the screenings - "PlayWatch: Connecting the Community to Promote Children's Play."

We've been able to bring together a lot of people who are having similar conversations to ours and the connections are great & growing. Up next - hoping to schedule a series informal community conversations, about various play & parenting topics that have come up on our listserv. I'm sending out a survey this week to find out what people are most interested in talking about.

Thanks to Megan and her colleagues for sharing their thoughtful approaches to advocating for play both inside and outside their museum.

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