(BOSTON, MA) February 6, 2013, Boston Children’s Museum, one of the oldest and most influential children’s museums in the world, today kicks off its centennial by announcing an array of events and programs to take place in 2013. The Museum is taking the occasion of the 100th birthday to launch “The Power of Play”, a new campaign featuring the importance of play in the healthy development of children. The Museum has also unveiled a new website, www.BostonChildrensMuseum.org, a robust resource for parents, educators and Museum visitors.
In its centennial year, Boston Children’s Museum will convene academic, medical, community, arts, science, business, and educational partners in a series of events designed to promote early childhood education and support the role of play in the lives of children and families.
The science of brain development provides concrete evidence that there is real power in play. Play helps children develop key skills that serve as a foundation for life-long success, including critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and collaboration. These skills are highly valued in a world that is increasingly complex, competitive, and interconnected.
“We believe play is critical to helping children access their imagination, creativity, and curiosity,” said Carole Charnow, President and CEO of Boston Children’s Museum. “Here at the Museum, active, hands-on play allows children to become the agent of their own learning, building confidence and laying the foundation for a life of learning and achievement.”
To promote learning through play in its 100th year, Boston Children’s Museum challenges parents, family members, and educators to dedicate at least 100 hours to unstructured play with their children this year. As inspiration, the Museum is offering a list of 100 ways to play, as well as other resources that will be available on its website and Facebook page.
Boston Children’s Museum has been committed to optimizing child development since its founding in 1913. With support from local museums, members of Boston’s Teachers’ Bureau founded the Museum with the goal of nourishing children’s minds to make them better citizens. In the 1960s, Boston Children’s Museum Director Michael Spock pioneered the concept of hands-on, client-focused exhibits—it was the first museum to eliminate all “do not touch” signs. Today, the Museum continues to promote hands-on learning and calls on adult caregivers to play alongside their children.
“Boston Children’s Museum has served as a cultural icon in the City of Boston for generations and has enriched the lives of thousands of Boston’s residents, tourists, and most importantly, its children,” Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “I am proud of the Museum’s history and look forward to its future as the Museum embraces the important role of play in early childhood development.”
“Boston Children’s Museum is among the finest museums in the nation because it is innovative and relevant in a rapidly changing world," said Janet Rice Elman, executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums. "Within the children’s museum field, Boston Children’s Museum continues to demonstrate its leadership by embracing change and fearlessly reimagining its museum experiences and the value it brings to the community."
The Museum’s centennial events will take place throughout 2013 with celebrations in the Museum and community focusing on issues in early childhood development.
Key events marking the 100th birthday celebration include:
- April 5: Early Childhood Summit 2013: Innovation and Opportunity at the Federal Reserve Bank
Boston Children’s Museum will co-sponsor the Early Childhood Summit 2013 with the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University, and Strategies for Children. Leaders from the fields of pediatrics, education, business, children’s museums, and public policy will discuss the new era in the science of early childhood development, highlight innovative and effective programs, and explore cross-sector practice and policy implications.
- April 6: Family Fest at Boston Children’s Museum
Co-sponsored by WGBH, the Museum will host the Family Fest, a day-long Museum-wide festival full of music, arts, science, multicultural, and health and nutrition activities, all featuring the power of play in enhancing children’s learning.
- April to October: 100 Years of Play
Vibrant public programs will connect Boston Children’s Museum’s past with the present and future through thematic activities including imagination, friendship, exploration, and curiosity.
- August 2: Boston Children’s Museum’s Birthday Party!
With support from the Highland Street Foundation, Boston Children’s Museum will celebrate its birthday with free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- October 4-6: The Power of Play Gala Weekend
The Museum will host a weekend of activities to engage the community in the power of play.
- October 4, 5-9 p.m. – A huge community dance party for one and all, featuring performances and demonstrations by talented dancers.
- October 5 and 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. – A festival of music, visual and performing arts, science activities, Kids Olympics, and a children’s gala.
- October 5, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – The Birthday Ceremony around Fort Point Channel. An evening of surprises and delight, sound and light, participation and performance. The Boston Children’s Chorus will sing an original piece in honor of the anniversary. An enormous inflatable birthday cake will be towed into the Fort Point Channel just in time for everyone to sing happy birthday and blow out the candles.
- October 5 – Centennial Gala at the Intercontinental Hotel honoring Mayor Menino.
Boston Children’s Museum extends special thanks to Centennial Lead Sponsors Highland Street Foundation and State Street Corporation and to Supporting Sponsors Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and New Balance Foundation.