2711 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202
Janet Rice Elman, Executive Director
AAYM began in 1962 with a small group of children's museum directors who decided it would be helpful for them to meet informally as a group during the American Association of Museum's (AAM) annual meeting. Michel Spock says, "AAYM stayed informal for about a decade. We resisted turning it into a real organization. We didn't take minutes or have formal meetings. It was for directors - to discuss our common purpose and our problems and issues." Approximately ten children's museums were operating in the United States at this time.
In 1994, AYM, with the start-up financial support of the Knight Foundation, completed its transition to a professionally staffed office in Washington, D.C., with 247 members and Janet Rice Elman as executive director. Today AYM has become the Association of Children's Museums (ACM), employs nine staff and serves over 500 members, including affiliate museums, museum consultants, museum staff, students, academic professionals and corporate members.
Elman says, "From my first day the phone has rung off the hook with questions from people interested in starting children's museums in their communities. The growth of ACM has paralleled the amazing growth of the field and the pace is still strong. I am constantly in awe of the commitment to serving the needs of children and families demonstrated by our members. So strong is that commitment that children's museums across the country and around the world are willing to share information with one another in an effort to continuously improve upon the best practices in the field.
ACM strives to enhance the capacity and further the vision of children's museums in order to make them places for children and families where play leads to lifelong learning.
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