October 28, 2015
Let's Move! Museums & Gardens is a component of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to raise a healthier generation of kids. Through exhibits, programs, and healthy food service, museums and gardens in all fifty states are taking action to provide fun opportunities for fitness and learning. Visits to museums and gardens are high-impact learning opportunities with the power to make a difference in children's lives and their futures. Click here for a list of participating institutions.

Food, Farm, Fitness

By Michele Wales, Manager Coverdale Farm Preserve,
Greenville, DE

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Students from Urban Promise getting ready to harvest honey at the Coverdale Farm Preserve

Since 2012, the Coverdale Farm Preserve has partnered with Urban Promise, an educational organization working with underserved youth in Wilmington, Delaware on a Healthy Living, Healthy Eating program. Urban Promise (UP) children have engaged in hands-on activities that provide them opportunities to assume the roles of Chef, Farmer, and Athlete. Cooking in our professional teaching kitchen, we've cooked amazing farm dishes from creamy carrot soup with fresh basil pesto, unBEETable chocolate cupcakes, and butternut squash chipotle chili with avocado and orange spaceship muffins. Serious food! Planting and harvesting ingredients in over 7-acres of organic gardens, we've installed raspberries, rhubarb, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. We've harvested sweet potatoes, herbs, eggs, and swiss chard. We hiked the trails, soared like birds in flight and flapped our wings with avian calisthenics. Our favorite was reaching into "5-point star" in outdoor yoga lessons. Each child harnessed the skills to be their best selves.

When the program began in 2012, the first few classes were filled with the UP students and faculty. As the program progressed, we began to see aunts, uncles, moms, dads, older siblings, cousins, and grandparents pile off the bus as chaperones. They all shared that their kids were having so much fun they wanted to experience it for themselves. They cooked, farmed, and did yoga with us each week!

UP faculty began to plug yoga into the breaks during their state testing and remarked how relaxed it made them in the process. UP families came to school talking about the farm recipes they made at home and how delicious they were! Some remarked that they cooked every recipe we sent home! At a UP open house, a grandmother spoke about her grandson's request for the Coverdale unBEETable chocolate cupcakes for Thanksgiving dessert. She bought all the ingredients, including canned beets. He came home to the canned beets and gasped! No, we need REAL beets. Back to the store they went, returning home with fresh beets. He proceeded to show her how to roast, peel, and grate them. We were so very proud of him!

But the true benchmark: when asked what they loved the best about their experience, they exclaimed, Coverdale's Fresh Air.

Students from Urban Promise getting ready to harvest honey at the Coverdale Farm Preserve
Students from the Urban Promise program harvesting carrots at the Coverdale Farm Preserve

Every Adventure Begins with a Single Step!

By Margie Chapman, PPHMfit Project Coordinator, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
Canyon, TX

If visitors see everything during a visit to Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (PPHM) on each floor and in every nook, they would have traveled almost one mile and taken about 2,000 steps!  To take advantage of that, we created a new program called PPHMfit. PPHMfit helps increase awareness of cardiovascular health and the benefits of exercise while promoting physical activity to children and healthy lifestyle habits. The Institute of Museum and Library Services has addressed this type of initiative through Let's Move! Museums & Gardens, and PPHMfit joins museums across the country in this effort.  The museum installed seven PPHMfit stations throughout the museum. Visitors pick up a card at the front desk and stamp the card at each station as they explore the museum. The completed card is then redeemed for a prize at the Museum Store.

Since its unveiling in 2013, PPHMfit has been a great success, and over 8,000 visitors have participated in the program. PPHMfit has proven to be an excellent inter-generational learning activity for our visitors. It has been rewarding to see grandparents, parents and children find each station and read the information as they get their stamp for their prize--a free water bottle.  Our international visitors have also participated in the program and the water bottles have been seen on many backpacks! By all accounts, it is achieving the program's goals of increasing awareness of healthy habits and encouraging visitors to explore the entire museum.

Recently, we received a very nice email thanking the museum and the programs' sponsor, Cardiology Center of Amarillo. The email stated, "My 8 year old son and I, along with friends, came to the museum today.  The boys had a GREAT time finding the red boxes and getting their cards stamped with the embossing machine!   They were excited to receive their prizes too.  What a wonderful tool to get kids excited about being in the museum and exploring all the floors.  Thanks! Please pass along my thanks to Cardiology Center of Amarillo for sponsoring this activity."
If you are planning a visit to the museum, we encourage you to grab a PPHMfit card and start exploring!

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One young visitor is seen using the PPHMfit station during a recent museum visit

1K Fun Run at the Bay Area Discovery Museum 

By Jackie Randazzo , Marketing Coordinator, Bay Area Discovery Museum
  Sausalito, CA

On Saturday, October 3, Museum members strapped on their sneakers and sporty sweatbands to join in the first ever 1K Fun Run at Bay Area Discovery Museum. Before the whistle blew, children ages 3 - 8 and their families fueled up with a healthy breakfast, decorated race bibs with Museum educators and warmed up with tunes from a local DJ.
And then they were off! Children and their families, some with strollers in tow, lapped the 1-kilometer course framed by the Museum's unparalleled view of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline. Positioned on 7.5 acres of National Park land, with quick access to trails and beaches, the Museum provides the perfect location for an outdoor workout.

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A young runner shows off her medal after completing the 1K Fun Run on October 3, 2015

The crowd at the finish line cheered as each child, parent and grandparent finished the race. Everyone was a winner and received a commemorative medal. The 1K Fun Run complements the Museum's special exhibition, Healthyville, which invites visitors to explore nutrition, fitness and the human body. The Fun Run race was followed by a tour of the exhibition, with participants invited to ride bikes with a skeleton; play doctor and study X-rays; shop for food and learn to create healthy meals; and even touch boogers in a giant nose!
The 1K Fun Run, in conjunction with the Healthyville exhibition, highlighted the importance of physical activity and healthy foods for our youngest children, two key pillars of the Let's Move! Museums & Gardens Initiative.  The Museum's mission is to ignite and advance creative thinking for all children, a mission that begins with a foundation of health. Active play, running, enjoying the outdoors, and selecting nutritious foods were all key components of the Fun Run as well as the ongoing Healthyville exhibition, and the Museum is proud to promote these activities to our visitors to ensure a healthy future for all children.  

Submit a Success Story

If you wish to submit success stories, please email a 150-word article with photos to  letsmovemuseumsandgardens@imls.gov . In addition to your submitted photos, please be sure to include a signed copy of the  IMLS Photo Release form  (PDF).
See the   Let's Move! Museums & Gardens Toolkit (PDF) for additional programming and communication resources.

Let's Move! Museums & Gardens partners
Let's Move! Museums & Gardens  is led by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in partnership with the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Children's Museums, the American Public Gardens Association, the American Association for State and Local History, the Association of African American Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Nature Center Administrators, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.