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Friday, September 29, 2023

Open letter to community regarding imperative of Children’s Museums


Above / President/CEOs of Chicago-area children’s museums cite the importance and need of early learning though play. For example, grandparents and parents experience the joys of watching youngsters explore the ever-evolving hands-on activities, awe-inspiring displays and bubble-bashing exhibits at the DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville. (PN File Photo)

The Imperative of Children’s Museums Now and in Our Future

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” —Nelson Mandela

Andrea J. Wiles, President & CEO, DuPage Children’s Museum 

Childhood does not pause for a pandemic. The earliest years in a child’s life shape 80% of their brain architecture. Children’s museums across our state shape the crucial interactive learning experiences that are the foundation of our children’s development and nurture lifelong adult-child relationships. Together with the families, caregivers, and educators who are our members, guests, donors and advocates, we create the next generation of artists, innovators, scientists, business leaders, and problem solvers our future requires. 

Children absorb and are affected by the people they rely on for love and security. Now more than ever, families in isolation need support to ensure healthy child development. Children’s museums are stepping up to help by redirecting investments into remote supports and continuing as sources of comfort, connection, and information for parents and caregivers facing new challenges. In this new era, children’s museums are finding new ways to mitigate the stress brought by fear and isolation.

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We continue supporting families and striving to sustain ourselves through this unprecedented time while losing nearly all of our earned revenue. The rich cognitive, physical, and social experiences unique to children’s museums will be as critical when the world re-opens as they have been throughout our history.

This is the time to build bridges to the future. Arts & cultural institutions must be included in philanthropic and government funding priorities now.  No one wants to imagine our brave new world void of special spaces that celebrate creativity, curiosity, awe, and wonder. Children’s museums need your support now. 

Donate directly to your local children’s museum

Share the beauty and power of our work on social media. 

Appeal to area funders to support children’s museums with philanthropic resources.

Write your federal or state representatives; urge them to include children’s museums in funding.

Now is not the time to de-prioritize rich early childhood experiences essential for brain and relationship building. Today’s young child is tomorrow’s bright, thoughtful, caring citizen – who just may be the next disease-decoding scientist, life-saving doctor, or courageous leader.  

Jennifer Farrington, President & CEO, Chicago Children’s Museum                    

Andrea J. Wiles, President & CEO, DuPage Children’s Museum                           

Mike Delfini, President & CEO, Kohl Children’s Museum                  

Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier 

The mission of Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) is to improve children’s lives by creating a community where play and learning connect. CCM is dedicated to young children and the important adults in their lives.  While the museum facility is temporarily closed due to the stay-at-home order, visit  Parenting Playbook and Recipes for Play to bring playful learning to your home. For more information, visit www.ChicagoChildrensMuseum.org

DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville

The Museum helps develop curiosity, creativity, thinking, and problem solving in young children through its mission: “DuPage Children’s Museum ignites the potential of all children to learn through hands-on exploration by integrating art, math, and science.” Interactive exhibits and programs make learning fun for children and adults playing together. DCM serves over 300,000 visitors annually representing all 50 states and 575 zip codes in Illinois. DCM’s reach and support represent well beyond the Chicagoland area. The Museum’s impact extends across cultural, financial, and educational boundaries. It touches the lives of children from all regions, providing the building blocks for success in school and life. 

DuPage Children’s Museum is located at 301 N. Washington Street in Naperville, www.dupagechildrens.org. For information, call (630) 637-8000. 

(Click here) for ways DCM is available online and serving the community while temporarily closed…

Kohl Children’s Museum in Glen View          

Kohl Children’s Museum isn’t your conventional kids’ museum. Here, assembled under one roof, is a hotbed of discovery and exploration. Grounded in early childhood research, the Museum is an incubator for transforming young minds into creative thinkers, learners and leaders. In 17 interactive exhibits, we harness the power of play and fuel curiosity when young brains are most receptive.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Museum relies on the generous support of its members and donors to provide best-in-class early childhood learning experiences at our Glenview campus, along with access and inclusion programs that extend the Museum outside its physical walls and into the community.

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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