September 2017 – Letter From The President

Dear Friend,

Recently, the Children’s Museum of the East End has begun revisiting its “brand.” While many folks associate “branding” with Fortune 500 companies, it’s just as important for children’s museums to develop strategies for differentiating themselves in the marketplace. Even though we are a charitable nonprofit organization, we’re still a business. And like any “for profit” business, we need to attract an audience and raise more money than we spend.

One question that we’re grappling with is “who is our primary audience?” Since we are a children’s museum, you’d assume our main audience is children. Unfortunately, we’ve realized it turns out to be parents and caregivers like me.

Why do I say, “unfortunately?” Unlike kids, it’s much harder to convince parents and caregivers to come to the Museum over and over again. Regardless of how crowded the Museum gets, my boys would gladly come every day of the year. In fact, my youngest son, Grant cries hysterically anytime he’s told he has to leave. The son of a Board Member announced that he wanted to live at the Children’s Museum. I have yet to hear this same sentiment expressed by a parent.

One of our challenges is being responsive to children’s desire to do the same thing repeatedly while keeping the Museum experience fresh for caregivers and parents. While I do try to encourage a “child-directed” visit to the Museum, this parent gets a little bored when his children do the exact same things time after time. For example, whenever Grant arrives, he makes a beeline for the Windmill. I love his enchantment with balancing the balls on the air and I enjoy playing along, but after he whacks the restart button on the Bernoulli blower for the 25th time, I start thinking, “Can’t we try something else in this place?”

Since we parents and caregivers decide whether our children come to the Museum, we want to learn what would make the experience more fun for you. After all, if we want children to have the time of their lives at the Museum, we need parents to feel the same. So tell us do you want more events like Big Truck Day or pop-up exhibits like the Bubble Table? Share your thoughts on the Museum’s Facebook feed or by e-mailing me. Your perspective on will help us shape the Children’s Museum’s “brand.”