Recent KidsPlay News

KidsPlay Awarded a Prestigious Museums for America Grant!

KidsPlay is happy to announce that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) selected KidsPlay as one of the 122 recipients of the highly competitive Museums for America grant program. This three-year grant will be used to strengthen KidsPlay’s ability to serve the public by launching the Hub@KidsPlay. The Hub@KidsPlay is a new designated space currently being constructed and a program initiative that convenes partners with skills and resources to support children and families’ collective success.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums and related organizations. The agency’s mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement.

The concept of the Hub@KidsPlay started to take shape during the Museum’s 2020 Community and Audience Engagement Assessment, a process administered by the American Alliance of Museums. KidsPlay worked with a peer reviewer, Dr. William Sudduth, during the museum assessment.

Dr. Sudduth recently visited the museum to meet with stakeholders and advise KidsPlay’s Board and leadership on preparing for this project. In his follow-up report to the American Alliance of Museums, Dr. Sudduth stated: “KidsPlay has emerged from the pandemic as a vibrant leader, an anchor for downtown Torrington, and through its community collaborations and planning as a convener of programs and activities for youth-serving groups and families with children. ​​The museum’s planning efforts involving the community in the planning resulted in the Hub concept which could become a model best practice for other children’s museums.”

The Hub is a new model of multi-sector collaboration for the Museum, public schools, social service agencies, cultural organizations, and the business community. Funds from the IMLS will be used to build leadership capacity and infrastructure in order to set this initiative up for success.

This prestigious grant represents a major step forward for KidsPlay’s positive impact on developmental outcomes for children and the well-being of families in our community. The KidsPlay Board and Staff extend their heartfelt gratitude to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for their support and recognition of our commitment to excellence in the museum field.

“KidsPlay is an extremely valuable resource for young children living in the Fifth District. The Museums for America grant will allow KidsPlay to further their mission to create positive outcomes in science, arts and literacy,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes. “The new program, Hub@KidsPlay, partners with community stakeholders to uplift low-income families by giving them access to a space to learn and grow together. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this funding has on our communities.”

The Northwest CT Community Foundation (NCCF), the Robert Rosenheim Foundation, the Northwest Community Bank Foundation, the Seherr Thoss Foundation, and the Neag Foundation have also provided significant investments to build the physical space designated as the Hub@KidsPlay and the program initiative.

This grant is a testament to years of support from hundreds of volunteers, donors, and supporters who have built the Museum to the point where we are ready to launch this initiative.

December 4, 2023 Announcements, Highlights