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Boston Children's Museum

 308 Congress Street
 Boston, MA 02210
[P] (617) 426-6500 x 250
[F] (617) 426-1944
Jo-Anne Baxter
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2103993

LAST UPDATED: 12/14/2018
Organization DBA Boston Children's Museum
Former Names The Children's Museum (2004)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes



Mission StatementMORE »

Boston Children’s Museum engages children and families in joyful discovery experiences that instill an appreciation of our world, develop foundational skills, and spark a lifelong love of learning. 


Mission Statement

Boston Children’s Museum engages children and families in joyful discovery experiences that instill an appreciation of our world, develop foundational skills, and spark a lifelong love of learning. 


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2014 to June 30, 2015
Projected Income $10,829,659.00
Projected Expense $10,746,483.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Countdown to Kindergarten
  • Japanese House (Kyo-no-Machiya)
  • KidStage
  • Peep's World
  • PlaySpace

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Boston Children’s Museum engages children and families in joyful discovery experiences that instill an appreciation of our world, develop foundational skills, and spark a lifelong love of learning. 


Background Statement

Founded in 1913 by teachers interested in innovative teaching and learning, Boston Children’s Museum has evolved into an internationally-recognized children’s museum offering informal education for children and families in science, culture, health, and the arts.  We primarily serve children ages 0-10 and all the adults in their lives, including parents, grandparents, teachers, group leaders, and caregivers.  BCM is deeply involved in our communities, with whom we design and implement programs that serve critical early educational needs. In recent years we have increased our focus on how we can equip adults to encourage their children to reach their full potential. 

BCM provides leadership for a growing worldwide children’s museum movement. To achieve this goal, BCM translates research into action; develops innovative, replicable hands-on learning resources for all children and parents, particularly the most vulnerable children and families of Greater Boston; and creates the most welcoming, empowering and playful environments that bring together the full diversity of our community.
BCM is a welcoming, imaginative, child-centered learning environment that supports diverse families in nurturing their children’s creativity and curiosity.
  • We promote the healthy development of all children so that they will fulfill their potential and contribute to our collective well-being and future prosperity.   
  • We believe in the intrinsic value of play and provide opportunities for experiential learning, and multi-sensory, object-based exploration.  
  • We connect children and families to transformational experiences and ideas in science and technology, health and wellness, arts and humanities, and global cultures.  
  • We support parents, caregivers, educators, scientific researchers, civic leaders and health professionals in addressing critical issues facing children. 
  • We embrace change and innovation in order to address the changing landscape of childhood.  
  • We introduce children and families to the diverse cultural life of the city and are a vibrant urban meeting place for all in Boston and beyond. 


Impact Statement

  • Boston Children's Museum has premiered a highly praised NEH and Ocean Spray funded exhibit:Native Voices: New England Tribal Families
  • Received a major award from NASA for a new exhibition, My Sky, on astronomy.
  • Received a commendation from the Japanese Foreign Minister for distinguished service to Japan.  
  • Partner in the Race to the Top for Early Childhood Education, having been recently awarded funding from the US Department of Education to improve school readiness across Massachusetts.
  • Diversify and deepen our engagement with children and families in Boston, with special emphasis on under-served neighborhoods of Boston, ensuring that our audience reflects Boston's demographics.
  • Increase community presence and engagement with programs focused on school readiness skills for children under five.
  • Increased commitment to collecting, analyzing and using data to understand our audience.
  • Better use of technology to assist in the collection of qualitative data through various sources including: visitor surveys and interviews, online surveys, specific program evaluations, and feedback cards. 

Needs Statement

Education and Outreach Staff - $500,000
New exhibitions - $3,050,000
Facilities repairs - $2,625,000
Marketing - $200,000
Technology upgrades $100,000

CEO Statement

Boston Children’s Museum is a pioneering play and learning center serving children and their caregivers in Boston since 1913. Over the past century, millions of visitors have come through our doors, benefiting from the depth and breadth of the Museum’s work in early childhood education, arts and humanities, STEM education and childhood health.

The first ‘hands-on’ exhibit in the world originated at Boston Children’s Museum in 1964, and led to Museums and Science Centers all over the world becoming places of exploration and discovery, and, in 1978, Boston Children’s Museum created the first Museum exhibit for children under the age of three, Playspace, which has now been replicated all over the world. Today, the Museum partners with scientists at MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and other university partners who conduct research daily in the Museum and engage parents in an understanding of their babies’ vast capacity for learning. We offer a new model Kindergarten classroom, open 363 days per year, which gives kids the opportunity to learn critical foundational skills that will prepare them for school, and engages their parents as their child’s first teacher. 


BCM is both completing the work on the FY 12-15 Strategic Plan while also developing the next one. Using these working documents as a framework, we are continually refining how we meet our core goals.

Highlights of our accomplishments over the past several years include the following:

Data collection and analysis for the purpose of developing our core audience: Our admissions numbers are strong and our approval ratings high. We are focused on understanding and serving the needs and interests of our audience while also ensuring that informal publicity – word of mouth – is positive. This includes everything from multilingual visitor guides to new programs and exhibits.

Community programs and partnerships: In collaboration with community and citywide agencies, we learn how our resources and programs can best address the top concerns of our communities.

Innovation: Making innovation actionable requires a commitment of resources, processes for evaluating new ideas, and a culture which tolerates reasonable risk. Through careful organizational changes, this groundwork has been reinforced.

Staff Investments: It all comes down to talented staff with diverse talents, interests, and backgrounds. This is the essential ingredient of innovation.

Financial stability and growth: BCM continues to diversify in order to continue all of the above.


Board Chair Statement


BCM has raised its profile locally, regionally, nationally and internationally not only as a premier children’s museum but also as a critical partner in early childhood education. The dissemination of knowledge about brain development and the importance of infant, toddler and preschool experiences has helped BCM immeasurably by making the science-based case for informal play and exploration in the early years.

As we translate the current childhood development research into museum practice, we are more focused than ever on the adult visitor. All research points toward the critical importance of parents and caregivers in supporting optimal growth and well-being.

Through our new website ( we highlight new information that can be applied to parenting skills. Exhibits are expressly designed to engage adults in play, and to make learning visible by showing them the deep thinking behind each exhibit.

Our commitment is to make our resources and unique assets as accessible as possible is a critical part of our contribution to the quality of life in our community.

Brains develop at lightning speed in the first three years of life. A baby’s early experiences shape the brain’s architecture into a strong—or fragile—foundation for learning, health, and success in the workplace. Adverse early experiences, such as poverty, can weaken babies’ brain development and follow them their entire lives.  BCM strives to be a protective factor buffering brain architecture from toxic stress caused by things like recurrent abuse, neglect, and constant exposure to violence.


Geographic Area Served

Greater Boston Region-All Neighborhoods
20% of Museum visitors come from Boston, 75% from Massachusetts, 84% from New England, and 16% from other states and countries. 

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Children's Museums
  2. Education -
  3. Science & Technology -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Under Development


Countdown to Kindergarten

BCM was an original partner in the Countdown to Kindergarten citywide program. BCM hosts the annual celebration in August. With the consolidation of Boston school readiness planning, BCM was asked to create a physical centerpiece for the program that would invite parents to learn about school preparation in a comfortable, convenient and non-threatening environment. BCM was awarded a National Leadership Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Serives to create a Countdown to Kindergarten exhibit and to conduct intensive outreach programs to attract families most in need of school readiness awareness.
In 2010, BCM opened the Countdown to Kindergarten permanent exhibit, welcoming children, parents and caregivers to take part in an ideal kindergarten experience. The Countdown classroom includes a math and science area, a dramatic play area, a reading and writing corner, and a creative arts area, and is well-staffed by in-house education experts and volunteers.
Parents and teachers are offered numerous multilingual resources to support many aspects of a child’s development including curiosity, social and emotional maturity, independence skills, and physical health.  BCM works extensively with Thrive in Five on outreach activities in neighborhoods and in the Museum.  We host School Readiness Friday Nights every month of the school year, as well as introductory programs during closed hours for first-time family visitors. Programs and materials are offered in the many languages used in the BPS.   
BCM with City Stage has produced an original live play that is performed by professional actors on KidStage and in communities.  DW Counts Down to Kindergarten features Arthur's popular younger sister, from the book and television series.  The participatory play conveys messages about how families can help children prepare socially and emotionally for kindergarten. Playbills offer these same messages as take-home materials.
Budget  $400,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Museum Education
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) Families Adults
Program Short-Term Success 
Specific Countdown programs are conducted regularly.  These include exhibit visitor feedback, outreach programs, and Museum-based school readiness programs.  Feedback is incorporated into ongoing program changes.
Program Long-Term Success 
Working with many agencies throughout Boston, the Countdown to Kindergarten exhibit and program seek to ensure that all children enter kindergarten with the skills they need to learn and reach their full potential.
Program Success Monitored By 
Various program evaluators use different tools for gathering and analyzing feedback.
Examples of Program Success 
Based on the success of the Countdown programs and exhibits to date, the MA Dept of Early Childhood Care and Education invited BCM to participate in the Race to the Top proposal. Now BCM will convene all MA children's museums to replicate these programs. 

Japanese House (Kyo-no-Machiya)

Our authentic Japanese House is a two-story silk merchant's home from Kyoto, Japan, completely reconstructed in Boston by Japanese carpenters. Discover Japanese family life, customs, ceremonies, art, architecture and seasonal events in the fully functional, 100-year-old house inside the Museum.

This House was a gift to the City of Boston from the City of Kyoto on the 20th Anniversary of their sister city relationship in 1979. We are very lucky to have this Japanese House in Boston. This Kyoto-style house is now rare, even in Japan, and international movements are underway to preserve them.  The Japanese House is of great interest to architectural historians and others teaching about Japan at all levels, from elementary school through graduate school.  It serves as a hub for Japanese community and cultural activities throughout the region.
The Japanese House is the centerpiece of BCM's vibrant Japanese program that includes a range of offerings for many audiences.  Program staff conduct in-depth school programs, with pre and post visit materials to help teachers integrate the visit into their curriculum.  We offer several seminars annually for teachers on Japan and on cross-cultural topics related to Japan.  Japanese Study Storage, a public access system for our extensive Japanese collection, is "across the street" from the house, and we rotate seasonal items for display.  We are currently creating a Japanese House website that will host a virtual tour of the house, digitized archives and collections, with photographs and background information. 
Budget  $150,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Museum Education
Population Served Families K-12 (5-19 years) Asia
Program Short-Term Success 
This year, BCM has embarked on a Japanese House website project designed to make the house and its resources accessible internationally.  Ultimately, the website will contain the Japanese House archive, educational resources and activities, digitized collections, and a virtual tour of the house. Website development is in process and we hope to complete it within three years, pending funding.
Program Long-Term Success 
For more than 30 years, the Japanese House has attracted a great deal of attention from a wide range of audiences.   With core funding from a restricted endowment and educational program funding from Harvard University's Asia Center's Title VI US Dept of Education grant, the Japanese Program has made a significant contribution to teaching and learning about Japan and about Asian cultures.  Annual programs, such as Japanese New Year and Cherry Blossom Festival, attract large numbers of visitors and Japanese volunteers.  The Japanese program has received many awards and large national and international grants to expand beyond the traditional house exhibition.
Program Success Monitored By 
The Japanese House is always staffed, making it possible for BCM staff to gather information informally and formally from visitors. School programs are evaluated by the teachers. Specific surveys are conducted for new program development or as summative evaluations.
Examples of Program Success 
The Japanese House elementary school program is the most popular program BCM offers.  Each year about 1500 students and teachers visit the house.  This year, a special outreach to BPS programs has attracted Japanese language students, thereby greatly enriching their studies. 


 A newly designed, state-of-the-art, 160-seat theater, KidStage introduces children and families to the magic of theater and the performing arts. Professional actors perform original participatory short plays. Directed by City Stage, a professional theater company specializing in educational children’s theater, KidStage has daily performances of 15-30-minute plays that use music, song, movement, and comedy to tell memorable stories. When dark, KidStage has costumes and props for improvised plays and role-playing.  KidStage also features multicultural music, dance and puppet performances. BCM has a dozen plays in repertory, including DW Counts Down to Kindergarten, the Balancing Act - about healthy lifestyles, and Count Me In Circus, Why Rat Came First - about the Asian animal zodiac, and the ever popular Three Little Pigs.


Budget  $100,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Museum Education
Population Served Families Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 
Visitors comment on how much they enjoy KidStage plays.  DW Counts Down to Kindergarten is a perfect example of how theater can convey messages in memorable ways. 
Program Long-Term Success 
Through KidStage, we are introducing more than 100,000 people per year to live theater.  We seek to engage children and families in a love of the arts.  Through theater, children build skills.  The play narratives convey messages that are readily remembered. Thus, theater productions enhance Museum learning.
Program Success Monitored By 
All plays are reviewed by staff and vistiors.  Adjustments are made when needed. Some plays are evaluated more intensively.
Examples of Program Success 
BCM participated in the Kids With Asthma Can campaign with Children's Hospital, WGBH, BPL and the Boston Public Health Commission. BCM and City Stage produced Buster Has Asthma, using the popular Arthur character.  Intensive evaluations of the play revealed that the vast majority of adults remembered the key messages a month after viewing.

Peep's World

Peep’s World invites parents and their budding young explorers to investigate the science of sand, the wonder of water and the amazing shapes in shadows. Kids can dig up some hidden treasures in Raven’s Ravine, explore the waterfall in Catfish Creek, and make their very own scary shadows in the Deep Dark woods. Peep’s World gives children ages three to five a chance to develop important everyday science skills like observing, comparing and predicting; offers tips for parents to continue the science learning at home; and transports visitors into the world of the characters from WGBH’s Emmy award-winning science program “Peep and the Big Wide World.” Parents and children alike will learn alongside Peep, Chirp and Quack that science, and science learning, can be found anywhere! 

Budget  $200,000.00
Category  Science & Technology, General/Other
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) Adults Families
Program Short-Term Success  The exhibit is very popular among children, preschool groups, adults and families. Parents and educators are encouraging their children to play, explore, and build science learning skills.
Program Long-Term Success 
Peep' World is part of the "developmental corridor" which features adjacent exhibits that help children and families explore school readiness skills in developmental appropriate ways.  Exhibits also include PlaySpace, 0 -3, and Count Down to Kindergarten for children up to five years old.  In Peep's World children explore school readiness skills.  
In order to reinforce the exhibit experience, we have created STEM kits for preschool providers, including ABCD Head Start and family and friends childcare providers. We have conducted trainings on these kits so that preschool educators can extend the learning beyond the walls of the exhibit.  The kits contain teachers' guides and all the materials needed to conduct activities; all the materials are readily available household items, thereby suggesting that science learning is everywhere. This is a core part of our school readiness strategy.
Program Success Monitored By  Program success is monitored through observation and visitor feedback surveys. Additionally, visitors are invited to videotape themselves talking about what they have enjoyed and learned in the exhibit;  the kiosk in the exhibit stores the tapes as data to be analyzed. 
Examples of Program Success  Visitors spend a lot of time in the exhibit conducting experiments.  Parents are reading the exhibit text (encouragements like - "What happens if you. . ."), helping them encourage their children to continue their exploration.  Many visitors have told us that Peep is one of their favorite exhibits.


Inspired by the latest research in early childhood development, this space is designed to spark exploration and creativity in young children ages 0 – 3 and their caregivers.  In this wonderful, whimsical exhibit, visitors can enjoy the tree house climber with bridges and slide, an extensive interactive toy train landscape, a messy area with see-through painting wall, and an infant area with plenty of soft space for crawlers and a cozy waterbed.  The Family Resource Room offers parenting information. 
Public programs associated with PlaySpace include Music and Movement, Baby Yoga, Tasty Tuesdays, Pint-Sized Science, Messy Sensory activities and more.    
Budget  $200,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Museum Education
Population Served Families Infants to Preschool (under age 5)
Program Short-Term Success 
Researchers from MIT, Children's Hospital, Harvard and BC all conduct childhood development research at BCM, and we help to disseminate their findings. In this way, we are influencing how people think about early childhood play and learning.  BCM is a center for brain building.
Program Long-Term Success 
PlaySpace was invented at BCM in the late 1970s and has since been replicated in every children's museum in the world and many other kinds of museums as well.  The goal of PlaySpace is to provide children and their caregivers with a nurturing, enriched environment to stimulate the child and support the adults as play partners.  We seek to have everyone recognize and understand the importance of play in childhood development - and to make it core to family activities.  We seek to increase the investment in early childhood education so that all children can reach their full potential. 
Program Success Monitored By 
PlaySpace is staffed intensively, and all feedback is recorded and acted upon.  Observations and formal surveys are collected and analyzed. 
Examples of Program Success 
PlaySpace has an intensely loyal following and some visitors attend programs on a weekly basis.  Pediatricians are highly interested in PlaySpace for its support for parents in encouraging play with their young children.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Since coming to BCM a year and a half ago, I have worked with staff to improve the visit and to deepen the educational experience. We have added new music and performing arts programs, while also enriching the science programs.  Staffing remains a critical issue, as positive interaction with knowledgeable, well-trained educators is core to the highest quality museum visit. 


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Carole N. Charnow
CEO Term Start Aug 2010
CEO Email
CEO Experience

Carole Charnow was appointed President and CEO of Boston Children’s Museum in the summer of 2010. A performing arts producer, director and non-profit arts leader for over thirty years, Carole brings creativity, vision and a commitment to social change to the Museum.  Since her arrival, the Museum has premiered a highly praised exhibit:Native Voices: New England Tribal Families, and claimed two major awards: one from NASA for a new exhibition on astronomy and a commendation from the Japanese Foreign Minister for distinguished service to Japan.

Ms Charnow spent fifteen years in London, England where she worked in theatre, television and film. As joint artistic director of Moving Target Theatre Company, she produced five UK premieres; including Rebel in Paradise by Howard Zinn. The company’s original commission of Olwen Wymark’s Brezhnev’s Children,published by Samuel French, has been staged in the US and Europe. Charnow served on the Board of Interchange Education Trust, the Weekend Arts College, and was an assessor for the Greater London Arts Association. 

Charnow assumed her tenure as executive director of Boston Academy of Music in Boston in 1996 producing seven seasons of staged opera and launching the company’s opera education and outreach program. In 2002, she transformed the company into Opera Boston, was named General Director and Producer, and subsequently appointed Gil Rose as Music Director.

During 14 seasons Charnow produced over 50 operas, primarily original productions. She has collaborated with some of the country’s greatest operatic artists including Dawn Upshaw, Stephanie Blythe, and Ewa Podleś, along with acclaimed composers Osvaldo Golijov, PeterEötvös, John Harbison, Robert Ward, and Daniel Pinkham. As producer she has collaborated with many celebrated directors and designers including Peter Sellars and Robert Woodruff.  Among her many accomplishments with Opera Boston was her co-commission and production of the Pulitzer Prize winning opera, Madame White Snake by composer Zhou Long, and librettist Cerise Lim Jacobs.

Ms. Charnow received her BA from Emerson College and her MA from Goldsmiths, University of London. 


Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Dr. David Ellis June 2009 Aug 2010
Dr. Lou Casagrande July 1994 June 2009

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Amy Auerbach Sr. VP, Finance & Administration, CFO --
Mr. Peter Broderick VP, Marketing & Communications --
Mr. Alexander Goldowsky SVP, Exhibits and Programs --
Ms Sue Kim VP, Development --
Ms. Charlayne Murrell-Smith VP, Corporate Development --
Ms. Geraldine Robinson VP, Early Childhood and Family Learning --
Ms. Leslie Swartz Sr. VP Research and Programs --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Commendation for distinguished service to Japan Consul General of Japan 2012
Noyce Leadership Institute Fellow Noyce Foundation 2012
Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge US Department of Education 2012
Noyce Leadership Institute Fellow Noyce Foundation 2011
Promising Practice Award for Kids Afterschool and Countdown to Kindergarten ACM 2009
Green Business Award City of Boston 2008
Preservation Achievement Award Boston Preservation Alliance 2008
LEED Gold Certification US Green Building Council 2007
Muse Award for Technology in exhibit Five Friends from Japan AAM 2004


Affiliation Year
Association of Children’s Museums 1985
Association of Science and Technology Centers 1985
American Association of Museums - Member 1972
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
American Association of Museums - 10 Year Accreditation 2008


ABCD Head Start
Arts Emerson 
Berklee School of Music
Big Apple Circus
Boston After School & Beyond
Boston Ballet 
Boston Centers for Youth and Families
Boston Children's Hospital: Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience
Boston College:
     Lynch School of Education, Thinking and Learning Lab;
     Department of Psychology, Arts and Mind Lab; Emotion
     Development Lab; Infant and Child Cognition Center
Boston Globe
Boston Public Library
Boston Public Schools
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston University African Studies Center
Brookline Public Schools
Cambridge Public Schools
Capital District Childcare of Albany
Consulate General of Japan
Countdown to Kindergarten Education Development Center
Evergreene Research & Evaluation
FAO Schwartz Fellowship  
Handel and Haydn Society 
Hanscom Air Force Base
Harvard University:
      Asia Center
      Lab for Developmental Studies
      Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 
Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative
Japan Society of Boston
Latino Afterschool Initiative
Maine After School Network
Malden YMCA
Mass Promise Fellowship
Mass Afterschool Partnership
Mass Dept of Elementary and Secondary Ed
MIRA Coalition
MIT, Early Childhood Cognition Lab
Museum Inst. for Teaching Science
National Inst. on Out of School Time
NH Department of Education
Primary Source
South Africa Partners
South Boston Neighborhood House
South Shore Stars
The City School
The Encyclopedia of Life Project
Thrive in Five
United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
Vermont Department of Education
Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts
Yawkey Boys and Girls Club

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 58
Number of Part Time Staff 34
Number of Volunteers 178
Number of Contract Staff 5
Staff Retention Rate % 90%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 10
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 8
Caucasian: 57
Hispanic/Latino: 15
Native American/American Indian: 1
Other: 4
Other (if specified): Multi-Ethnic
Gender Female: 76
Male: 16
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 4
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Mr. Nirav Dagli
Board Chair Company Affiliation Spinnaker LLC
Board Chair Term Nov 2016 - Oct 2018
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Aunoy Banerjee State Street Global Services Voting
Mr. Paul Blandini Autodesk Voting
Mr. Anthony Bordon Community Volunteer Voting
Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett Boston Medical Center Voting
Mr. Todd Cassler John Hancock Voting
Mr. Joseph Chow State Street Corporation Voting
Ms. Martha Coakley Foley Hoag Voting
Mr. Nirav Dagli Spinnaker LLC Voting
Dr. Wing Delatorre Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Rick Dimino A Better City Voting
Mr. David Healy Sun Life Financial Voting
Ms. Kelly Hiller Patron Voting
Mr. Jason Janoff Ernst & Young LLP Voting
Ms. Deborah Joelson Tufts Medical Center Voting
Dr. Mieko Kamii Patron Voting
Mr. Thomas McCrorey Deloitte & Touche, LLP Voting
Ms. Madge Meyer Madge Meyer Consulting Voting
Mr. Bhasker Natarajan Liberty Mutual Group Voting
Mr. Liam Patrick H.I.G. Growth Partners --
Mr. James Rooney Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Voting
Ms. Jan Smith Health Care Consultant Voting
Mr. Christopher C. Thompson Columbia Management Voting
Mr. Christopher C. Thompson Columbia Management NonVoting
Mr. Peter Torrebiarte Starbucks Coffee Company Voting
Mr. Prakash Venkata PwC Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 8
Caucasian: 13
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 8
Male: 15
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 95%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 0%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Audit
  • Board Governance
  • Collections
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Ethics
  • Human Resources / Personnel
  • Program / Program Planning
  • Real Estate

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

BCM seeks to build a highly engaged and diverse board.  This is a top priority and a challenge.  This year, the board has engaged in a rigorous evaluation and recruitment protocol.  An active governance committee has been formed. 

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $9,005,117 $9,942,895 $10,000,405
Total Expenses $9,475,878 $9,095,084 $9,177,070

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- $1,461,776
Government Contributions $435,548 $462,300 $882,643
    Federal -- -- $527,643
    State -- -- $340,000
    Local -- -- $15,000
    Unspecified $435,548 $462,300 --
Individual Contributions $3,141,637 $3,198,680 $304,172
Indirect Public Support -- $0 --
Earned Revenue $4,112,278 $4,299,458 $3,181,420
Investment Income, Net of Losses $636,638 $1,140,992 $1,790,767
Membership Dues -- $0 $1,400,817
Special Events $296,885 $397,067 $967,799
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $382,131 $444,398 $11,011

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $7,770,564 $7,387,462 $7,475,872
Administration Expense $1,284,571 $1,289,925 $1,236,529
Fundraising Expense $420,743 $417,697 $464,669
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.95 1.09 1.09
Program Expense/Total Expenses 82% 81% 81%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 11% 10% 13%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $59,224,941 $62,679,389 $63,419,709
Current Assets $8,900,424 $9,290,136 $6,384,439
Long-Term Liabilities $14,292,579 $16,531,868 $16,588,747
Current Liabilities $1,916,101 $1,187,932 $1,437,601
Total Net Assets $43,016,261 $44,959,589 $45,393,361

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
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3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
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Financial Planning

Endowment Value $4,065,196.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage(If selected) 4.5%
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 6.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates May - Apr
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 4.65 7.82 4.44

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 24% 26% 26%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals as the breakout was not available. Further revenue breakout detail was provided by the organization for FY14.



The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Boston Children’s Museum provides playful learning opportunities for children, adults, and families to inspire a lifelong love of learning. As one of the oldest children’s museums in the world Boston Children’s Museum is a demonstrated leader within the field of informal learning.

BCM is uniquely positioned to provide impactful, positive play experiences that are aligned with research on positive outcomes for child development. With 500,000 museum visits per year and external interactions with 5,000 community members, Boston Children’s Museum succeeds in attracting families, especially those with pre-school children who comprise over 60% of our child visitors, because of the richness of the programs and perceived value of the experience. It is a goal of the Museum to make our work particularly relevant to Boston families (22% of our visitors are from Boston and 75% from Massachusetts), but all our visitors benefit from our work.

To achieve our broad goals of increasing playful learning opportunities and strengthening our leadership in the informal education field, BCM has developed five strategic goals that we will work toward through the year 2020.

1. Inspire Playful Learning: BCM visitors (and others in our target population) will develop a deeper appreciation for and understanding of the benefits of playful learning, which will be manifested in engaging and relevant museum experiences for children and adults. BCM will achieve this goal by consistently aligning practices with our mission, learning about and improving the museum visitor experience, and focusing on both adult and child audiences in the planning and evaluation of museum exhibits and programs. These efforts will result in new innovative exhibits and purposeful program investments.

2. Increased Access: Target audiences will have increased access and reduced barriers to visiting BCM and participating in BCM offerings, which will be measured through attendance and outreach records. BCM will increase its reach by addressing all kinds of barriers, and engaging in conversations that build a shared sense of ownership of the Museum among the communities it serves.

3. Leadership in the Informal Education Field: The informal education field, including other museum, libraries and other community spaces where informal early learning programs are held will benefit from resources and best practices created and shared by BCM. These deliverables will be developed and improved through investment of time and resources into evaluation, research, innovation, and incubation.

4. Professional Development: BCM employees will develop increased professionalism in informal education and child development practices, which will be reflected in an employee culture that aligns with BCM’s passion for playful learning and personal accountability. BCM will offer meaningful professional development, and attract and retain a diverse creative talent pool of staff and board, and provide an inclusive, dynamic environment for all.

5. Sustainability: BCM will strengthen its long-term financial stability as an industry leader and community stakeholder, through increased revenue to support and sustain future growth, and demonstrated superior execution and financial governance.

Individually and in combination, these central goals will allow BCM to better serve visitors, improve and expand partnerships and community connections, and advance its position as a leader in the informal education field.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

BCM has developed a comprehensive strategy to define, measure, and achieve its goals. As we complete the current strategic plan and develop a new one we have organized our work under the five strategic goals, described above. Near-term activities related to the five strategic goals include defining and refining action steps and commitments related to advancing each goal. The five strategic goals are addressed by a series of 30-40 intermediary team-based commitments. The goals are all SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time based). Each SMART goal has a Convener and a team that works together to develop milestones and a completion date. The SMART goal system was implemented in 2013. Over the last two years this technique for managing performance has gained momentum, providing both a focus for individual teams, and individual leadership opportunities for the staff members who may not normally have management responsibilities.

Convener teams for each goal have defined the following objectives:

Inspiring Playful Learning

BCM is committed to offering the most inclusive, relevant and engaging museum experience for children and adults. We invest in the continuous improvement of exhibits and collections, using the new zones and modules approach to keep them vital, flexible, and responsive. In recognition of the critical role adults play in a child’s growth and development, BCM engages adults to make the museum experience an opportunity for adults to play and learn with, about, and from their children. BCM presents environments that encourage interaction within and among families. Together adults and children share in the joy of learning.

Increased Access

BCM is committed to creating an inclusive environment where visitors, staff and board reflect the full range of diversity of Boston and beyond. In dialogue with many diverse communities and by gathering data, we collaborate on new ideas and approaches that inform our practice, and helps us address barriers to visiting. BCM intentionally encourages community building through exhibits and programs. We communicate our commitments and values to families and funders in order to facilitate a broad awareness and access to informal learning resources for families, schools and community agencies. BCM is involved with the civic, community, and cultural life of the city, and takes a role in many issues related to children and families.

Leadership in the Informal Education Field

Informed by ongoing research and development, BCM is a laboratory for the incubation of new exhibits and synergistic public programs that benefit our visitors, communities, children’s museums, and the museum field as a whole. We conduct extensive prototyping and evaluation of new concepts for exhibits and programs with visitors, and invest in that have new ideas potential to make a meaningful impact on visitors and constituents. We undertake new partnerships that advance our research agenda and we translate our research into practice.

Professional Development

BCM is a learning organization where employees can thrive and succeed. BCM recruits, hires, and retains a broad range of staff whose creativity, networks, knowledge, and adaptability contribute to the success of the organization. We are deliberate in our efforts to recruit diverse staff and board members, and to foster an inclusive and collaborative environment for sharing and trying out new ideas. Long-term succession planning is key to the stability and growth of the organization.


BCM is expanding and strengthening its donor base, including individuals, corporations, foundation and partner support. We explore the potential of new revenue streams and implementing cost management policies.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

BCM augments staff strengths in child development, informal education, research and evaluation with subject matter experts at the local and national level. Our programs, exhibits, educational resources, and partnerships align to achieve our strategic goals. An internal evaluator designs and implements evaluation studies in partnership with project managers. External evaluation groups are engaged to conduct third-party evaluation studies of exhibits and programs. Evaluations enhance our understanding of the extent to which exhibit, program, and museum-wide goals are being met.

Inspiring Playful Learning

BCM partners with numerous organizations to support programming and exhibit development; significant partnerships include:

Science: NASA, Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Arts: Wolf Trap Inst. For Early Learning Through the Arts, Boston Ballet, VSA

Health and Wellness: BCBSMA, BU Dental School, Forsyth Institute, New Balance. Boston Fire Dept.

Culture: Consulate Generals of Israel, Italy, China and Japan

Environmental Awareness: US Forest Service, Caterpillar Lab, and Critters & Creatures

Social Justice: Vital Village

These partnerships, representing but a few of our alliances, allow BCM to extend its reach, while maintaining integrity and quality in exhibit and program offerings.

Increased Access

BCM addresses accessibility in exhibits and programs through adoption of Universal Design for Learning principles: learning experiences should be made accessible for the broadest range of individuals. Efforts are made to improve access to the Museum for families who may face obstacles to visiting, including admission discounts, reserved hours for special needs visitors, translated website and visitor guides, bilingual staff members combined with an ongoing commitment to staff trainings in cultural competence. Partnerships with institutions whose missions align with ours support our efforts to broaden our reach, to families who may not find their way to BCM on their own, including ABCD Head Start, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Boston Public Schools, Project Hope and the Nurtury Center.

Leadership in the Informal Education Field

BCM participates in national and international museum networks and associations geared toward advancing the informal education field, such as BUILD, Mind in the Making, Assoc. of Children’s Museums, ASTC, and Hands-On International. Resources gained from and shared with these networks enrich the museum as well as the broader field. BCM is actively involved in a large network of children’s museum researchers seeking to understand the impacts and outcomes of children’s museums on children and families. Additionally, BCM hosts many university researchers who conduct child development studies in the Museum inviting visitors to participate. The research labs include the MIT Cognition Lab; Boston College Dept. of Psychology, Arts and Mind Lab; Harvard University Emotional Development Lab and Infant and Child Cognition Center.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

BCM uses data to inform programmatic investments. Over the past five years, BCM has made a commitment to evidence-based decision making. Ensuring that adequate resources are available for gathering information is a growth area for the Museum.

Inspire Playful Learning

Key performance indicators are attendance, visitor engagement, learning and accessibility in programs and exhibits as determined by direct visitor feedback.

BCM employs a full-time evaluator who conducts front-end, formative, remedial, and summative evaluation studies to improve the visitor experience and assess the extent to which program and exhibit goals are being met. Evaluation at BCM consists primarily of iterative, mixed methods studies that use observations of visitor behaviors and conversations, interviews with visitors and other stakeholders to understand the visitor experience in their own words, and surveys that gather quantitative and qualitative data from larger numbers of visitors. Findings from studies are reported to project teams, who help interpret the findings and develop next steps towards improvements.

Increase Access

Key indicators in measuring access are year-over-year comparisons of attendance by admission program.

BCM’s most popular access programs:

$1 Target-sponsored Friday Night: This long-term program welcomes over 50,000 visitors each year. Fridays from 5-9pm are among our busiest and most diverse visiting times, comprising more than 10% of our total annual visits.

Half-Price Library Coupons: Library coupons entitle the holder to four half-price admissions at any time. This programs also hosts over 50,000 visits annually and provides us an opportunity to collaborate with libraries across the state that enroll in a low-cost membership program.

EBT Admission: Families who receive state benefits via an EBT card can now visit at any time for $2 per visitor. The program provided admission 2013, hosting 13,000+ visits this fiscal year.

Special Needs Access: BCM has reserved hours for special needs visitors, now welcoming about 1200 people a year. With increasing demand, BCM will improve and expand tailored access programs.

Leadership in Informal Education

Key performance indicators include the visibility of our resources and trainings among our peers and resource sharing within the institution.

BCM staff regularly present best practices at the annual conferences of the Association of Children’s Museums and National Association for the Education of Young Children. Our work with Race to the Top has received the attention of national funders. We hope to take the regional model of empowering local informal educators to work together to states outside of Massachusetts.

BCM organizational culture encourages the informal practice of sharing exceptional learning opportunities.

Professional Development

Key performance indicators are specified in individual work plans based on strategic goals and individual commitments.

Profession Development opportunities for staff have recently been expanded. Exhibit floor staff have two weeks of training prior to beginning their work, plus several regularly scheduled training meetings. Staff are encouraged to attend conferences, seminars and webinars particularly those that help build knowledge of current trends in the city and field.


Key performance indicators include stable or increased revenue and well-managed expenses.

Since 2011, BCM has increased revenue 16%. From FY13 to FY14 we doubled our individual donors from 150 to over 300. Our annual gala is delivering more general operating funds. Resource development is an on-going area of intense focus across individuals, corporations, foundations and governmental sources.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Inspiring Playful Learning

A simple message for adults who nurture children is that they are always learning. Literacy, numeracy, STEM and social-emotional skill development are not limited to formal educational activities. Support for a growing child’s curiosity in any setting will contribute to the development of strong foundational skills that help children master future academic challenges.

With funding from Institute for Museum and Library Services, BCM partnered with Boston Public Schools (BPS) and Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL) to encourage reduce summer learning loss among school-age children. Playful learning activities with literacy themes were offered during the last two summers, with marked improvement in visitor participation. In the 2014 pilot,30 families with students from BELL – all English language learners - attended playful learning workshops at BCM four Friday Nights. In 2015, based on evaluation of the first year, we implemented changes and shifted the name to Always Learning, and about 120 families attended the four Friday Night events. Evaluation of the program suggest that adult caregivers were engaged with the literacy elements of the programming, and gained a new understanding of how learning activities can happen anywhere, any time.

Increased Access

BCM was the first MA cultural institution to offer MA residents with EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards $2 admission for up to 4 people anytime. This program has been replicated by many MA institutions and is being implemented as a model for children's museums nationwide. Use of this program has doubled each year since 2013, with over 13,000 EBT Admission visits in our last fiscal year.

Beginning in 2013 BCM launched the Morningstar Access Program, with monthly open hours from 8-10 am reserved for families with special needs children. Morningstar is now regularly hosting the maximum of 100 visitors per month.

Leadership in the Informal Education Field & Professional Development

Since 2012 BCM’s work with Massachusetts’ Race to the Top Museums and Libraries Project grant has equipped 52 diverse, statewide museums including art, maritime, children’s, community, natural history and science museums; historic sites; zoos and nature centers and 119 libraries across the state with new community partners, institutional programming, and educator training to increase the number of quality early education experiences available to our youngest citizens and their families.

With guidance from MA Dept. of Early Ed. & Care, BCM presented professional development for informal educators paired with child-centered activity kits in four areas: STEM, Kindergarten Readiness, Brain Building (Executive Function), and Literacy. Museum and library educators and Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grantees attended regional meetings, designed to forge regional networks among the participants. They received professional development, educator guidebooks, child activities, parent tip sheets, and web-based translated parent materials.

The capstone program, Passport to Kindergarten presents all four learning areas. Passports are free at participating museums and libraries where families can complete playful skill development activities throughout the year and have their Passports stamped. The challenge is to develop funding to sustain the regional alliances and continue to support this vital statewide network.


In 2013, we launched – Wonder Ball – BCM’s fundraising gala. It has become an enormous success now contributing substantially to the budget. In recent years we have outsourced management of corporate events, gift shop, facilities, and housekeeping in order to professionally manage non-core functions at a high level of service within managed costs. External management of the gift shop and corporate events has delivered a steady revenue stream.