The Play is on Base project fills a gap in services by bringing a children’s museum to a military installation for the first time anywhere in the world. The Museum’s engagement strategies have strengthened the well-being and resilience of military families by focusing on building parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social and emotional competence of children. Its exhibits and programs are tailored to meet the unique needs of military families, especially those whose children have special needs.
“The highlight of the project was the grand opening,” said Durand. “We were overjoyed as hundreds of military families, community partners, and friends of Greentrike gathered to celebrate this momentous occasion with us that had been many years in the making.”
In addition to strengthening Greentrike’s position as a community anchor, the satellite museum also creates a potentially replicable model for military installations and children’s museums worldwide.
“We are always looking to share experiences and learnings with other organizations who may be interested in doing a similar thing,” said Durand.
Although the museum has been open for nearly a year, getting to that opening wasn’t always easy. Navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for Durand and the rest of the Play is on Base project team.
They experienced many delays in opening, but those delays also brought new opportunities to ensure they were meeting their own standards. Ultimately, the challenges allowed them to grow in organizational resiliency, flexibility, partnership, and creativity.
“We are thrilled that our talented teams worked so hard within the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic to turn a vacant JBLM roller skating rink into an incredible new hub of learning, play, and wonder,” said Durand. “We are also grateful to our many partners like IMLS, who were instrumental in making this invaluable new resource for military families come to fruition.”