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The Early Years: Figuring It Out in Afterschool Programming and Working with Community Agencies

Written by Bernie Zubrowski

When I was hired in 1970, the museum had received an NEA grant to work with community agencies in the low-income neighborhoods of Boston. This funding initiative was part of a national movement in the museum world at the time to reach out to new audiences and make the resources of museums available to them. Concurrently, the mayor of Boston, Kevin White, had started Summerthing, a collection of summer programs that reached out to low-income urban communities, bringing to them special arts programming and related activities. There was a climate in Boston—and in the entire country—at the time that this was an effort worthy of attention and funding.

For the first eight years, as part of the museum's Community Service Team, I specialized in science programming; other team members focused on arts, crafts, and cultural awareness activities. This group effort mostly involved providing monthly training workshops for afterschool and summer program leaders, but some of us also went out and worked directly with children at various community centers around the city—an activity that was particularly interesting and satisfying to me.

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