The Museum of Motherhood (M.O.M.) is an exhibition and education center devoted to the exploration of the science, history, activism, and art of mothers, mothering, and motherhood.
Mother: the individual
Mothering: the action
Motherhood: the social system in which mothering is performed
M.O.M.’s mission is to start great conversations, feature thought-provoking exhibits, and share information and education—we believe a more comprehensive understanding of pregnancy, birth, and the value of caregiving labor will lead to healthier and happier homes, more productive workplaces, and better social policies.
At the M.O.M. we aim to collect, preserve, and disseminate articles, books, artifacts, images, and research on all aspects of motherhood and we actively promote members of the community interested in Mother Studies.
M.O.M. serves as the first and only social change facility of its kind. We do not discriminate, are open to all perspectives, and recognize diversity as a guiding premise.
The Museum in its entirety has relocated to the live/work space of artist, activist, and scholar M. Joy Rose in the Historic Arts Enclave of St. Petersburg, Florida. Tours are available by appointment only. The annual academic “I ❤ MOM Conference is ongoing each February in partnership with USF Women’s and Gender Studies Department. Additionally, the MOM Art Annex is available for workshops, classes, and residencies.
MOM ART ANNEX
The MOM Art Annex is a small cottage on the property of 538 28th St. North. It is available for workshops, classes, and art residencies focused on women, mothers, and families.
The NYC M.O.M. space was donated by Gymboree (2011-2014) was located at 401 E. 84th St. in NYC, and comprised of approximately 2,500 square feet of lower level space. Within that space were a variety of stations (exhibits) that featured science, art, and history; The Womb Room with RealCareTM Babies, and Pregnancy Simulator Vests; The Suffragette Sitting Room, featuring a large “Write Out Loud” wall, encouraging people to share their stories and raise their voices, The Seneca Falls Room, Moms of Rock, Global Perspectives, Caregiving perspectives, a stage, a play area, a reading area (for children), and adult library.
Travelers from Angola, Mexico and the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, England, Scotland, Italy, Israel (to name a few) made the museum a destination. Interns from local colleges and high schools constituted approximately 60 volunteer and research participants per annum.
Prior to this, M.O.M. first opened pop-ups in Dobbs Ferry, New York (2003-2006); Seneca Falls, NY (2010), and Manhattan College (2015). More here, download a PDF One Sheet [LINK].
[Continue reading below. Photo courtesy Bruce Feldman]
The museum was conceived in 2003. Trademarked and legally formed through the Motherhood Foundation Inc., an application for non-profit 501c3 status was filed in 2005.
M.O.M. originally consisted of traveling exhibits and conferences with a specially curated online presence 2006-2010.
The first full-time exhibition space opened on the Upper East Side of Manhattan after touring Seneca Falls, New York with a main street window display featuring the “Moms of Rock.”
The museum opened its doors in New York City on Labor Day, 2011 in a former Gymboree play space donated by Deb Whitefield and Barry Hanson. The location featured a play area, community gathering space, a stage, a “Womb Room” a library, and exhibition stations.
During M.O.M.’s three years at the 401 E 84th Street location staff and volunteers welcomed people from all walks of life. Friends and advocates included young male students age 16-21, graduate students, doctors, nurses, doulas, women & mothers, feminists, single mothers, grandmothers, non-breeder advocates, single men, fathers, artists, nuns, Doe-fund workers, babies, and intellectuals.
An exhibit list [LINK] provides a sample of what the museum offered to its attendees.
STATEMENT OF NEED
The Museum of Motherhood, in order to fulfill our mission statement seeks $10 million in the amount of financial help or the equivalent in real estate.
The Museum of Motherhood focuses specifically on the roles of women in the sphere of motherhood and generally on the topic of birth and caregiving. Eighty-two percent of the female population will produce offspring in their lifetimes. There are 85.4 million mothers in the United States, and 100% of all human beings have a mother, yet comparative analysis of family systems that produce happy and healthy offspring are woefully understudied, as are the sociological, anthropological, cultural, and historic consequences of motherhood, fatherhood, and parenthood.
Until the Museum of Motherhood (M.O.M.) no place on Earth collected, preserved, and disseminated information about the many roles of mothers, and the many types of family. Many museums are well presented, educational, and entertaining. Yet, in addition, how many discuss the historical contributions of the entire female half of the population and the role of caregivers in raising the next generation? Our scope is uniquely comprehensive and focused.
As ‘the most important job we will ever do’, education on the subject is supremely lacking. Therefore, we see the need for a shared interdisciplinary forum in order to help foster universities in the development of Mother (and Father) Studies curriculum.
We provide a space where researchers, educators, service providers, and individuals concerned with the institutional elements of motherhood can share and learn. We also believe a database of these institutions, courses and teachers should be made accessible because information needs to be brought to those who would benefit from it most.
Our online portal and in-house resources reference links to organizations that can benefit families with better services and social policies. According to the UN, increasing programming that serves at-risk families, elevates women economically, and facilitates the work-life balance has been shown to enrich lives. We can contribute to many families ability to function by preventing violence against women, facilitating information about healthful nutrition, and making support, connection, and counseling available.
Institutions can facilitate a positive sense of community and an increased sense of connectedness. The museum shares library books, films, collaborative art projects, and conferences, often at little or no cost to make cultural literacy available to those who might not otherwise have access to these types of resources. The need for M.O.M. is highlighted by the work of the feminist movement, the gender agenda, and global women’s health initiatives.
Precedence for M.O.M. has been established through the initiatives of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the International Museum Of Women and the First Ladies’ Library. They are all positive contributors to expanding education about women in history. But our intense focus on the motherhood, fatherhood and caregiving roles opens the conversation to unlimited opportunities for exploration and documentation within the sphere of procreation and sustainability, not to mention how humanity hopes to evolve. Long-term goals for the museum include the acquisition of a permanent physical space to house M.O.M.’s collection.
A robust advisory board, and small volunteer staff maintain the museum’s initiatives while fundraising is ongoing. In 2014 the museum hosted the first annual Motherhood Hall of Fame. It currently maintains web initiatives, as well as traveling exhibits and annual academic conferences. Courses in Mother Studies are preparing to launch online while development of the MOM Directory, and the student run, “Institute For Family Research and Development” projects are under development. Partnerships in the private sector as well as non-profit relationships, and institutional associations are welcomed. A book about the museum is forthcoming.
The development of a ‘Motherhood Movement’ during the last twenty years, in political circles, as well as other mother-related literature and ‘Mom-Blogs’, have impacted the vast social, economic, and cultural landscape. Thus, the expanded museum exhibit space and educational facility that we envision will be eminently worthwhile. Together we will be putting the subject of motherhood and family on the map.
LEGAL: Motherhood Foundation Inc.
The Motherhood Foundation is a certified nonprofit 501c3 connecting Women, Mothers and Families through Music, Art, Activism and Education for Cultural, Economic & Social awareness, by creating, producing and presenting visual, literary, educational, academic, performing arts exhibits that celebrate, nurture and support women with a special emphasis on mothers, and their activities. MFI pays tribute to mothers (Moms) and gives individuals and groups of Moms opportunities for artistic, academic, and cultural presentations they might not otherwise have; free of age, race and socio-economic barriers. MFI cares about, and acts upon the status of women, mothers and families, while addressing important issues, creating meaningful content, and providing compelling educational and community experiences.
(Copyright; M.O.M. 2011)