02 July 2020 // Thoughts

ACM and JRA Collaborate on Images of Hope Storytelling Project

Albert Einstein wrote, “play is the highest form of research.” For over a decade, JRA has enjoyed collaborating with the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) in supporting new ways for children to play, learn, and discover, most recently with the storytelling project, “Images of Hope.”

Mascot Hall of Fame’s Reggy, as well as JRA’s Colin Cronin and Mike Meyer, pose with the 2019 InterActivity Small Museum Scholarship recipients.

Recapturing the Magic

The Association of Children’s Museums champions children’s museums worldwide. With more than 460 members in 50 states and 19 countries, ACM leverages the collective knowledge of children’s museums through convening, sharing, and dissemination. One of ACM’s marquee events for knowledge-sharing is their annual InterActivity Conference, which was to have taken place at The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum in early May. Since 2008, JRA has supported InterActivity as the co-founder and sponsor of ACM’s Small Museum Financial Aid Program, which provides complimentary conference registration to a select group of museum staff at open museums with annual budgets under $500,000.

ACM JRA Images Hope

Kearney Area Children’s Museum hosted a “Backwards Parade” for its community. Parade participants cheered from the sidewalk as community members drove past.

Curating Meaningful Stories

Once it became clear that the 2020 InterActivity conference would be unfeasible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, JRA looked for ways to continue its collaboration with ACM and proposed “Images of Hope”. The project features a collection of images, videos and stories showcasing the meaningful work that ACM members are doing for their communities in this time of crisis. From creating sidewalk chalk playscapes, to offering online parent resource hubs, to distributing craft supplies and project kits, members around the country are providing families with learning, inspiration…and hope.

Providing Images of Hope

“We are so happy to partner with ACM to share these stories of creativity, care and compassion,” said Shawn McCoy, JRA Vice President and InterActivity Program Committee Member. “Children’s museums have always been such an important part of our communities, providing a safe place for children and their caregivers to learn and play together. It’s been so inspiring to see how these beloved institutions have adapted to the recent crisis, and these heartwarming examples of dedication and service deserve to be celebrated. We want to offer our sincere thanks to ACM for embracing this idea, and to all of the children’s museums that participated in the project.”

Images of Hope MCM

Image courtesy Minnesota Children’s Museum, an “Images of Hope” participant.

“As the co-founder and longtime sponsor of the InterActivity Small Museums Financial Aid Program, JRA is a key supporter of our annual conference as well as the small museums that make up the majority of our museum membership,” said ACM Executive Director Laura Huerta Migus. “While we could not gather to celebrate our field in person this year, we’re inspired by JRA’s innovation in bringing us together virtually through ‘Images of Hope.’”

In this difficult time, ACM is committed to sharing up-to-date resources to help museums respond to COVID-10, as well as providing its members with opportunities to connect and share knowledge. For more information, visit www.childrensmuseums.org.