In anticipation of re-opening the museum after an intensive 10,000 sq. ft. renovation, including a 4,000 sq ft expansion and installation of all new exhibits, one of the museum’s goals is to better serve its visitors by providing regular programming.
“Programming allows the museum to cater to the developmental needs and interests of a wider age range of visitors, from programs designed specifically for very young children who are just starting to become mobile to older children who want to dive deeper into topics like robotics, computer programming or tactile arts. Evolving programs also give museum visitors the opportunity to experience new thoughts, ideas and perspectives each time they come to the museum. It’s a way of keeping things fresh and new but also deepening the educational value of a visit to the children’s museum.” said Executive Director Jill Shaver.
The Richard S. Shineman Foundation is credited for helping the museum to build organizational capacity by awarding a grant to fund the Director of Education position in the first year of CMOO’s re-opening.
“Our foundation is so proud of CMOO’s commitment to its vision and its successful campaign over the past four years to become a fabulous children’s museum”, said Karen Goetz, executive director. “We are also pleased that we could support the hiring of Ms. Watson at this critical juncture as CMOO readies itself to re-open and re-engage the community.”
“The Shineman Foundation has been our greatest supporter. The Board of Directors and staff have been cheering for us since day one, when we started as a mini mobile museum, and have given us the support and resources we needed to grow into the multi-level top-notch facility that we are developing now”, said Shaver.
Kathryn Watson brings a formal education background and diverse museum experience that makes her an excellent fit for CMOO’s Director of Education. Having earned a Master of Education degree from Harvard University and a Master of Art History degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art, Kathryn chose to pursue a career in museum education. Her accolades include working as a Studio Educator at the Mystic Art Museum where she developed and taught art-making activities, as well as gallery learning experiences for children ages 3-15, Curator & Gallery Manager at Monroe C. Gutman Library Gallery where she managed, installed, and publicized monthly exhibitions as well as an internship at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts where she gained experience generating educational content for children ages 7-12 that aligned with state Common Core standards.
Watson said, "the role of the museum as an institution is rapidly changing from being a place where visitors go to learn by looking, to becoming a place where people learn by doing. Museums are embracing their function as a community gathering place and are focusing on accessibility more than ever before. From its inception, CMOO has understood the importance of cultivating community, of creating hands-on experiences and of encouraging play as a means of learning. I look forward to continuing these practices as we develop programming that will offer children a chance to direct their own learning, to explore, and to pursue activities that have personal meaning. It is my hope that every child who walks through CMOO's doors will find a welcoming environment that supports their learning and meets them at their developmental level."
Since moving to Oswego with her husband and daughter in 2017, Kathryn felt an instant connection with the Oswego community. She saw a need for increasing youth access to quality educational opportunities and knew she had the tools to make it happen. Kathryn is an active member of the Children’s Board of Oswego and is spearheading many projects that are designed to give children access to high quality art and literacy activities including co-chairing an effort to bring the Caldecott winner, Sophie Blackall, to Oswego this July for a series of youth events.
“We are thrilled to welcome Kathryn to our team. She brings a great deal of passion, enthusiasm and experience that aligns well with our mission to inspire children to learn, discover, create and explore through the power of play” says Shaver.
The museum is on track to re-open this Spring, with increased hours of operation, memberships and innovative programming. More information about The Children’s Museum of Oswego, including project updates, can be found on the museum’s website www.cmoo.org and Facebook page.