First Lady Michelle Obama Joins IMLS to Launch Let's Move! Museums & Gardens

May 23, 2011
 
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Let's Move! Museums & Gardens logo

IMLS Press Contact
202-653-4632
Natasha Marstiller, nmarstiller@imls.gov 

AAM Press Contact
202-271-3272
Dewey Blanton, dblanton@aam-us.org

ACM Press Contact
703-224-3100 ext. 105
Diane Kopasz, Diane.Kopasz@ChildrensMuseums.org

APGA Press Contact
610-708-3016
Dan Stark, dstark@publicgardens.org


Washington, DC--Today, First Lady Michelle Obama and Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Susan Hildreth announced the launch of Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens. The national initiative will provide opportunities for millions of museum and garden visitors to learn about healthy food choices and will promote physical activity through interactive exhibits and programs.

Mrs. Obama, addressing museum conference attendees in Houston, Texas via video message, said, "Everyday, in museums, public gardens, zoos, and so many other places, you expose our children to new ideas and inspire them to stretch their imaginations. You teach them new skills and new ways of thinking. And you instill a love of learning that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Every day, you all make such a difference in the lives of our children. And that’s why I’m so excited to work with you on an issue that is so critical to their health and well-being."

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. If we don't solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.

"Museums and gardens are well positioned to make a difference. Many of them have core missions that focus on creating healthy environments for children and their families," said Susan Hildreth, director of IMLS." They are trusted institutions with deep community connections, knowledgeable staff and the ability to provide immersive interactive experiences that can help children, parents and caregivers to make healthy changes in their lives."

Developed in coordination with national museum and garden leaders, Let’s Move Museums & Gardens will sign up 2,000 museums and gardens and reach 200 million visitors in the next year. The initiative aims to reach out to and engage twenty million young people in one year in Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens education programs. Activities will include interactive exhibits, afterschool, summer programming and cafeterias that help educate young people on how to make healthy food choices and be physically active. In addition, Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens aims to offer healthier choices in 90% of existing facilities.

The initiative was originally developed though a collaboration among the American Association of Museums, the Association of Children’s Museums, and the American Public Gardens Association, and has now been broadened to include, the Association of African American Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, Association of Science-Technology Centers, American Association for State and Local History, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Center for the Future of Museums.

"The American Public Gardens Association is a natural fit for this initiative because public gardens provide families with indoor and outdoor spaces where they can engage in physical activity, interact with nature, and learn about the important role of plants in a healthy lifestyle,’ said Dan Stark, Executive Director, American Public Gardens Association." We feel privileged to be a part of this exciting initiative, and hope to inspire a generation of healthy, active, gardeners.

Janet Rice Elman, Executive Director, Association of Children’s Museums noted, "Children’s museums are places where children learn through play and exploration in environments designed just for them. The interactive learning at children's museums motivates children to try new experiences with their families and reinforces positive behaviors and messages that can lead to lifelong healthy habits. The Association of Children’s Museums is pleased to bring its network of more than 300 museums to this important initiative."

Ford W. Bell, President, American Association of Museums applauded First Lady Michelle Obama and IMLS Director Susan Hildreth for their leadership on this issue and encouraged museums of all types to learn more and get involved." Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens is a terrific example of the role that museums can play in addressing societal challenges and devising strategies to shape a better tomorrow."

Museums and gardens have great collective power to reach children and their families with important health messages. There are more than 17,500 museums in the United States and they reach an estimated 850 million people each year. Museums and gardens that wish to become a Let’s Move! Museum or a Let’s Move! Garden, are encouraged to visit www.imls.gov/letsmove.
 

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.

About the American Association of Museums
The American Association of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 18,000 individual, 3,000 institutional and 300 corporate members, AAM is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.

About the Association of Children's Museums
The Association of Children's Museums provides leadership, advocacy, professional development and resources for its member organizations and individuals. For more than 112 years, children's museums have created places where children learn through play and exploration in environments and experiences designed just for them. Children's museums annually reach more than 31 million children and families. ACM also administers the Good to Grow! initiative, providing resources and opportunities for museums to promote and improve health and wellness in their communities. To find a children’s museum near you, visit www.ChildrensMuseums.org. To learn more about Good to Grow!, visit www.GoodToGrow.org.

About the American Public Gardens Association
Founded in 1940 as the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta, the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) adopted a new name in 2006 to better reflect the diversity of gardens that make up its membership. Over the last seven decades, the APGA has established itself as the leader for public gardens in North America. Today, APGA's 500 member gardens entertain, educate and inspire more than 70 million visitors each year. APGA is advancing public gardens as a force for positive change in their communities through leadership, innovation and advocacy, and envisions a world where public gardens are indispensable. Visit the APGA website at www.publicgardens.org.