The Providence Children’s Museum has been awarded one of 60 IMLS Inspire! Grants for Small Museums to expand and enhance its Cultural Connections program for two years. Inspire!, a special initiative of the Institute for Library and Museums Services’ Museums for America grant program, was designed to reduce the application burden on small museums and help them address priorities identified in their strategic plans.
PCM’s Cultural Connections brings diverse arts and humanities organizations from across Rhode Island to the museum on a monthly basis to enhance their work with young children and families. Arts organizations have the opportunity to work with museum staff on translating their content into family-friendly presentations and to co-develop in-depth learning opportunities and events. As the cultural and creative center for children in Southern New England, PCM is perfectly positioned to partner with local creative organizations to provide child-centric experiences for children and their families.
“As the first stop on a child’s creative pathway, PCM has a tremendous opportunity to create a love of the arts in the next generation,” says Caroline Payson, Executive Director. “Whether we inspire the next Lin-Manuel Miranda or Georgia O’Keefe, PCM knows the importance that children have exposure to their potential through the arts.”
By tapping into PCM’s team of experts in child development, arts and cultural organizations will learn how to create accessible experiences and open doors to new audiences of young children.
“Early exposure to the arts and humanities brings joy to families and children and sets the stage for a lifetime of appreciation of the arts. It also enhances children’s confidence in their own self-expression and inspires a lifetime of learning,” said U.S. Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. “These funds will help PCM expand its reach children and increase learning opportunities for more children and families.”
The Cultural Connections program is a component of PCM’s Creativity Initiative, PCM’s groundbreaking three-year project that seeks to connect all children to Rhode Island’s creative community. The Initiative includes a series of rotating exhibits developed in collaboration with local creatives and provides opportunities for families to engage with immersive environments.
Although closed to the public since March 13, PCM continues to provide activities and resources through their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram handles at no cost to users. Museum educators share activities that bring PCM home to children and their caregivers; resources have included expert lectures from a childhood grief and mental health specialists, as well as guidance on speaking to children about racism, activism, and violence.
The Museum plans to open to smaller groups in October, or as restrictions allow.
The Creativity Initiative is funded in part by generous support from the Norman and Rosalie Fain Family Foundation, the Murray Family Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Carol A. Peterson Foundation, the Carter Family Charitable Trust, the Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, the Hassenfeld Family Foundation, the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. IMLS advances, supports, and empowers America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Their vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities.
The Providence Children’s Museum serves children and adults of all backgrounds and from all communities. Its focus is on children, ages 1 to 11, and the adults who care for them by presenting hands-on, play-based exhibits and programs that explore arts, culture and science, technology, engineering and math; fostering children’s cognitive, social, emotional and physical development; embracing a wide range of abilities, learning styles and forms of creative expression, creating safe and welcoming environments in which visitors and staff share with and learn from one another; being accessible and responsive to all families – culturally, physically and economically; working in partnership with other organizations to meet the needs of children and families; and increasing awareness and knowledge of the ways in which children and families learn.
PCM can be found on Facebook at @providencechildrensmuseum, on Instagram at @providencechildrenmuseum, and on Twitter at @ProvCM.