In our April newsletter we told you that we were reevaluating and reimagining what the Museum could be during the pandemic and how it would change moving forward, as well as how to sustain our funding and financial resources.
We're proud to say that we're tackling the challenges of today's new world head on. We have capitalized on our long history of working within the community to continue engagement, strengthen and expand partnership, and learn from each other. We're here to thrive!
As we enter the fourth month living with COVID-19, we would like to take this moment to give you an overview update:
In light of ongoing health concerns, we are scrutinizing all spaces and exhibit designs to prioritize cleanliness and visitor safety while always ensuring maximum fun. We now anticipate a late 2021 opening.
We met with the City today. Construction was halted on March 30th and is scheduled to resume in the next few weeks.
Due to COVID-19 and our funding situation, we are recalibrating our exhibit fabrication and installation plan to include the need to phase in exhibits rather than bring them in all at once. Some will need to be modified such as our beaver lodge and underwater cove, while others must be eliminated including our climbable treehouse. In Phase One of our new exhibit installation plan, our many fabulous art installations by local artists will take center stage, making the environment visually robust and engaging.
The Museum team pivoted quickly to survey the community and develop a whole new organizational way to engage children and caregivers. With a bare bones staff we developed skills we never knew we had and created more than 45 videos shared through social media and local broadcast TV, the latter reaching those without devices and/or the internet; created programming for our 14 school partners in lieu of classroom visits; distributed PPE in conjunction with the Mayor's office; and made ourselves a community resource with interviews/posts/reposts. We have seen a 175% increase in Instagram impressions and online programming assessments from teachers were excellent.
We will continue to follow the lead of the State, City, and our school partners regarding reopening and the resumption of programs. For now, we are planning digital enrichment offerings for the summer and early fall, including versions of our popular Dream Big! and ArtSpot programs. Watch for updates on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds. One of our videos will be featured on WNET and all will be broadcast on BronxNet TV.
Standing In Solidarity
As our Black Lives Matter statement states, "We will continue to work to encourage all children to treat each other with the utmost respect, fairness and tolerance. Let us use this moment to learn from each other, heal, and above all, do better. Our children deserve no less." We are also looking inward, formalizing a DEI (Diversity, Equality, Inclusion) plan.
The double whammy of loss of income and timeline disruption has hit the Museum hard. Our in-person gala is cancelled, our budget slashed. We have launched an Emergency Fund Campaign and must raise a minimum of $500,000 by year end and another $1,000,000 in 2021 to responsibly position ourselves for opening. This funding is critical to the opening and maintenance of our space and outreach programs, to the Museum's very future.
We thank you all for continuing to support and stand with the Museum and the children of the Bronx. Our community has suffered disproportionately as a result of the Coronavirus, but we are confident that together we can survive to thrive.
We will continue to update you with our monthly newsletter. Have a nice summer.
President, Board of Directors