We don’t know for sure the origin of the quote “A calm sea does not make a skilled sailor,” but we know for sure that the Boston Children’s Museum and the global community have been navigating rough seas through most of this year, and will probably continue to do so well into the next.
2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. What makes the current crisis of COVID-19 even more astonishing is that the world was already facing plenty of serious challenges before it showed up–climate change, racial and social inequality, mass immigrations and deportations–each enough to upend conventionally held notions of civility and stability. And yet, while these serious problems remain at, or even within our doorstep, COVID-19 has had the ability to dominate all our attention in our struggle to prevail. For all those we lost to these various calamities, and for their loved ones, we stand in solemn solidarity.
On March 13th, as the city and state were contemplating shutting down establishments, Boston Children’s Museum initiated a preemptive closing to do what we could to stem the contagion. At the same time, the Museum focused on two transformations in parallel. The first was continuing to reach children and families beyond the walls of the Museum through innovative curriculum and content, combined with technological delivery mechanisms. The second was creating a safe environment for the eventual return of visitors and personnel to our waterfront site for continued hands-on interactions with our exhibits and programs.
Over the past century of serving children and creating joyful discovery experiences, we learned to experiment and to adapt. Whether it was the opening of our STEAM lab, starting BCMNXT, the Museum’s initiative to combine innovative thinking with emerging technologies to broaden and deepen our reach and impact, or deploying consulting and design expertise to other organizations around the world, the innovative ideas put into practice over the past several years prepared us for this situation without us even knowing about it. This capability and attitude were combined with the commitment and talent of Museum staff, the steadfast leadership of management and the board, the unwavering support of our members, donors, and community partners, the strength of the balance sheet built up over a decade of contributions from all our benefactors, and a hawk-like watching of expenses by management. Every single person involved with the Museum, whether directly or indirectly, has gone above and beyond their duty, job, responsibility and obligation to make this happen. For this we will be eternally grateful.
So what now? Over the summer, we developed and deployed a virtual summer camp for Sun Life , and are currently developing content and curriculum to supplement early education–which is critical in supporting families with young children. We are resolutely committed to the mission of joyful discovery for children and families everywhere, and are targeting to reach 1.2 million children and family experiences – pre-COVID figures – by using new content and delivery mechanisms. We have leveraged technology to support online scheduling of visits and augmented our cleaning protocols to balance an enriching visit experience with continued safety of children, families, and Museum personnel. At the same time, we have developed contingency plans to adapt to various scenarios. We will emerge stronger on the other side of the pandemic; it will not deter us from our long term strategic plans, instead we are accelerating them!
We thank you for being with us on this journey so far and for having confidence and belief in our work, and we look forward to continuing together into the future. In the meantime, our best wishes for everyone’s safety and wellbeing.
Carole Charnow Nirav Dagli
President & CEO Board Chair