Our philosophy starts with the simple belief that kids are capable of incredible things. Our job is to nurture that ability; our goal is to support kids' healthy development. Play is how kids learn--here, it is in both a STEM-rich environment and inviting outdoor experience.
Access for All: Open Door Connections
It is an essential part of our mission to never turn away an individual or group for any reason, and to partner with community organizations to seek out underserved audiences and find ways to help them access the museum and our programs.
We are proud to have been designated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council as an UP Organization, "...demonstrating a commitment to learn, take action, and embrace inclusivity as a core organizational value."
We thank the MCC for its support.
Fun for everyone
The museum's Open Door Connections (ODC) programx support innovative hands-on learning and meaningful play experiences for all. We strive to provide opportunities for those who face a variety of barriers—financial, developmental, or cultural—to experience the museum.
Partnering to grow access opportunities
Through Open Door Connections, we work to broaden the depth and reach of museum offerings by working directly with partner organizations so we can better identify families and schools with need and engage them in all that the museum has to offer. We work with organizations including SMOC Head Start Hudson, SMOC Head Start Marlborough, Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE), Parent Child Home Program, Horizons for Homeless Children, and Minute Man Arc Social Services, Inc. of Concord. Our objective is for all members of the community to feel a part of the Museum community.
How are we doing?
It is important to us to try engage parents, caregivers, students and educators who might otherwise not have access to our museum, school programs, and trainings. Each year we have exceeded the number served for free or deeply reduced cost:
2019 number served: 51,024
2018 number served: 49,579
2017 number served: 48,241
2016 number served: 50,276
2015 number served: 44,308
2014 number served: 42,867
2013 number served: 40,431
2012 number served: 38,671
2011 number served: 35,204
It took 10 years to get to the point of serving 50,000 people annually for free or nearly free, through programs targeting economically disadvantaged families, children with disabilities, and schools without the resources to fund field trips and classroom workshops. We want to do better.
Our new goal is to increase the number of people served through access programs from 50,000 to 75,000 per year, and to achieve this milestone in just five years, by 2024.
This is not an easily achievable goal, but it is an inescapable priority. We are focused on this goal, and will continue to report on our progress.
Especially for Me
ODC events include the Especially for Me program series, which offers free evenings at the museum for families with children on the autism spectrum in conjunction with the Autism Alliance of MetroWest; free mornings and evenings for families of children who are deaf or experience hearing loss, offered in conjunction with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program of Children's Hospital Boston; and free evenings for families with children with vision loss, offered with the support of Perkins School for the Blind.
ODC is also affiliated with Acre Family Child Care in Lowell, MA, and has provided free educational activities for the family child care children, professional development workshops for the family child care providers, and free family nights at the Museum.
We also work closely with schools to ensure that financial constraints are not a barrier for learning hands-on math and science. Every year we provide free and discounted programs to schools in need, including Field Trips to the museum and Traveling Science Workshops in PreK-8th grade classrooms.
If you are with an organization that would like to work with us around Open Door Connections, please email Alli Leake or call 978-264-4200 ext. 128. We would love to hear from you.