New York, May 8, 2017 – Ever wonder who started that great children’s museum in your community? Well, in more than 50 communities in the U.S. and around the world, the answer is: members of an international women’s volunteer organization called The Junior League.
In recognition of that accomplishment, the Association of Children’s Museums has selected The Junior League as the recipient of the 2017 ACM Great Friend to Kids Award, which honors those who have made significant contributions to strengthen education and advance the interests of children. As a pioneer in the development of children's museums, ACM noted, The Junior League helped inspire a cultural movement that has changed children's lives around the world.
“The Junior League has played a critical role in starting and supporting children’s museums around the world,” said ACM Executive Director Laura Huerta Migus. “By honoring this organization with the ACM Great Friend to Kids Award, we honor the countless women in The Junior League who have worked to make their communities better places for children.”
In accepting the award, Susan Danish, executive director of The Association of Junior Leagues International, said, “Junior Leagues began investing in children’s museums as core community assets after the end of World War II and up through the ‘80s and ‘90s as the importance of what we now call STEM learning in our children’s education became clearer and clearer. Today, decades later, those investments continue to pay off with visits and classes experienced by many thousands of children every year.”
Ms. Danish highlighted the outstanding work done by Junior Leagues, including these:
In 1946, the Junior League of Denver co-sponsored a children’s museum with the Denver Art Museum that became a pilot program for UNESCO and many other children’s museums.
In 1976, members of the Junior League of Pittsburgh met to determine the need and feasibility of a regional museum for children. The result was the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum.
In 1982, what became known as the Chicago Children’s Museum began as a coalition led by the Junior League of Chicago in response to program cutbacks in the city's public schools.
About The Association of Junior Leagues International Founded in 1901 by New Yorker and social activism pioneer, Mary Harriman, the Junior Leagues are charitable nonprofit organizations of women, developed as civic leaders, creating demonstrable community impact.
Today, The Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) is comprised of more than 150,000 women in 292 Junior Leagues throughout Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, they constitute one of the largest, most effective volunteer organizations in the world.
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Tracy Van Buskirk
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