Children’s Museum at Holyoke names Jenny Powers new executive director

  • Holyoke Children’s Museum in Holyoke, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • Jenny Powers is the new executive director of the Children’s Museum at Holyoke. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 12/29/2021 11:15:00 AM
Modified: 12/29/2021 11:14:33 AM

HOLYOKE — The Children’s Museum at Holyoke has named a new executive director.

In an announcement Tuesday, the Children’s Museum said that Jenny Powers has been appointed as the organization’s executive director. Previously the family engagement coordinator at Springfield Museums, Powers has lived in Holyoke for more than two decades and has a long history of devoting her time to the Girl Scouts in Holyoke.

“I’m thrilled,” Powers said Wednesday, noting that she often brought her own child, now 18, to the museum. “I spent so much time here … Jo and I came here every single week when Jo was little.”

Powers immediately steps into a difficult situation as COVID-19 cases surge to record highs across the region. On Wednesday, the museum announced that it will indefinitely close in order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“It is COVID related, I think as a museum – a children’s museum especially – we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard,” Powers said. “It’s just a true abundance of caution.”

Powers said that the job leading the Children’s Museum was her dream gig and that she looks forward to expanding the museum’s programming once it reopens.

She said that one of her specialties is audience growth and that she is a big proponent of “radical welcoming” at museums.

“Museums are for everyone,” Powers said.

This year, the Children’s Museum celebrated its 40th anniversary. The Junior League founded the Children’s Museum at Holyoke in 1981, and it has provided cultural and educational programming for children in the area ever since.

Powers said that she intends to work at creating more family programs at the Children’s Museum, including offerings for those with little children and for adults as well.

“We’re just really excited in our next school vacation weeks to add some extras and have some extra fun,” she said. “This is a place for intentional play. When you bring your children here, they’re learning.”

The work of envisioning those programs and future activities will begin immediately amid the closure, Powers added.

“During these troubled times, I’m really lucky I get to look out the window at the canals,” she said. “This gives me a little extra time to dream up what we can do to serve more children.”

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.
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