January 3, 2023

Meet the Member: North Shore Children’s Museum

by Arielle Kaplan

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Interviewee: Ali Haydock (she/her)

In your words… Tell us about your organization, business, initiative.

The North Shore Children’s Museum is a children’s museum located in downtown Peabody, geared toward ages 2-10. The NSCM believes in providing access to an immersive learning experience for all children, regardless of economic status, physical or mental abilities, or background. As one of the only children’s museums in the region, the NSCM serves as a destination for families across Northeast Massachusetts, while also serving as a community-strengthener for local residents.

The NSCM believes in playing to learn and learning to play. Through play-based learning, children are given a unique and flexible learning environment where they have the freedom to imagine, create, and explore. The NSCM has 14 diverse, themed exhibits, all with educational and interactive components, in a wide-variety of subject areas, including STEM, gross motor, sensory, farm to table, insects, trains, storytelling, and more.

The NSCM includes a large workshop room, which hosts enriching activities, playgroups, workshops, and programs in science and technology, creative arts, physical development, and social and emotional development. The workshop space will also be available to rent for private parties.

Tell us a bit about you and why you do what you do? Share your passions for your business, initiative, organization.

Ali has spent her career as a fundraiser for Harvard, Mass General, and, most recently, Peabody’s Citizens Inn. With an MBA in nonprofit management, Ali uses a collaborative and creative approach to lead the NSCM. Ali’s best advisors are her three young kids.

What role do you think your business plays in supporting a more creative community? OR your community in general. (Bonus! Why do you think a more creative community is important?)

The North Shore Children’s Museum engages the community’s artists, performers, and educators through our exhibit development process and in our weekly workshops. As a result, our museum is one-of-a-kind, with unique and special details in every corner. By supporting creativity, we are encouraging self-expression and modeling ways that the children we serve can do the same.

What was the last book you read OR What was the last video you watched that made an impact on you?

I recently read “Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland’s Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World” by Eliza Reid, the first lady of Iceland. It shed light on what life could be like in a society where sexes are treated equally. As a feminist and a mom to a 3-year old daughter, this issue is close to my heart. I am passionate about our museum’s mission to positively impact and enhance the lives of the next generation who face other systemic challenges – be it inequality, cycles of poverty, or lack of access to education. We are a museum that strives to provide access to everyone, regardless of physical and mental abilities, ability to pay, or background.

What’s the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you our your business?

The North Shore Children’s Museum was an empty bank in dire need of repair just three months prior to our grand opening. With an incredible team of talented artists, board members, city employees, and strong municipal support, we were able to convert the 7,500 sq. feet to a playful, unique, and educational space for the community. If not for the huge iron safe near our lobby, you would never know it used to be a bank!

What is Creative Collective?

Creative Collective is a group of economic development strategists, small business supporters, activation specialists, and believers in the importance of the creative workforce. We foster growth, sustainability, and scalability for small businesses, creative thinkers, organizations, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Learn more and join Creative Collective at www.creativecollectivema.com/join


North Shore Children’s Museum

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The North Shore Children’s Museum believes an accessible and inclusive museum must address each visitor’s experience. The North Shore Children’s Museum features hands-on exhibits designed to provide a fun and enriching learning experience for children ages 2-10. Located in downtown Peabody, the museum is located in the heart of the North Shore, serving children from Northeast Massachusetts and beyond.