Advocacy Alert: May 25, 2011

First Lady Michelle Obama Launches Let's Move! Museums & Gardens During AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo

Museums to play key role in White House effort to address childhood obesity

During the AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo plenary session in Houston today, First Lady Michelle Obama announced Let's Move! Museums & Gardens, the museum component of her successful Let's Move! campaign to address childhood obesity by promoting healthy food choices and physical activity.

In her video message to AAM attendees, Obama acknowledged the many ways that museums and gardens already incorporate healthy messages into their programs and exhibits, and invited museums of all types to participate in this national effort.

"Every day in museums and public parks and zoos and so many other places you expose our children to new ideas and inspire them to stretch their imaginations," said Mrs. Obama. "You teach them new skills and ways of thinking and you instill a love of learning that will stay with them for the rest of their lives...And that's why I'm so excited to work with you on...a new initiative called Let's Move! Museums & Gardens. A program designed to help all of you find new ways to reach our kids with messages about exercise and healthy eating. There's a role here for everyone involved in our children's lives, and today I'm asking all of you to get involved as well."

To participate as a Let's Move! Museum, a museum must commit to offering interactive programs or exhibits that provide messages about healthy choices to visitors. Museums that offer food services must commit to either offering healthy food options in the food service operation or providing interpretation about healthy food choices and physical activity in the food service operation. Participating museums will be required to track and report on their progress on a quarterly basis.

To join this effort or to learn more, please visit the IMLS Let's Move! Museums & Gardens website, including the FAQ developed by AAM and IMLS. 

"It is thrilling to have Michelle Obama's support for this important effort, and I applaud her and IMLS Director Susan Hildreth for their leadership in launching Let's Move! Museums & Gardens," said AAM President Ford W. Bell.  "Museums are ideally situated to educate communities about healthy food choices and to promote physical activity, and I encourage museums of all types to learn more about this important national effort and consider all the ways that they can get involved."

Please take a moment to thank Mrs. Obama for her leadership on this issue and for recognizing the essential role museums and gardens play in helping our nation's children lead healthy lives.

"I also want to commend the Center for the Future of Museums, an AAM initiative, which laid the early groundwork for this collaboration to happen," added Bell. "This initiative is a terrific example of the role that museums can play in addressing societal challenges and devising strategies to shape a better tomorrow."

The American Association of Museums and the Center for the Future of Museums worked with the American Public Gardens Association and the Association of Children's Museums and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to develop this component of Let's Move!, which now also includes the Association of African American Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, Association of Science-Technology Centers, American Association for State and Local History and Association of Zoos and Aquariums.