Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sonoma Medicine

The magazine of the Sonoma County Medical Association

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A Place to Play, Pretend and Explore

Maria Pappas

When their 8-year-old granddaughter, Ella Bisbee, passed away in 2010, Dr. George and Sue Bisbee experienced an outpouring of love and support from the community. To celebrate Ella’s joy in doing hands-on art projects, the Bisbees decided to partner with the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County, which is still under construction, to establish the Ella Bisbee Art Studio. “We wanted to create a place where children like Ella could be creative and grow through art,” recalled Sue, a longtime member of the SCMA Alliance.

Both Sue and George, a Santa Rosa internist and Children’s Museum board member, believe that the children’s museum will serve as a valuable community resource. “It will be a place for young children to explore and learn, as well as to cultivate their creativity and imaginations,” said Sue.

Inspired by the Bisbees’ example, the SCMA Alliance Foundation is proud to announce its sponsorship of a new Health & Science Lab at the Children’s Museum. The lab will be located inside the museum’s Science and Imagination Gallery, not far from the Ella Bisbee Art Studio.

“The Alliance has an 85-year history of commitment to children, families and this community,” said SCMAA Foundation President Shawn Devlin. “By investing in the museum’s Health & Science Lab, we will be able to reach our youngest community members, giving them an unmatched opportunity to play, pretend and explore--all while learning more about their health. By introducing the roles of healthcare professionals to children, we hope to inspire some of them to one day see themselves as our next generation of medical caregivers.”

The Health & Science Lab will offer children the opportunity to engage in role-playing as a physician or nurse. Wearing scrubs and stethoscopes, children will learn about their health and discover how they can stay healthy, using their bodies’ fascinating built-in capacities to avoid illness. Fun and interactive features will include children’s microscopes to magnify samples and allow easy viewing for little eyes, along with eye exam charts and iPads with applications for viewing layers of the human body. In one exhibit, children will place their hands on a metal plate and literally hear the rhythm of their heartbeats played on a metal drum.

“Having the support of community leaders like the SCMAA Foundation propels our momentum and helps ground the museum in what makes Sonoma County so special,” said Collette Michaud, CEO and founder of the Children’s Museum. “We are so grateful for this relationship in helping the museum make an impact on the lives of all children in our community.”

The Children’s Museum started in 2005 as a mobile “museum on the go.” Since then, the mobile museum has served over 14,000 children at 52 schools, many of which have large populations of economically disadvantaged students. The permanent home of the museum is currently under construction adjacent to the Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. When Phase 1 of the Children’s Museum opens to public this spring, it will continue to serve low-income neighborhoods and underserved populations, making the museum a resource for all local families.

Research by the Association of Children’s Museums (www.childrensmuseums.org) has shown that access to a children’s museum strengthens communities by providing youth with foundational skills that shape their future learning. Through play in informal learning environments, children achieve specific learning objectives primarily because they are excited about what they are learning.

“Being part of this amazing project has made us aware of what a great community we live in,” reflected Sue. “The Children’s Museum will add to the richness of what we have here.”

As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the SCMAA Foundation is run exclusively by volunteers. Funds to support creation of the Health & Science Lab will be raised through the Foundation’s 23rd annual Garden Tour, scheduled for May 16-17 in Healdsburg. You can contribute to the success of the Garden Tour and the Health & Science Lab by becoming a sponsor today. For more details, visit www.scmaa.org/garden/sponsorship.php.

Ms. Pappas is vice president for marketing & communications at the SCMA Alliance & Foundation.

Email: communications@scmaa.org

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