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By Deborah Gilpin
MCM president and CEO
“I support MCM because I believe the museum isn’t just nice to have in our community, it is necessary. The future of our community is in the hands of our children. Early childhood education for all leads to better education and a better future for all. Our Access, Diversity and Inclusion program makes that a reality.”
–Peggy Pyle, MCM board chair
Madison Children’s Museum has always aimed to ensure that we are welcoming, accessible, and affordable for all children and families in the community. To create a place that’s reflective and inclusive of our entire community, we believe everyone must have a voice at the table. It’s not always easy, but what we gain through a diverse range of perspectives is always profound.
As associate director of education Sandra Bonnici would say, “It sometimes takes intentional acts of bravery to get us there. But MCM staff and board members are rich in courage, creativity, and leadership. The museum aims to create a space where everyone feels included and valued for the gifts that they bring, and has a voice in the delivery of our mission.”
In 2015, MCM’s board chair, Peggy Pyle, formally led our board to establish an Access, Diversity, and Inclusion board committee. This committee provides high-level oversight in documenting and responding to areas of weakness in our Access initiatives and leverages opportunities or successes. In the world of museums, this is a rare and outstanding example of a museum questioning: What do children’s museums typically do in the community? What could children’s museums aspire to do in the community?
José Madera, MCM’s Access, Diversity and Inclusion committee chair, describes the committee’s efforts, “We are working hard to educate ourselves and learn how our work connects with other organizations, especially schools. Many of our immediate goals include strategic planning and relationship-building efforts, like drafting an equity and diversity statement, meeting with fellow community leaders and champions of diversity, and learning more about how we can better engage communities of color and be more inclusive of everyone. Our results will not be immediate, but we’re slowly and steadily building momentum and we’re excited to keep learning and growing through the process.”
Peggy Pyle and the rest of MCM’s leadership are passionate champions of the museum’s Access for Everyone programs. Pyle explains, “The early education learning that occurs at the museum is vital to children’s long-term educational success. This is especially critical for underserved children, and that is why access to the museum is crucial. Not only are young children learning while playing, but they are learning acceptance of children from different backgrounds.”
MCM board member John Sims agrees: “Children need hands on opportunities for learning and play and MCM is the perfect place for all children and families to learn to play together at a very young age. All children and families, from all backgrounds, deserve access to the museum.”
We know that to be truly inclusive and relevant we must collaborate with and involve our entire community. That includes you too! Please consider giving your time, talent, and treasure to help ensure early learning, fun, and Access for Everyone at MCM.
We all have gifts to share, and it takes all of us!