The Westchester Children’s Museum announced on Oct. 24 the start of a Family Access Membership (FAM) program, the Westchester region’s first financial equity-based museum membership model. FAM breaks down economic barriers for the region’s most at-risk and underserved families by ensuring ongoing accessibility to the Museum and all programming. For $25, FAM offers the benefits of the premium level of Museum membership ($250), representing a 90 percent discount to eligible qualifying families.
At the Westchester Children’s Museum, play is the primary building block for childhood development. The interactive learning space empowers children through hands-on exhibits, fostering critical thinking, social-emotional development, problem-solving, and STEAM skills. Despite Westchester County’s reputation for affluence and quality schools, one in ten children lives in poverty, with over 22,000 children in the region lacking access to playful learning experiences.
In its first year of program implementation, the Museum aims to provide 1,000 FAM memberships to underserved families. The Museum actively seeks grants and private funding from corporations, local businesses, individuals, and foundations to support this program. Chubb Insurance-North American Global Citizens Fund is the first corporate supporter of the program, allowing the Museum to work with The Childcare Council of Westchester to identify three family-service organizations — Collin Allen Child Development Center in Mount Vernon, Family Services of Westchester, and the YMCA — to open the opportunity to the families they serve in their programs to become the first FAM members.
“Our goal at the Westchester Children’s Museum is to make learning in our playful, hands-on exhibit environment accessible to every child, regardless of any challenging socioeconomic circumstances,” said Executive Director Thomas Sullivan. “With the launch of the Family Access Membership, we are taking a decisive step towards ensuring that everyone in this region feels welcome to visit regularly and to share, collaborate, problem solve, and play in our vibrant learning space.” Sullivan added, “We are especially grateful to Chubb for being our inaugural corporate donor. We hope others follow their lead to join us in this landmark endeavor for the Museum and the community.”