When I first began as CEO of Please Touch Museum in 2016, we started to address the complexities of what it means to be a child in the 21st century. For some children we serve, that complexity comes from being a child living in the poorest big city in our country. For other children, it comes from being a child in a family that others see as different or are afraid of just because of the color of their skin, or the language they speak, or where and how they worship. For some, it comes from being a child with two mommies or two daddies, or a grandma who for many years was a grandpa. We have always wanted Please Touch Museum to serve as a place of joy for families, but we also are committed to being a haven for deeper connection and greater understanding.
Our world has became a lot more complex, especially for children. And so, the question now is, what happens next? Where do we begin? How do we as a community begin to recover and rebuild? What will be required of our Museum, the Children’s Museum of Philadelphia, as we find our way out of a pandemic and a time of unspeakable loss and devastation, to assure we realize our vision of a world where all children are creative, compassionate, confident and curious?
Numerous organizations have issued statements regarding the events of the past week. Those statements are important, and they speak to us as adults. But as we contemplated writing our own statement, we asked an important question rooted in our mission: Who is speaking to our children, and how can we help them find the words to guide them through the difficult but necessary conversations that will happen in the days and weeks ahead? So, that’s where we thought our words were best focused at the end of this week.
We would invite parents to share this letter with your children in the coming days – sent with love and care – from their friends at Please Touch Museum.
Patricia D. Wellenbach
President & CEO
Please Touch Museum