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Let’s Move! Museums Win National Award

Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama presented the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service at a special ceremony in the White House. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for community service and celebrates how they make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

We are thrilled that three of the winning museums have joined the First Lady’s initiative to promote healthier eating and active lifestyles for their visitors. Congratulations to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Through Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens, museums, zoos, gardens, and science and technology centers can answer the call to action to raise a healthier generation of kids.

Inside Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Children’s Garden. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a long history and strong commitment to serving children in the community. For 100 years, children have been growing flowers, vegetables, and herbs and learning firsthand about the natural world in the Children’s Garden. Much like the White House Kitchen Garden, when it comes to planting and harvest season, the children play an important role. Programs and activities like Market Day help teach the children about gardening and growing healthy foods. Students who eat at the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment school cafeteria get to enjoy the fresh local fruits and veggies that are grown in the Children’s Garden.

At The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, kids can explore what healthy living is all about in the permanent exhibit Health House.  PlayFit activities are designed to help families and children learn about good nutrition and physical activity. They can even learn from peer chefs about how to make healthy meals. Each year, the museum hosts a school event, Healthy Habits, which is developed around Indiana Academic Standards in health and science. Activities focus on healthy behaviors such as brushing your teeth, hand washing, physical activity, and choosing healthy snacks.

Searching for dinosaurs in the digging pit during the Grand Opening of the Nature PlaySpace at Prairie Ridge Ecostation. Photo by Chris Goforth, NCMNS.

In North Carolina, children and adults are encouraged to spend time together outdoors and explore the natural world. Take A Child Outside Week is a national initiative spearheaded by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Going outside connects children to the natural world, helps kids focus in school, and reduces chances of childhood obesity. Currently, all 50 states and four foreign countries actively participate in Take A Child Outside Week. In 2013 the museum opened the Nature PlaySpace where children can engage in educational experiences, all while playing outdoors. Here they can climb over logs and boulders, roll in the grass, make mud pies, observe nature, and dig for fossils!

There are 651 museums and gardens, representing all 50 states and D.C., that have signed on to provide interactive exhibits, outdoor spaces, gardens, and programs that help children and families learn about healthy foods and get out and play!

Here are some ways that you can get involved with a Let’s Move! museum or garden: