Museum Council

Charlotte Zawel sits down with Steering Committee member Gwen Moore to discuss the success of the Family Initiative and her vision for its future.

What prompted you to step up and take the reins of the Family Initiative Committee?

I am a parent of two young children and a diehard member of the Council. I’ve made such good friends through my involvement with the Council and really believe the Council can be a place for members who have families.

Why was the committee formed? Has the Council noticed a drop-off in membership due to family obligations?

Yes, that was a big reason! Elizabeth Dunne-Marcoulier and Garrett Broadrup really spearheaded the launch and initial development of the Family Initiative Committee. Once you have kids, your time as part of the Council should not end. Our goal is to get back the folks we’ve lost by getting more kids involved and expanding family programming to attract prospective Council members who may have children.

It makes total sense—I feel like I know a lot of people who are thinking about starting families and wondering how to balance family obligations with their desire to be involved with the Council. What can we expect in terms of future programming?

After seeing the success of the screening of Winnie the Pooh in September, we hope to host an annual movie night in addition to our Halloween event. The kid-friendly screening of Winnie the Pooh was great, because kids could talk, have snacks, and run around the lobby without parents worrying about disturbing other Museum visitors. Plus, parents had a chance to relax and have some libations! The Halloween and movie events appealed to a wide age range, so whether you have a baby or a 7-year-old, there was something for everyone.

Actually, as a very single, not dating, never-had-a-boyfriend-and-not-looking-for-one member of the Council, I can tell you even I had a great time at the Halloween event. But have you thought about surveying the Council for more targeted feedback? I know a lot of them are parents of young children?

We try! Last year we sent out a big survey that was very helpful in creating new events. We love getting feedback as it helps us tailor programming to real requests, as opposed to our ideas of what Council members might want. Because this is such a new initiative, the only way we can calibrate our events is by testing ideas. It really helps when folks reach out to us and communicate what works and what doesn’t.

Incidentally, I heard from a few members during the “French Pastels” dinner that Friday events, instead of Thursday, would be easier to manage from a babysitting perspective.

Great idea! The Council wants to cater to the needs of our members; we just need to hear from them! We’ve gotten great feedback so far, but it’s helpful to hear constructive criticism; we can adjust our programming and create some really valuable, long-lasting MFA family traditions.