Four years ago, at a meeting with thousands of museum professionals, First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens. Speaking via video message to attendees, Mrs. Obama 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.”
Kids climbing the 10-foot carrot at the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast in Jensen Beach, FL
Since then, the national initiative has provided opportunities for millions of museum and garden visitors to learn about healthy food choices and physical activity through interactive exhibits and programs.
Through Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens, nearly 700 museums of all types have come together to support this national initiative to address the issues of childhood obesity and the promotion of healthier lifestyles. These museums impact all 50 states and the District of Columbia, ensuring that communities throughout the country have access to healthy programming, activities, and food services.
The Strong in Rochester, NY joined Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens initiative in 2011. The museum promotes an active lifestyle through its educational programs and public programming. Thanks to a partnership with local business and foundations, the museum will welcome hundreds of underserved school-age children and their families for Fit Kids Day on March 21.
Museums and gardens are core community institutions. They are trusted organizations in their communities and have the capacity to influence real and sustained behavior change. With their impressive reach and great potential for impact, museums and gardens are launching community efforts to create a healthier generation using interactive exhibits, outdoor spaces, gardens, and programs that encourage families to eat healthy foods and increase physical activity.
At the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA, “Grow It, Cook It, Eat It” campers trace the journey of food from the garden to the table through fun, educational activities for every step of the process. Photo © Julia Petruska
As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of Let’s Move!, we invite you to visit your local Let’s Move! museum or garden. If your local museum is not yet participating, have them sign up today! They’ll be able join all the other Let’s Move! museums and gardens that are contributing to healthier communities.
Let's Move! Museums & Gardens is led by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in partnership with the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Children's Museums, the American Public Garden Association, the American Association for State and Local History, the Association of African American Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Nature Center Administrators, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.