The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has awarded two new Advancement grants to Philadelphia's children's museum, Please Touch Museum and to the Chester County-based theater company People's Light.
A two-year grant of $750,000 has been awarded to Please Touch Museum to research and develop a new set of blended digital and hands-on exhibitions, education programs, and marketing and distribution strategies designed to expand the museum's range of audiences, increase the frequency of visits, and enhance its programs for children ages two to eleven and their families. Research will, in part, examine the motivations and concerns of parents regarding the use of media as part of their children's education and entertainment experiences. During its research phase, Please Touch Museum will initially repurpose 1,000 square feet of existing exhibit space in which to pilot new, blended exhibits, eventually adding another 2,000 square feet of exhibit space for a combination of temporary, seasonal, and permanent thematic exhibits. Additionally, Please Touch will redesign its website to communicate more directly and intentionally with children and their parents, and provide another channel through which families can engage in new digital media-based activities, beyond the museum's walls.
People's Light has received a three-year grant of $500,000 to conduct an in-depth market analysis and develop the company's approach to diversifying its programs, attracting new audiences, and deepening relationships with existing audiences. With a 7-acre suburban campus, which includes soon-to-be expanded catering and restaurant facilities, People's Light seeks to position itself as a vibrant cultural and civic center for its region, with theater at its core. Research will investigate the area's unmet demand for a variety of programming—concerts, musical theater, speaker series, among others—that would appeal to multigenerational audiences and complement the company's primary season of main-stage theatrical productions and year-round education programs. People's Light will also develop new marketing and communications strategies to support its new programmatic offerings and will enhance customer service by establishing a department of patron and guest services that will foster sustained relationships with the public.
Advancement grants, which the Center introduced in 2013, are substantial, multiyear investments designed to support high-performing institutions undertaking bold initiatives. These grants support the direct costs of programming and related infrastructure needs to help organizations further their missions and strengthen their sustainability.