M.O.M. Inspiration, from the U.S. and Ireland to Russia with Love

I’m laid out after a double party shift at M.O.M. yesterday, and in the final week of Jocelyn Stitt’s online graduate studies course in Maternal Theory being offered out of MSU.

There’s a WLIW special on public TV, celebrating 25 years of the Irish Repertory Theater in NYC.

Aimee Brill brings Doula Trainings International to the Museum of Motherhood

Aimee Brill brings Doula Trainings International to the Museum of Motherhood

The founders are talking about their early years, when they cleaned the toilets, answered the phones and hung lights. In an interview, conducted by Tom Hanks regarding their ‘success’ they answered ‘We did what needed to be done“, and finished with the quote ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”

As you all know, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to create M.O.M. without the generosity of local GYMBOREE franchise owners Deb Whitefield and Barry Hanson. I often pinch myself at the end of the month, when we are ‘still here’, opening our doors to the public, 22 months after our ‘four month’ pop up experiment began. And, yes, I am still “doing whatever needs to be done,” just like the Irish Rep founders.

This was an especially exhausting week. It can be discouraging when summer playground season hits and our community members opt for the park over our interior space. We still put in the same amount of effort, but the financial returns are not forthcoming.

Still, we are approximately doubling what our contribution was to rent a year ago, and since I’m not in a position to personally finance M.O.M. anymore, that is a good thing.

Lisa Lacholia joined the team as our new Community Program Director. She has some plans for September which could result in additional fiscal solvency. Lisa’s deep roots within the community on the Upper East Side and spirit of volunteerism have made her an advocate for organizations like Inwood House and Carl Schurz Park to name a few. She has lots of great ideas and we are optimistic about our program development among other things.

Additionally, I’ll be teaching an Intro to Mother Studies‘ out of the museum this summer to a mixed age group. Ashley Cohen, a recent nursing school graduate will be facilitating as well. Our six high school interns and at least one Marymount Manhattan College student have signed up for this free six-week course. Using materials from Dr. Andrea O’Reilly’s Demeter Press, films, articles and nursing texts exploring the ‘Biological Imperative’, we’ll examine historical perspectives and current economic trends. More about the course here.

This course comes on the heels of Laura Tropp’s ’Mediating Motherhood: Historical and Contemporary Representations of the Mother‘ class which placed 15 students in the museum to perform research and outreach as a ‘Community Service Project’. We’re excited to see how this will continue to develop and bridge the gap between the ‘academia’ and general public. Also, great thanks to Dr. Aurelie Athan, who’s Columbia Teachers College, ‘Mother Matrix‘, graduate clinical psych class helped to launch the new IFF website by contributing content throughout the year. Archivist Henna Taylor has done a great job building out content, and we look forward to continuing the process.

Here’s a shout out to Julie Labate who worked for us for the better part of the last year and a half. She’s gone on to full time employment in her area of study, archeology. She’ll remain on our advisory board and we wish her the best. Also, congratulations to our Columbia School of Social Work graduate Jenny Koza. Jenny spent the 2012-2013 academic year with us behind the front desk at M.O.M., helping to develop systems for registering and accounting for museum guests as well as researching education programs for potential future ‘matriarchal studies programs‘ at M.O.M., Jenny remains on board part time to oversee accounting and systems management.

Lastly, this note came in from Russia this morning:

 Dear friend,

My name is Alexandra Lapteva, I am 87 years old and I am a veteran of WWII. Twice I’ve been to the US and was lucky to attend your museum.

It always brought me great pleasure. You make great  contribution to public education.

Now I want to make a request for a book or photo album about your

museum. In the future, I plan to give this book to the school where I

studied, so children could have an opportunity  to learn about the

museum and your country. I wish you good health and success in yourwork. Thank you!


A. L.

Tulskaya oblast, Russia

I guess this means we’ll be putting a book together over the summer to better share our experiences at M.O.M. with the world. Fortunately our summer intern Anthony Rooney is a ‘English and World Literatures’ major, with a minor in ‘Journalism’ in his senior year at Marymount. Anthony, head’s up! There is still so much to be done. We have only just begun.

Love – Joy Rose, Founding Director M.O.M.


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