Bourbon Street & Beignets! The Association of Children’s Museum Interactivity Conference:
Leveraging Our Voice, hosted by Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans was held this past April. Participating with over 700 other professionals from around the world who work in the field were Heather Ungerer, Vice President of Operations and Kim Kleven, Vice President of Play & Learning. The conference consisted of three days of networking, interactive workshops, discussions, and a big ole’ NOLA party at the new Louisiana Children’s Museum campus! The ACM (Association of Children’s Museums) Interactivity conference not only allows time to network with professionals in the field but also to share and learn about new innovations, strategies, and collaborations that other children’s museums have engaged in. The hardest part of the conference is deciding which of the workshops you will attend as there were so many quality choices.
A highlight for CMSM
Kim was selected to co-present with a team that hailed from Pretend City Children’s Museum in Irvine, California and Marbles Children’s Museum in Raleigh North Carolina. The topic they presented was “Empowering Aspiring Educators”. The team had been meeting for months over Zoom to share ideas and compile resources to share with the Interactivity participants. It was a great collaborative effort and CMSM’s voice as a representative was an exciting endeavor for our organization. Topics also attended by Heather or Kim included: Exhibit Master Planning: An Essential Tool for Long-Term Sustainability, Overloaded: Sensory Integration and Inclusion for All, Applying Reggio Emilia Philosophy to a Museum Context, Inspiring Great Guest Engagement, Seeing Joy and Other Social Emotional Moments in Our Museum, and Children’s Museum Learning Frameworks which featured Peter Olson, former Executive Director of CMSM and Jeanne Vergeront, the co-author of our Expansion Master Plan.
In the final plenary session ACM presented its 2023 Great Friend to Kids Award to Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek for her outstanding contributions to understanding the development of early language and literacy and the role they play in learning. She reminded the attendees that they were creating creators in the children we serve and that the one thing children need the most is joy. Her presentation ended with these lyrics of the song A Million Dreams from movie “The Greatest Showman”
However big, however small
Let me be part of it all
Share your dreams with me
You may be right, you may be wrong
But say that you’ll bring me along
To the world you see
To the world I close my eyes to see
I close my eyes to see
… Every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
A million dreams, a million dreams
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make.