Investing in the Power of Families Grant Creates Community Collaboration

The Historical Museum of Bay County, located in Bay City, has reason to celebrate. A national organization, Parent as Teachers, has awarded a $10,000 grant to fund two programs, Power of Families and Preschool Tuesdays, and also the installation of the PBS Raising Readers Room on the second floor of the Museum. These preschool programs were developed through a partnership with Bay-Arenac Great Start, Starting Strong, Delta Kids, Michigan Learning Channel, and the Bay County Library System (BCLS). These resources will be free to families with young children.

The need for this type of programming in Bay County was apparent to Jill Pfeiffer, Media and Outreach Coordinator at the Museum, when she was a new mother. Her first years as a parent living in Bay City were difficult and lonely. Pfeiffer’s support system was composed solely of her husband, who worked 10+ hours/ day. It improved when she and her child attended the Early Learning playgroups and Bay County Library System story times. These programs allowed her to meet other parents who were having similar experiences. They became Pfeiffer’s friends and support network. Now she is using her position at the Bay County Historical Society to influence Museum programming for preschoolers.

Other community members recognize the need to provide programs and space for preschool families to network. Rich Van Tol, Great Start Director, has been working to provide solutions. He stated, “Over the past 5-years, we’ve noticed trends in our program data reflecting that families in our community feel isolated and disconnected. In addition, young children lack opportunities to play and socialize with other children in safe and educational settings. As one way to encourage families to network, establish relationships, and build social bridges, community agencies are collaborating to establish a wide array of social networking and child development events. The Power of Families events are just one example of a host of opportunities that may be found on Great Lakes Bay Parents and STEM Pipeline website calendars to address issues concerning family and child isolation and the stress that results from feeling disconnected.”

The museum welcomes the opportunity of more young families exploring the galleries. Families can use their time to network, but also provide their little ones with an interactive experience that may spark an interest in history and museums. In addition, Delta Kids has installed a PBS Raising Readers Room on the second floor of the building. The room will have books supplied by the BCLS. Cora Schaeff, Children’s Librarian Department Head, shared the BCLS excitement, “True to our mission, we are pleased to collaborate with our community partners to offer affordable and educational opportunities for families to connect with one another. By providing a literacy rich environment in which to gather, we are working to grow the children of our community into successful readers and lifelong learners.” The PBS Raising Readers Room will have preschool toys available to play with and a media center for families to explore PBS online resources. Lauren Saj, Station Engagement Coordinator of Delta College Public Media and Michigan Learning Channel shared that “Delta College Public Media is excited for the opportunity to partner with families, community organizations and BAISD Starting Strong, to bring families together in a shared experience to encourage families to learn, network and explore. We are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to share, engage, and teach families about the free resources PBS and the Michigan Learning Channel has to offer. Not only will there be a new PBS Raising Readers space for families to interact and read in, but this will offer a safe and cozy environment for future families to join together. We can’t wait to see the impact that the Power of Family events, Preschool Tuesdays, and Reading Room will truly have in our community!”

Mark your calendars for the following dates:

PRESCHOOL TUESDAYS (starting March 5th) on Tuesdays, 10 AM – 4 PM

Preschooler + adult are invited to stop by the Museum any time from 10 AM – 4 PM to complete the PRESCHOOL MUSEUM CHALLENGE – TRANSPORTATION.

Together you can explore the galleries for clues to complete the challenge, discover Delta College’s PBS Raising Readers Room with books supplied by the Bay County Library System, and play at the activity table. Stop by the Museum Store for a to-go activity and a coupon for a treat from McDonalds.

Admission: FREE

POWER OF FAMILIES: Playtime at the Museum on March 19, 5 – 6 PM.

Calling all PRESCHOOLERS AND THEIR ADULTS!! Visit the Museum for a special evening just for you. Enjoy a snack while learning about the many PBS resources available to families. Complete the Preschool Museum Challenge, create with Starting Strong and Bay-Arenac Great Start, and explore PBS Kids with Delta Kids in the PBS Raising Readers Room.

Registration is required:

Call 989-893-5733 or ONLINE

Sponsored by Bay-Arenac Great Start, Delta Kids, Parents As Teachers National Center, and Bay County Library System.

To learn more about the Museum and its upcoming programs visit the website at