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Museum News


From 1992 — Present


A purchase of "Imagination Playground" blocks brought construction play and the science and math concepts that are part of that to museum audiences during the year. In addition, play worker staff transported the blocks to community parks in low-income neighborhoods and to children who rarely get to play. For the fifth year in a row, Habitot was rated a Top Rated Nonprofit by Great Nonprofits and as a “Best Indoor Play Place” by readers of Parents’ Press in their annual “Best of” Awards. This year noted the 1,500th car seat inspected during its annual Early Childhood Safety Campaign.


Habitot celebrated its 15th birthday and welcomed its 1,000,000th visitor in 2013. Habitot saw the continuing expansion of its audience to include more vulnerable families including those from the children welfare system, foster and kinship care children and their parents and social workers thanks to a two-year grant from Alameda County First 5 and a strong partnership with Alameda County's Department of Children and Family Services. A new program offering homeless children free birthday parties was launched thanks to donations of over $8,000 to an Indiegogo campaign.


The Washington, D.C.-based Partners for Livable Communities cited us for our inclusion programs for immigrant caregivers, teen parents, homeless families, and our most recent outreach group, formerly incarcerated mothers. We were also promoted as a "Top-Rated Great Nonprofit" by Guidestar and received a "Best of the Best" award from readers of Parents' Press. 65,053 Total visitors including 5,683 Low-income visitors receiving FREE admission.


Habitot's Board of Directors completed a five-year Strategic Plan, 2010-2014, addressing initiatives to increase engagement and service to our audience; better showcase the Museum’s value; increase earned revenue and diversify contributions; strengthen and evaluate existing exhibits, programs and collaborations; develop an operational management plan; and position Habitot for growth, transition and future relocation.

The Infant-Toddler Garden exhibit was renovated, and a refurbished Medical Center exhibit returned with a Veterinary Wing. Over 65,000 visitors were served by Habitot in 2011, 10% of whom received free or reduced admission as low-income visitors or attended special programs.

With new funding, the Family Engagement Program adds incarcerated mothers and their children to tailored visit times for teen parents, homeless families, families with special needs children and other vulnerable families, thanks to grants from Yahoo! Inc. and the Trio Foundation. Habitot was recognized for the second year as a “2011 Top Rated Nonprofit” by Great Nonprofits and as the “Best Indoor Play Place” by readers of Parents’ Press in their annual “Best of” Awards.


Thanks to a decade of support from State Farm Insurance Companies, Habitot held its 10th annual Early Childhood Safety Campaign which has reached tens of thousands of parents over the years with car seat checks, safety trainings, demonstrations and information to help keep young children safe.

Habitot expanded its community outreach this year, placing its "Medical Center" and "Back to the Farm" exhibits at Lotus Bloom's community play center in the low-income San Antonio neighborhood in Oakland where there are few play options for children. We launched 'Habitot at Home,' new visit times for homeless families as part of the ongoing Family Engagement Program.

Our 2nd annual “Preschool Teachers Make a Difference” Awards received double the number of nominations as in 2009. Habitot was recognized as a “Top-Rated Educational Nonprofit 2010” by Great Nonprofits, a partner site of GuideStar and Charity Navigator.


Habitot launched the 1st “Preschool Teachers Make a Difference” Awards to recognize and honor our collaborators in helping young children reach their potential. A distinguished panel of judges selected eleven preschool teachers from dozens of nominations from throughout the Bay Area who were honored at a ceremony at the Museum.

Habitot partnered with Boston's Project Joy to offer the first West Coast training retreat in “Basic Playmaker Training” for 45 low-income preschool teachers. Habitot received a “Best of the Gay Bay” award for its welcome of gay and lesbian parents. Habitot received continuation funding for its Family Engagement Program from Alameda County First 5 through 2011.


Habitot celebrated its 10th Birthday Anniversary and reaching over 750,000 visitors. This year, we were voted the “Best Museum for Little Kids” in the Bay Area by Nickelodeon's ParentsConnect's Parents' Picks Contest.

Habitot co-hosted the “Play Around the Bay” Symposium along with the Alliance for Childhood and the East Bay Funders Network to draw attention to the importance of children's play. Over 90 play advocates and activists attended. Speakers from around the Bay shared information about innovative projects that are on-going or are under development in playgrounds, recreation centers, parks and housing projects that are helping to restore the experience of play for children.

We held the 11th Annual Contemporary Art Show of works by children under 7, for the first time, displaying the mounted and framed works in civic centers, offices, libraries and eateries throughout the East Bay.


Habitot received a two-year, $150,000 grant from Alameda County First 5 to further develop comprehensive parenting education and support programs for teen parents, special needs families and caregivers and other vulnerable families. Weekly drop-in parent support groups were launched. Over 180 parents participated by year's end.


Habitot's Founder, Gina Moreland, was recognized with a “Jefferson Award” for creating and sustaining Habitot Children's Museum. She also received an “Early Childhood Champion” proclamation from the City of Berkeley. Audience reached 88,000, including 8,000 served in off-site programs. Low income family participation exceeded 12% of audience though active teen parent, caregiver support and diverse family programs. Free admission days welcomed over 7,000 visitors.


We launched an 'Opening Doors' fund for relocating the museum and raised contributions toward exhibits in a future museum facility. Habitot deepened its staffing and management structure with the hiring of a managing director. We accepted a donation of contemporary art work from painter, Roger Goldenberg.


Habitot received Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) award for its “Art Reach Program.” Revamped website, drawing hundreds of new visitors a year. Leased additional office space for fundraising staff, administration and inventory storage, reaching 6,900 sq. ft. in total. Habitot's 5-year Strategic Plan revised through 2010. Began working with commercial real estate brokers to identify new facility.


Completed Parent Education Signage project, installing interactive exhibit signs highlighting children's learning in each exhibit. “Medical Center” exhibit opens. Hosted "Take A Seat for Habitot" fundraising event and raised $55,000 . Family outreach visitors reach 10% of our audience. Completed IMLS Museum Self Assessment on public perception issues; 80,000 visitors.


To deepen adult visitors' understanding of the child behavior frequently seen at the Museum, we published a set of Parent-to-Parent brochures on Sharing, Biting and Hitting, Making Transitions and Anger Management and distributed them widely. Began hosting Early Childhood Literacy events in collaboration with local libraries, children's book authors and others. Opened “Blast Off to Outer Space” exhibit with a Rocketship and Mission Control console. Completed feasibility study of Habitot's capacity to grow. Low-income family outreach visitors reach 8% of our audience.


In its new Classroom Annex, Habitot expanded its birthday and museum rental program. Opened “Recycling Center” rotating exhibit. Launched an Art Reach program of off-site arts programming in local schools, developing fee-for-service revenue and reaching more preschoolers with open-ended art. Launched an Early Childhood Safety Campaign designed to address the high number of accidents and injuries among preschool aged children. 65,000 annual visitors.


Raised $60,000 in funds to lease, build-out and open Habitot, Too, an adjacent 1,100 sq. ft. classroom annex. Began offering children’s classes and camps year-round and parenting workshops in the evening, eventually raising $80,000 in earned class revenue and serving 1,500 children and parents a year. “Firehouse” rotating exhibit opened. Board adopted its first 5-Year Strategic Plan, 2000-2004. Annual visitation reaches 60,000.


Habitot received City and private grants to initiate youth employment program eventually hiring 20+ high school/college students per year. Multicultural events and seasonal programs began on weekends. Opened “Back to the Farm” exhibit in its rotating space. 50,000 museum visitors.


Advance member sales, fundraising events and individual donations raised $200,000 and a 4,000 sq. ft. space was leased, built-out and opened in downtown Berkeley, April 1998. 30,000 people visited in first year. Habitot launched a Family Outreach Program to broaden and diversify audience; opened a Gift Store and the first of many rotating exhibits, “Rocky Coast.” Presented at the Museum the first annual Art Fair of preschooler art created in Habitot's Art Studio, classes or community programs.


“Waterworks” traveling exhibit completed after raising $40,000. The exhibit embarked on tour of 36 East Bay sites to help build support for Habitot. 5,000 people joined mailing list over the three-year tour.


Habitot Children's Museum was founded by parents and educators to meet the unique needs and interests of infants, toddlers and preschoolers in the East Bay. Community volunteers joined the effort and over the next three years, established a Board of Directors, published a Prospectus, started a newsletter, raised funds, and began work on a traveling exhibit.

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