Response to COVID-19
The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum has taken the preventive measure of closing as of March 15, 2020 to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
As a hands-on Museum that serves families, the health and wellness of our visitors, members, volunteers and staff are our top priority.
Social distancing, cleaning, and reopening guidelines that have been established by New York State to help limit the spread of COVID-19 prohibit us from reopening at this time due to the “high touch” nature of our exhibits and programs. Furthermore, New York State-mandated restrictions on indoor gatherings and operational requirements for reduced capacity have further challenged our business model which relies on income generated through admissions and program participation.
When Will MHCM Reopen?
For the last several months, MHCM has been evaluating options that will best allow us to reopen safely. With the COVID-19 infection rates continuing to increase to an all time high nationally, it is likely that our main building will remain closed well into 2021.
The state of the world is constantly evolving, and today’s plans may not be tomorrow’s plans. We appreciate your patience and support as we develop our reopening plans in accordance with the current guidelines of federal, state and local health authorities.
Museum Membership During COVID-19
Please note that all active MHCM memberships were frozen on March 15, 2020 – the date we closed – and will be unfrozen when we reopen. This ensures that all MHCM members retain the balance of time and benefits remaining on their membership once we are able to welcome you and your little ones back inside the museum.
Due to our closure, we have had to pause our participation in ACM and ASTC reciprocal programs since we are unable to welcome members from other participating museums. Upon reopening, we will be rejoining these programs.
MHCM Activities During Closure
Poughkeepsie Waterfront Market. MHCM stands out among museums nationwide in that one of our core programs is a public farmers market. In the height of the pandemic, we opened our season one month early to help connect people with fresh, healthy food. We have just concluded our longest ever farmers market season, which ran weekly from May 4th through October 26th.
Peace Rock Community Art Project. In response to nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism, MHCM invited families to participate in its first community art project by creating and delivering hand-painted rocks with messages of unity and hope to the gardens at the Museum.
Socially Distanced Outdoor Programs. In August, MHCM held a series of interactive outdoor programs that were delivered in our pavilion. These sold out quickly due to limited capacity, so we continued these programs through September.
Feeding our Neighbors. We put our Children’s Garden into production mode and, with the help of student volunteers from Arlington High School’s Impact Initiative, we donated over 200 pounds of fresh vegetables to families residing in the Rip Van Winkle House Apartments.
(NEW!) Creating a Mobile Pop-Up Museum. With schools adopting remote and hybrid learning models for the 2020-2021 school year, and with field trips cancelled for this same time period, MHCM is partnering with NASA and NISEnet to create a mobile pop-up museum that will travel to communities throughout the region to deliver “Space Science at Your Doorstep.” We have purchased a van and are currently developing six different outdoor programs that can be brought to housing complexes, neighborhoods, libraries, community centers and parks starting in spring 2021.
Re-Imagining MHCM for Post-COVID. While we are closed, we are using the time to re-imagine our museum and our exhibit and program experience. We are excited by the possibility of expanding our age range to include exhibits for older children and to increase our offerings in STEM.
How to Help Us Transform
Museums, like so many other nonprofit organizations, are under intense financial stress due to forced closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are able to support our work, please consider making a charitable contribution in support of our efforts. We will put your gift to work immediately to ensure that the Museum reopens with exciting, new experiences for you and your family. Your support really matters and is most appreciated!
UPDATE: New Federal Legislation to Encourage Philanthropic Giving
As you consider your gift, please know that the recently passed $2 trillion U.S. stimulus package contains tax benefits to individuals and businesses who make charitable contributions in this time of tremendous need, including:
For the rest of 2020, individuals will be able to deduct up to $300 for cash gifts to qualified charitable organizations, regardless of whether or not they itemize.
For the year 2020, individuals will be able to deduct cash contributions to charitable organizations up to 100% of the adjusted gross income (AGI) – the previous limit was 60%. This is an election, so donors who wish to use this provision must report their decision to the IRS. Any contributions in excess of the donor’s total adjusted gross income may be carried forward for up to five additional years. (These contributions need to go to individual nonprofits and cannot be used to fund Donor Advised Funds or Supporting Organizations.)
Corporations will now be able to take advantage of charitable deductions up to 25% of their taxable income, an increase from the former 10% limit.