Children’s museums in Utica, Phoenix are exchanging virtual Valentine’s Day

UTICA – The tradition of trading physical Valentine’s cards at school has been put on hold this year. That’s why the Utica Children’s Museum has partnered with the Phoenix Children’s Museum in Arizona to host a one-of-a-kind virtual Valentine’s Day exchange abroad.

The call for entries was launched by both museums earlier this month and a number of virtual Valentines were received on UCM’s Facebook page. The artwork was collected and exchanged, and then each museum posted the other city’s creations on Facebook on Valentine’s Day.

Children had the opportunity to create an individual work of art and add a personal message, but also to reflect on the geography of the project as well as the different climates and weather patterns that the two cities are currently experiencing. In a post from the Museum in Phoenix, they said that the forecast predicted that it would only be 25 degrees in Utica for Valentine’s Day, while in Phoenix they would enjoy sunny 70 degrees. They urged their audience to send some warmth to Upstate NY by making valentines.

Many of the Valentines submitted were thoughtful and empathetic, expressing good wishes and security to one another, and including encouraging words such as “We will get through this”.

Donna Migliaccio, director of the Utica Children’s Museum, said: “We have worked hard to create fun, unique experiences while our museum is closed and we are making our way through the pandemic. Valentine’s Day gave us the perfect opportunity to spread some love by partnering with another children’s museum and giving children a memorable opportunity to exchange Valentines in a non-traditional way. “

“We were thrilled to be contacted by the Utica Children’s Museum to participate in this exchange! The pure energy of a handmade Valentine is the perfect way to add a little light and spread a little love, and sharing that coast-to-coast energy is exactly what we need right now. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with the Utica Children’s Museum and see how much love their community has to share, ”said Melissa Hauer, Membership Coordinator
for the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.

Special thanks to Westmoreland Central School District and Z13 coordinator Lisa Davis for accepting this project, the announcement added.

“Westmorelands ZI3 (Zone for Imagination, Innovation and Inspiration) was excited to partner with the Utica Children’s Museum and the Children’s Museum in Phoenix to spread friendship and kindness across the country,” said Davis.

“We all experienced difficulties and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and because of this, we have focused on empathy and compassion for others in our school. This was a great way to expand our initiative to reach others outside of our school and community, ”added Davis.

“Students were able to decorate cards, draw pictures, write letters, and send encouraging thoughts and wishes to our friends in Arizona. Thank you Utica Children’s Museum for letting us be part of this experience, ”said Davis.

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