How can museums change the world? Here’s an invitation to rise to one compelling challenge—helping our communities raise a generation of healthy, active kids.
The American Association of Museums (AAM) is working with the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) and the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) to create Let’s Move Museums and Gardens as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative. Let’s Move rallies groups from all sectors of society—professional chefs, schools, faith-based organizations—to solve the problem of obesity within a generation. I believe that museums can help ensure that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.
Working with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), AAM, ACM and APGA have submitted a proposal to the White House to include Let’s Move Museums and Gardens as part of the nationwide campaign. The response so far is very positive, and we’ll meet soon with representatives from IMLS and the Obama administration.
To prepare for this meeting, we’ve been asked for a headcount of how many museums and gardens are interested in signing on for the campaign, so I’m using today’s blog post to ask if your garden/museum is interested in becoming an early adopter of Let’s Move Museums and Gardens.
Let’s Move museums and gardens will be those committed to advancing recommendations found in the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President in five key areas:
- Early Childhood: an example might be that museums and gardens will have exhibit spaces where children can be physically active and learn about the appropriate amount of physical activity vs. daily time spent using electronics.
- Empowering Parents and Caregivers: an example might be that museums and gardens have programs or exhibits that help families learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy food choices and the impact those choices can make; or have cafes or restaurants that offer healthy choices for all ages.
- Access to Healthy Affordable Food: an example might be that museums and gardens offer programs for children and families on how to grow, harvest and cook healthy, organic food.
- Increasing Physical Activity: an example might be that museums and gardens provide inside and outside spaces and programs that use principles of universal design to create experiences that enable children and adults of all abilities to enjoy active engagement in exhibits and programs.
These are just a few examples of the types of programs that many of you already have in place that would be consistent with the recommendations in the report. By expressing your interest in becoming an early adopter, you are expressing your interest in becoming part of this future national effort; you’re NOT making a commitment of time or resources at this time. When the White House approves our proposal, we will have a more formal process for museums and gardens to make an official commitment, and you’ll have the opportunity to formally join the campaign.
You can help launch Let’s Move Museums and Gardens by expressing your interest in becoming part of this future national effort. Tell us your organization is interested in being involved by following this link. Please respond by March 15.
Stay tuned for more details as the project takes shape. I hope you are interested in joining this national effort to address one of the most pressing issues of our time.