Director’s Desk: Today at the White House

Photo: Dorothy Kosinski

It was terrifically moving to attend today’s presentation at the White House by Michelle Obama of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This is a photo of my colleague at the Columbus Museum of Art, Nannette Maciejunes, director, with one outstanding young constituent who has benefited enormously from the museum’s programs. It was so inspiring to hear each of the stories of the ten institutions and their real-life impact on individuals they serve. I was not the only person with tears in the eyes. I was proud to be there to represent AAMD and our own much-loved Phillips Collection.

(And did I mention how beautiful, statuesque, articulate, and natural the First Lady is?)

Dorothy Kosinski, Director


Let’s Move . . . in a Museum?

Our First Lady’s Let’s  Move! campaign is ambitious — its stated goal is to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. Michelle Obama recently expanded the effort, teaming up with the Institute of Museum and Library Services to launch Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens. The idea is for the Nation’s venerable museums and gardens to to use the tools at their disposal to teach visitors about fitness and healthy eating. At first, I have to admit, we were all a little skeptical. What could America’s first museum of modern art really contribute to diet and exercise?

Determined to exercise our creativity, at least, we invested in a pedometer and hit the pavement (OK, the hardwood floors) of the galleries. We settled on one simple rule for our adventure:  take the stairs. 2,500 steps later, we had walked a mile and seen over 200 artworks. And we felt refreshed!

Since the First Lady’s initiative focuses on youth, we tested our new hypothesis — that a visit to the Phillips facilitates both art appreciation and fitness — on a young and active bunch. They climbed stairs, engaged in vigorous discussions about art, and, after an energetic hour in the galleries, were ready to unwind with a healthy snack. See their reactions for yourself in the above video.

Now, we plan to encourage visitors to pick up “90 min @ the Phillips”, a self-guide that happens to chart a course along a mile of masterpieces. Kids can cover half that distance (and engage with art and each other) by picking up an all-ages “Discovery Pack.”

A handful of other museums and gardens in D.C. are also getting involved. Do you have ideas about ways you would like to see museums and gardens supporting your healthy choices through exhibitions, activities, and services?

-Cecilia Wagner, Publicity and Marketing Manager