Bring Your Baby to the Danforth Museum, founded by Alicia Herman of Jamaica Plain, allows mothers to bring their infants into the beautiful and stimulating
setting of a museum, without having to worry about other museum patrons.
Herman, who recently had her paper Bringing New Families to the Museum One Baby at a Time published in the Journal of Museum Education, explains the motivation behind the project.
“Mothers are having a harder time finding ways to be intellectually stimulated when they are home with their infants. This audience was being isolated from the museum because of their new role," said Herman.
While there are numerous displays, destinations and events geared toward the interests and desires of young children, Bring Your Baby is designed to be intergenerational, keeping the interests of new parents in clear focus.
The environment fostered by Herman’s Bring Your Baby provides a unique space for parents and babies to spend time together. Parents may feel hesitant entering a museum due to the many interruptions a baby can cause. So many caregivers are afraid to take a baby into a museum, worrying that it might cry
or have a messy diaper. Herman alleviates these concerns.
Herman creates an environment in which two polarized elements (babies and museums), could meld together effectively, allowing new parents to enjoy all that a museum has to offer, and best of all—worry-free!
A mother herself, Herman is instinctively in tune with the varying needs and comfort levels of new parents. Her program reflects this level of sensitivity through its versatility, allowing caregivers to participate fully or play a more observational role at their own will.
“We don’t want people to feel any pressure,” said Herman. “We offer many options so that people can find what feels comfortable to them.”
In addition to people feeling comfortable in the environment, learning something from the experience adds to parents’ enjoyment.
Herman said, even though there are not many art projects one can do with
a baby under the age of 2, caregivers can enjoy being in a nurturing, art environment.
The relaxed and accommodating vibe that Herman has created also shapes the price point for the program. The cost of attending one of Herman’s sessions is set per family rather than per person so as not to penalize those in need of extra assistance and who want to bring a family member or helper.
The program is offered the first and third Friday of every month through May 17, 2013.
Bring Your Baby is available exclusively at the Danforth Museum of Art.
“We’ve had many families come in from Cambridge and Boston,” said Herman, who said there is no other baby program in a museum within the metro Boston area.
Above all else, Bring Your Baby promotes continued artistic education of every age, a feat only possible thanks to the Herman’s drive and dedication to the project. In addition to the tremendous accomplishment of creating and setting in motion a successful program, there is no doubt that Herman
has paved a pathway for new parents .
The next Bring Your Baby session is Friday, Oct. 5, 10 – 11:30 a.m. Cost is $12 for a family and free for members. For more information or to reserve a spot, contact the Danforth Museum at 508-620-0050
or visit the website at www.danforthmuseum.org.