Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of families in Snohomish County, looks forward to its reopening and annual fundraiser at the end of September. SnohomishTalk recently joined Melissa Siv, District Branch Manager at the Peoples Bank Everett Financial Center, and Nancy Johnson, Executive Director of Imagine Children’s Museum, to talk about the role of the museum in the community and the importance of local partnerships to support its growth.

Peoples Bank Everett
Peoples Bank’s Melissa Siv is part of the fundraising committee bringing the September 24th event to the community. “We’re creating an opportunity for adults to experience the museum the way children do when they visit.” Photo courtesy: Peoples Bank

For a community rich in diversity and families, organizations like Imagine Children’s Museum are a focal point in healthy youth development. “The purpose of the museum is to improve the lives of children through playful learning and education,” says Johnson. “Every child comes accompanied to the museum by a caring adult and we are here to support that adult-child interaction while helping them in all areas of the child’s development and well-being.”

In the museum itself, there are hundreds of activities for families to use creativity and inspiration throughout their visit. “Think of it as an interactive play space where kids take part in all types of activities that they may not have access to otherwise,” Johnson says. “The museum is here for them to explore and create, discover, learn, and imagine — all the things we know are really important to their life-long love of learning and success in school.”

Imagine Children’s Museum understands the need for a variety of special programming geared toward every niche in the community. “We have visits to the museum, field trips, and enrichment programs that are a special 45-minute or hour-long class,” says Johnson. “We also have programming for all different types of interests and needs within the community.”

Peoples Bank Everett
“The museum is here for them to explore and create, discover, learn, and imagine,” says museum Executive Director Nancy Johnson. Photo courtesy: Peoples Bank

Programs for special communities are designed to enhance experiences for different circumstances. “Something like grandparents raising grandchildren on their own is a big undertaking and often those family units have a lot of needs,” Johnson says. “We also have special programming for children with sensory disorders, which are held at specific times; so, if their family feels like it’s easier for them to visit at those times, there won’t be as many people in the museum. We have another program for children who have incarcerated loved ones, as they face a unique set of challenges. These are just a few examples.”

Like other museums across the country, Imagine Children’s Museum was forced to close during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It used much of that time to focus on a major new expansion. Its new wing has three double-volume floors, which doubles the museum’s original size and adds dozens of new innovative learning exhibits. To celebrate, the museum will have a reopening after Labor Day for the general public. As of right now, it is only open to members on select days. On the heels of the reopening, the museum will hold its most important fundraiser this year on the evening of September 24.

Peoples Bank Everett
The museum offers wonderful exhibits like this one, on gray whale migration, that help children learn through play. Photo courtesy: Peoples Bank

“This will be the only fundraiser we have this year,” says Johnson. “These events are critical to upholding the operation of the museum, the expenses we have for programs that aren’t paid through other funding sources, and all the standard costs we have for the year.”

Peoples Bank has been a devoted patron and support system for the museum over the years with employees like Melissa Siv taking an active role in the organization.

“Peoples Bank has always been a champion of Imagine Children’s Museum, and we’ve had many employees participate in fundraising events or contribute their expertise as board members,” Siv says. “I’m a part of the fundraising committee, which is planning and hosting the upcoming fundraiser. We’re creating an opportunity for adults to experience the museum the way children do when they visit. It’s fun to be a kid again, right?”

Peoples Bank Everett
The new, expanded Imagine Children’s Museum includes a wildlife rescue play area. Photo courtesy: Peoples Bank

At the core of Peoples Bank, family is what matters most. “Peoples Bank is a family-owned and managed company,” says Siv. “I’ve been with this company for 15 years and our culture at the bank thrives on homegrown, organic, family-oriented type of growth. I also live in Everett and have two children under the age of five and the museum is a safe place for my kids to go where I can feel comfortable with what they’re doing and what they’re learning. Imagine Children’s Museum has an amazing mission, and their programs are instrumental in improving the overall health and success of children and families throughout Snohomish County.”

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