I could begin this report so many ways, but let me start by sharing a recent full-circle experience.
Last month, I received an internship application through our online portal. The inquiry came from the daughter of the woman who used to manage the MOM website as well as the MaMaPalOOza website in early 2000. So, this intern applicant turned out to be Emma Andrews, and her mother, Amy Andrews, brought her daughter to our New York location when she was only about ten years old.
This totally rocked my world. So, let me please share Emma’s bio with you now and welcome her to her summer internship with MOM. Full circle:
Emma Andrews (they/she) is entering their junior year at Binghamton University. She is a history major and mathematical sciences minor. She is pursuing a career as a public programmer in museums, but wouldn’t be unhappy teaching calculus either! They prefer to focus on all areas of history, rather than hone in on one speciality. In her free time, Emma loves to read in their hammock and is a bit of a movie buff (although with admittedly terrible taste in films). They are particularly passionate about queer studies and are looking forward to integrating that passion into their culminating project during her internship at the Museum of Motherhood.
Emma will be working this summer creating a series of resources regarding queerness in families. There will be resources created for both parents and children, in hopes of promoting and fostering more productive and respectful conversations about the queer community. The children’s presentation will feature child friendly language and concepts to help educate children on different family types and identities. Her internship portion aimed at parents will feature many of the same definitions as the children’s presentation but expanded, as well as “how to’s” regarding having respectful conversations with their own children about queer topics, such as identity, pronouns, and the potential for their own future families. Additionally, they will be putting together a short research project for those interested in the history of queer studies. Their research will be a guide through the evolution of the queer identity, with an emphasis on modern changes within these ideas, particularly through a legislative lens.
During their time at MOM, Emma hopes their project will provide help to those in need of queer resources and education, especially in states affected by anti-gay legislation. She wants these resources to be available for anyone of any age or role, and available in any location at all times. If the government or schools cannot provide the education necessary to reflect a diverse community, they want their resources to do that job.
Now for Extensive Updates! Read on:
There’s been a lot of activity at MOM over the last several months. I thought it might be good to connect everyone and keep you all updated.
Please join me in welcoming several new team members.
Deborah Gelch, a senior executive with a wealth of experience in non-profits, administration, and fundraising has joined us as our new “Strategic Advisor”. She brings with her knowledge of Salesforce, specific technological advances in CRM management, and a windfall of support including fundraising initiatives. We have been meeting weekly over the last several months and she has already imported a host of information into our database. Together, we are aiming for an October 1 fun-raiser in St. Petersburg.
Welcome too, our new website developer, Elena Rodz, who will be working on WordPress updates, our online store, and memberships moving forward. She is currently updating the MOM Team page. Please, do look for updates soon.
Kasia Nowacki joined MOM this year in the capacity of ‘Educational Liaison and Development’. To that end, she has been strategically working on multiple avenues of MOM growth internally and in collaboration with other institutions. She also facilitates tech at our monthly online events, happening the 22nd of each month.
Donna Lewis, architect, artist, and native New Yorker has joined our Executive Fundraising Board. This is hugely exciting as our goals for this active committee are top of mind and imperative for new growth. We hope to have others join Donna on this important new endeavor.
Since fall 2021, we have welcomed three onsite Residencies in October, December, and April. The summer will welcome two additional Artist Residents, and two more in the fall of 2022, plus the three last summer for a total of ten, even in the midst of COVID!
We also welcome four new interns, and another USF graduate student starting in the fall. Our summer interns are: Emma Andrews, Sarah Akomoh, Teddy Friedline, and Mary Noah. A hearty welcome to each! They will all be working on a variety of initiatives including grant writing, teaching tools, journal publication, and social media.
MOM participated in the AEHK Studio Tour in St. Pete featuring a newly built vestibule for seeing exhibits from the front entrance. As an artist, I was able to enjoy two artist-grants (one for public art in Seminole Park and one for editorial help with some of my current writing).
I filed for ‘fictitious name‘ status for MOM (DBA Museum of Motherhood) under our IRS registered 501c3 non-profit MOM Art Annex in Florida. I am also segwaying out of the Motherhood Foundation in NY, as it is redundant to maintain both.
For the purposes of clarity: the MOM Art Annex is currently serving as our incubator of the realization of our own fully functioning, free standing museum structure. Renderings for this vision are online.
Our new ‘Educational Development” Coordinator, Kasia Nowacki and I worked for several months updating the language on the MOM website as well as our internal documents to reflect changing attitudes along with more inclusive language. Our newest intern, Teddy Friedline continues this enterprise at the JourMS website. We are grateful for these efforts.
Kasia and I also made repeated attempts to pioneer projects with Eckerd College. We also reached out to the Museum Studies Department at UF, and began research on USF degrees locally in St. Pete that might coordinate well with MOM’s ongoing activities. I attended the Eckerd College Job Fair for summer internships and we have a few ideas for bringing collaborations to the fore in the fall.
Our annual MOM Conference was a beautiful and smart gathering over Zoom this year. The theme was Creativity for a Cause and the inspiration flowed from a work-in-progress-film on miscarriage to several thematic works on home-site productions during COVID from artists and academics. Thanks to the entire Academic Board for their involvement in this!
We started a *NEW ONLINE COMMUNITY – This is a place to connect and interact. This is where we will host our annual conferences for those who want to attend remotely. This is also where we host ongoing monthly events the 22nd of each month 7-8:30PM EST (Roksana Badruddoja will be with us in June conducting an intergenerational healing workshop), and this is also where we will be building out some of our coursework.
During the month of May, Mary Noah, who is with us for the summer, and comes with some non-profit experience, worked on a rebranding kit for MOM along with a Social Media Calendar. She will pivot to new activities in the coming months.
Our new Living Board 2022 is active too, as we wave Lexy Valdes (who began her journey with us as an intern and stayed for THREE years), on her way and wish her the best with her medical school studies. Our newest Living Board members are: Zabrina Shkurti– President, Nicole Musselman– Editor JourMS, and Tracy Sidesinger who returns as our Residency Director.
Finally, I just received word about leading a workshop on New Technologies at the annual FAM (Florida Association of Museums) Conference in September. I think this will spur me on to do more research on tools available to us for online reach. I’m excited to bring updates regarding MOM to this event. The conference takes place in Miami this year and includes hundreds of museum professionals from the state of Florida.
So, what’s the action item here? Big goals here are keeping you updated, letting you witness the progress for yourselves, and bringing team members together in the spirit of MOM.
*IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO YOU THINK MIGHT LIKE TO JOIN US: one of our boards, our new MEMBERSHIP community, pt staff, or MOM development, PLEASE DO SEND THEM OUR WAY: INFO@MOMmuseum.org
With Huge Warmth,