Annual Report

Annual Report

Friends,

 

The year 2020 was a catalyst to discovery, innovation, and finding out how strong we can be when asked to face the impossible.

When complexities are met with curiosity, determination, and adaptability, these challenges are reduced to their most basic form: unknowns in need of exploration.

Curiosity invigorated us as we responded to once-unimaginable scenarios. The natural resiliency and drive of children inspired us to study each complex facet of education during a global pandemic and to co-conceive and apply creative solutions to ensure joyful learning never stops.

It was during the most uncertain of times, our closure in March, when “What if” became our launchpad into redefining what it means to be an educational institution and to thrive under nearly implausible conditions.

What if we accelerated the production of our virtual learning platform and connected newly homeschooled children to targeted, research-supported exploration experiences?

What if we aligned educator professional development programming around the virtual school experiences of young learners?

What if we made sure that San Antonio’s neediest families continued to have access to hands-on learning across physical and digital divides?

Out of “What if” sprang the early launch of DO It At Home, our virtual learning platform for hands-on STEM, arts, and literacy exploration.

“What if” fueled two new open-enrollment professional development programs designed to equip educators with a specialized toolkit for this new era of complexity, and beyond.

“What if” expanded our admission discount structures to include more families of school-age children impacted by the pandemic.

Through the power of “What If”, The DoSeum continues to share and celebrate a culture of hands-on exploration, curiosity, and wonder.

We are committed to maintaining a full suite of evidence-based educational content and experiences for all young learners in all contexts.

The continual support of our community of stake holders remains vital to our success and supports the education journey of children across San Antonio and beyond. Thank you for your support – we hope to see you soon.

Over the past five years, The DoSeum has positioned itself as a joyful and engaging space that inspires young minds to learn through play. The DoSeum has proudly presented a wide array of exhibits and programs that ignite curiosity, promote joyful learning, and develop positive attitudes toward STEM, the arts, and literacy.

Thanks to exceptional leadership and a passionate and dedicated staff, the organization has evolved to offer a great number of community driven programs and initiatives that serve San Antonio’s community—at its campus and beyond its walls. These offerings provide services and programs for a wide array of audiences with distinct needs, and include programs such as The Little Doers preschool and Wee Doers programs for the youngest learners; The GoSeum, which takes The DoSeum into the community; Beyond Limits and other sensory-friendly programs for neurodiverse learners; expanding Daily Programming with workshops and pop-up activities for Guests, and professional development opportunities for educators across the City. Since opening five years ago, The DoSeum has worked with 1,000 teachers from across the city in our professional development program, welcomed over 4,000 children in our camp programs, reached over 40,000 learners through its GoSeum program, and has welcomed 100,000 students on field trips–over 30,000 of whom visited for free with the museum’s DoSeum for All scholarship program.

DoSeum CEO Daniel Menelly’s vision for the museum’s future includes a variety of initiatives and projects that will further position The DoSeum as a premier informal educational resource and destination. These initiatives include collaboration and partnerships with experimental and exploratory school models such as The Gathering Place--a public school with a focus on art, social justice, and project-based learning--and The DoSeum's Design Studio, which works with communities and organizations to craft unique designs for exhibits, educational programs, and interactive experiences that empower all curious learners through STEM, literacy, and arts education.

“As we collectively reflect on the past five years and look into The DoSeum’s future, we hope to realize our vision to become a premier informal educational resource, where we cultivate curious, innovative learners capable of mastering the opportunities of tomorrow.” said Daniel Menelly, “Partnerships and collaboration with other leaders in formal and informal education, as well as with the City of San Antonio, will help us sustain our commitment to our community and prepare our children for the future.”

From camps and family workshops to our galleries and exhibits, The DoSeum’s educational portfolio is a well-curated set of offerings for the families and educators of San Antonio. To build awareness of our capabilities and showcase our in-house talent, The DoSeum launched the Do It At Home online portal. This initiative represents a very close collaboration between the museum’s Education and Marketing teams, combining the talents of both departments to produce materials that are rooted within sound educational approaches while ensuring that content is engaging, original, and representative of our audience’s needs.

Do It At Home was originally released across three categories: Storytime, DIY Activities, and Ask A Doer, in addition to featuring various activities.

Storytime includes readings for both our younger and slightly older audiences, and includes both English and Spanish entries. Our DIY Activities present a suite of activities–from catapults to ball runs–using household items and supplies. They are also mapped to the Texas education standards (TEKS). Finally, are zebras black with white stripes or white with black stripes? You can find this answer and more to science and nature-based questions in our Ask A DOer segment. Answering questions submitted by children, Ask A Doer–like our two other video series–features members from our very own DoSeum team.

When launching in March of 2020, Do It At Home (DIAH) helped drive traffic to our website and strike engagement across our social media channels–a great aid to stay with followers at a time when our doors were closed to the public. Since the initial launch, the DIAH home videos have reached upwards of 90,000 users per month.

As we look ahead, our goal is to continue driving engagement through new content that will push us creatively and build on the great success established in 2020.

As an educational leader and convener for joyful learning experiences, we cherish the role we’ve played in connecting families and transforming communities over the past 25 years. As San Antonio’s premier museum for children, we have always taken great care to provide a safe and healthy place for young learners to learn, explore, create, and discover. With the onset of the pandemic in spring 2020, our commitment to the health and safety of our Guests and Staff continued.

Following our March 2020 closure, The DoSeum quickly pivoted toward adapting its model of Guest engagement for the conditions imposed by the pandemic. To accomplish this task, a team of more than 30 DOers from across the organization was recruited to lead the development of new policies and protocols that would guide our reopening. Together we tracked guidelines and recommendations from local and national sources, while also having conversations with our peer organizations. The synthesis of this information resulted in a new operational model that featured enhanced cleaning procedures, a revised gallery presentation, and a newly developed model of The DoSeum Experience.

Among the revisions was the introduction of multiple daily sessions and timed ticketing. In between sessions, the galleries were cleaned and exhibit props rotated via a carefully coordinated dance featuring Staff from across departments—all within the available 30-minute window. Increased sanitation protocols also included continual cleaning of surfaces as guests played throughout the exhibits. All Guests also receive a temperature check upon entry, with facial coverings—either a cloth face mask or full face shield—required for guests 10 and older.

To communicate our new procedures to Guests, The DoSeum developed a new suite of signage featuring our most popular Doer, Baxter the Robot. These family friendly signs provide reminders to wear masks, instructions on how to best wash one’s hands, and to relay the many measures that The DoSeum has employed to keep our Guests and Staff safe and healthy.

With our GoSeum and other outreach programs on hold as a result of the pandemic, The DoSeum’s Guest Experience model was revisited. Now within the Education department, our Guest Experience team—called Experience Engineers—are helpers and facilitators within our galleries. Our Engineers and all Staff are excited to have reopened our doors to the families of San Antonio, and we look forward to sharing our spirit, laughter, and joyful learning with the community once again.

“The entire time we were there, we felt so safe. From our temperature checks, to lots of hand sanitizer stations, to the limited capacity, we always knew that y’all had implemented great policies and practices to help prevent the spread of this virus. I am an RN and was hyper-aware regarding potential COVID risks, but y’all managed them so well.” - Karen Stiefel Harrison, RN, Member, Donor

 

In early 2020, two champions for families in healthcare, Wave Healthcare and The Gus Owen Stephens Foundation, joined forces to launch Medically Fragile Nights at The DoSeum. The concept was simple but powerful: an evening at the museum free of bustling crowds and excess stimuli, dedicated just to families with children with complex and comprehensive medical needs.

“I sure would love to find a way to still bring these families joy – I’m just not sure of how” were the words Rodney Gray, CEO of Wave Healthcare. 

The Summer of 2020 brought about an unprecedented spike in rates of COVID-19 and corresponding state and local advisories for limiting the size of gatherings. Knowing the abundance of caution their patients and families had been taking to protect against the virus, the teams at Wave and The Gus Owen Stephens Foundation knew that a gathering inside The DoSeum or any other venue was no longer an option.

The partners’ dedication to providing both safety and joy for these families was the genesis for The DoSeum’s first Medically Fragile Night - Drive Through Parade.

If you were to drive up to The DoSeum on August 11th, you would have seen DOers across every department as well as partners from Wave Healthcare, The Gus Owen Stephens Foundation, Bubble Bath Car Wash, Community First Health Plans, H-E-B, and HOLT Cat welcoming hundreds of families to drive through an interactive maze of exhibits and props (from every gallery in the museum)!

Families left having DONE a whole lot! They danced along to a DoSeum playlist transmitted to their car radios, completed an interactive scavenger hunt, picked up take-home goodie bags, and carried home big smiles!

From October 2020 to March 2021, The DoSeum hosted Beautiful Minds: Dyslexia and the Creative Advantage. In 2020, nearly 17,000 guests visited the exhibition. Beautiful Minds is an art and science exhibition that explores the successes of those who think outside the box when faced with the challenges of dyslexia. The exhibition defines some of the tools and resources for identification, intervention, and pathways to success.

Families visiting the exhibit learned what dyslexia really is and the truth behind some of the negative myths perpetuated in society. Guests had fun playing various spatial and word games, as well as learning how the right and left sides of the brain are engaged. A unique local feature were the stories from San Antonio youth and local world changers about their experiences growing up with dyslexia before and after diagnosis.

The DoSeum was thrilled to display this exhibition to highlight our support for children of all learning profiles. We hope to continue to be a key community resource for parents and educators of all children. Special thanks to Celebrate Dyslexia, Elizabeth Huth Coates Foundation, and the City of San Antonio for helping bring this exhibit to The DoSeum!

“The Reading Brain is a celebration of all children and all of which makes us different and unique from one another, while igniting curiosity about the mechanics of our brains through the reading process.”

Families visiting the exhibit learned what dyslexia really is and the truth behind some of the negative myths perpetuated in society. Guests had fun playing various spatial and word games, as well as learning how the right and left sides of the brain are engaged. A unique local feature were the stories from San Antonio youth and local world changers about their experiences growing up with dyslexia before and after diagnosis.

The DoSeum was thrilled to display this exhibition to highlight our support for children of all learning profiles. We hope to continue to be a key community resource for parents and educators of all children. Special thanks to Celebrate Dyslexia, Elizabeth Huth Coates Foundation, and the City of San Antonio for helping bring this exhibit to The DoSeum!

“My eight-year-old son August, whose difficulty with reading and courageous efforts to overcome these challenges, gave me the inspiration for this project,” says Sudhoff.

If you get a chance to meet Katie Loftin and Kendra Carter, you’ll see that there’s one thing they both radiate: passion. Passion for their community and passion for championing the mission of The DoSeum.

This passion led the way as Katie and Kendra began by asking “How can we engage our community around supporting all learners?” and “How can we really highlight the mission of The DoSeum with our audience?”

The answer was clear: aligning the topic of The Outside the Lunchbox Luncheon with The DoSeum’s fall exhibit, Beautiful Minds, highlighting dyslexia.

As soon as the two learned of LeDerick Horne, they knew he was the one to deliver the message: Learning to Succeed Through Our Differences. As a national advocate and performance poet living with dyslexia and ADHD, LeDerick certainly exudes passion as well.

While 2020 presented us with the concerns of community safety, and consequently limited gatherings, passion prevailed. Together, LeDerick, Katie, Kendra, and the incredible committee of DOers they put together carried the 11th annual luncheon through its largest transformation to-date: the shift of the event from in-person to completely online: The Outside the Lunchbox Luncheon @ Home.

With two live webinars for both community members and educators, a question-and-answer session, and a virtual raffle, the flexibility and determination shown made the 2020 Outside the Lunchbox Luncheon not only a success but truly memorable.

“Thank you for being that lifeline for so many dyslexic learners that LeDerick spoke of. Thank you for saying ‘yes’ and providing a space of joy, inspiration, and hope. Thank you for all that you have invested in this project. Thank you for inviting LeDerick Horne to reiterate this message on such a profound platform." – Jasmin (mother of a son with dyslexia)

From his home in New Jersey, LeDerick offered an emotionally moving and thought-provoking talk that illuminated the realities of living and leading with a learning difference, motivated audience members to challenge stereotypes they previously held, and–most importantly–shared ways to empower those we know with a learning difference. By sharing research-backed data, personal narrative, and gripping poetry, LeDerick left attendees inspired.

In a year largely characterized by what we couldn’t do, The Outside the Lunchbox Luncheon brought us together to remind us of what we all can DO to support those who learn outside the box.

Designed and led by members of our very own education team, DoSeum camps embody the museum’s commitment to foster curiosity and a lifelong love of learning. In 2019 we welcomed more than 800 campers to this signature program. Our young learners–all between the ages of three and 11–were explorers and engineers, artists and architects, and designers of all types–from fashion to film.

The pandemic-induced closure of The DoSeum on March 13, 2020 fell–coincidentally–on the final day of our spring break camp. In the days and weeks that followed, a core team of DoSeum educators conducted a complete review of the policies and procedures of our camp model in anticipation of the coming summer. Driven by a spirit of innovation and determination, The DoSeum was able to offer in-person, on-site camps for the families of San Antonio during the summer and fall of 2020.

Following guidelines and recommendations published by both local and national resources such as the Association for Camp Nursing, registration capacity was reduced to promote distancing, with individual camps now held in expanded classroom spaces. Each individual camper also now had their own table and set of non-consumable supplies–markers, scissors, tape, glue. And while the sharing of supplies was no longer encouraged, we continued the spirit of sharing through ideas, conversation, and problem solving as a group.

“The training you give your staff shows, as a parent I am so grateful to have a wonderful safe place with child focus for my son to attend. Additionally, he has gotten so good at washing his hands due to the help and practices at the Doseum.”

Prior to the start of each day, each camper passes through a health screening process–much like DoSeum staff. Education Staff also developed a Communicable Disease Management plan which was reviewed by colleagues at University Health. And, of course, we all practiced our best hand washing and respiratory hygiene with our campers, from maintaining our distance with “mummy walks” to turning into our shoulder and raising our arm for “vampire coughs.”

Key to any program modification was the continued focus on learning and, of course, PLAY! Following school closures and months of online learning, The DoSeum’s in-person camps allowed kids to once again be with kids. Our campers benefited greatly from this opportunity, and this social-emotional piece was praised by camp caregivers throughout the summer. With its new policies and practices in place, The DoSeum was proud to serve our community by offering a safe and joyful summer experience in 2020.

A long aisle of pristine produce, a bustling bakery counter, registers with rapidly moving little hands – if you’ve taken a stroll through Little Town in the last five years, you haven’t been able to miss the town’s cornerstone tenant: H-E-B.

The fact is, H-E-B isn’t only a staple in Little Town - they have been a partner of The DoSeum from the very start. From being one of the first to say “yes!” during The DoSeum’s capital campaign to supporting our monthly Free Family Nights over the last five years, H-E-B simply keeps saying “yes!” to showing up for the San Antonio community – and, not just at The DoSeum. From supporting first responders to partnerships with local food banks and mobile food services for seniors, and remaining steadfast to existing nonprofit partners in a year full of uncertainty for all of us, one thing remained certain: H-E-B’s commitment to Helping Here. For more information about HEB's work in the community, visit heb.com/community

“For more than 115 years, H-E-B has proudly served Texans and embedded in our company culture is the desire to support and work with like-minded organizations like The DoSeum. We’ve supported the mission of The DoSeum since day one, and we are proud of the DoSeum’s significant, and often game-changing, support for all young learners. Through hands-on learning activities like the Little Town H-E-B, The DoSeum is growing minds – both young and old. We look forward to our continued shared efforts to transform our communities for the better.” – Megan Rooney, Chief Financial Officer & DoSeum Board Treasurer, Executive Committee Member

If there’s one thing Community First Health Plans know, it’s taking care of San Antonio. And they do it, just as their name implies, by putting the community first.

Community First partnered with The DoSeum five years ago around our monthly Free Family Nights, and they continue to show up in person every month for their community. And putting the community first didn’t stop there. This year, Community First Health Plans expanded on their commitment of supporting our littlest learners and their caregivers by renovating the Development Den. To Community First Health Plans, taking care of San Antonio means making folks feel seen, valued, and cared for – right from the start! If you‘ve seen the Development Den’s new look, you’ll see those values reflected in the newly installed sensory wall, fresh surfaces, flooring, and furniture, and developmental toys. This year has presented challenges for many of us, and we couldn’t be more grateful for a partner that keeps reminding us how to put our Community First.

“The DoSeum is a great place for exploration, experimentation, an easy place to make friends, and a great way for parents and caregivers to bond with children. We support The DoSeum because we know that good health includes feeding the mind and the soul and The DoSeum is a buffet to do just that. – Judy Razo, Director, Corporate Communications & Marketing

 

Malu and Carlos Alvarez
Saci Brice and Paul Eason
Carla and John Brozovich
Charles C. Butt
CPS Energy
Elizabeth Huth Coates Charitable Foundation

William Greehey
The Greehey Family Foundation
The Harvey E. Najim Charitable Foundation
Kimberly S. Lewis
Musical Traditions, Inc.
John Nau
NuStar Foundation

Stacey and David Schlagel
Shiner Beers
Silver Eagle Distributors
Valero
Valero Benefit for Children
Valero Energy Foundation
Wave Health Services

Louise and Michael Burke
CommuniCare Health Centers
Curtis Gunn Dickson-Allen Foundation
Nora Dobson
IKEA
Joan & Herb Kelleher Charitable Foundation
Marcia and Otto Koehler Foundation
Mays Family Foundation
McGovern LLC
Mirza Trust of San Antonio

The Nancy Smith Hurd Foundation
NuStar Energy
Christopher Pettit
Megan and William Rooney
San Antonio Area Foundation
Megan and Tres Steves
Steves & Sons
Karen Stiefel and Shep Harrison
Techwerks, LLC
Texas Cavaliers Charitable Foundation

The TND Family Foundation
Melissa and Tom Turner
The UPS Store
Greater San Antonio Advertising Association
Wells Fargo Foundation
Whataburger
Barbara and George Williams
Williams-Chadwick Family
Charitable Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation

3M Foundation
Emilie and Bill Baine
Bank of America
The Bank of San Antonio
Kathy and Jeff Bolner
Bolner's Fiesta Spices
Broadway Bank
Sara and Jeff Brouillard
Bubble Bath Car Wash
Children's Rehabilitation Institute
Lauren and Vito Ciminello

Eleanor Crook
Ann and Matthew Cross
Feik Family Foundation
Frost Bank
Suzanne and Jimmy Goudge
Gunn Family Foundation
Herrmann Family Charitable Foundation
Karen and Ronald Herrmann
Hixon Properties Incorporated
L.D. Ormsby Charitable Foundation, Inc.
Kathy and Mike MacNaughton
Faye L. and William L. Cowden Charitable Foundation

Amelita and David Mauzé
The Rivard Report
The RK Group
Benjamin Rode
The Rugeley Ferguson Foundation
Jayme and William Russell
Sistema Infantil Teleton USA Expenses
Tinsley and Chad Smith
Texas Capital Bank
Union Pacific Foundation
Anna and Thad Ziegler

Christine and Frank Almaraz
Amy Shelton McNutt Charitable Trust
Asuncion Charitable Foundation
Kathy and Joe Babb
Sally and Ron Bates
Lauren Biegler
Michele and Randy Cadwallader
Celebrate Dyslexia
Nancy and Charles Cheever
Jaclyn and Chris Cho
Erica and Daniel Dabrieo
Ashley and Andrew Friedman
Amy Garcia
Sandra Garcia
Laura and Cy Goudge
Christopher and Adrianna Grossman
Amy and Justin Grubbs
Jack and Valerie Guenther Foundation
Lindsay and Jack Guenther
Kimberly Harle
The Harris K. & Lois G. Oppenheimer Foundation
Julianna Hawn and Peter Holt
Kay and Jay Heizer

Howard Energy Partners
Meredith and Mike Howard
The Meredith and Mike Howard Family Fund
Insco Distributing, Inc.
The Jesse H. Oppenheimer & Susan Oppenheimer Foundation
Philip Kang Alisha and Brian King
Olive Anne and Tres Kleberg
Kitty and Richard Lange
Lee and Zach Lee
Melissa and Robert Legg
Kaye Lenox Claudia and John Malitz
Lauren and Jeremy Mandel
Marsh & McLennan Companies
The Mathews Consulting Group
Mauzé Construction
Elaine Mendoza and Larry Gay
Daniel J. Menelly
Richard Menelly
Jessica and Michael Mewborne
Ana Montoya
National Charter Bus
Alex and Nance Oliver

Angelica and Mills Palm
Patricia and Henrik Palme
Ryan Pape
Emilie and Christopher Petty
PNC Bank
Joshua Poole
Kerry and Chris Quinn
Rosa Maria and Rudy A. Reyna
Rheumatology Associates of South Texas
Corinna and J.B. Richter
Debbi and Barry Rothschild
Ruth and Johnny Russell
Emilee Scialpi
Anna and Robert Sigman
Gail and Bruce Smith
The Smothers Foundation
Sally and Bob Sohn
Jennifer and Lloyd Tannenbaum
Dawn and Bruce Walker
Sara S. Walker
Barbara B. Wood
Jeffrey Wyatt
Don Zook

Patricia and Joe Acuna
Catherine Axel
Beth and Randy Baetz
Susan and Ted Bentley
Yanett and Arturo Burgueno
Kathryn Doby
Colette and Ty Edwards
Wayne Fagan Tobin
Flinn Jayne and David Gordon

Triana and Brandon Grossman
Nancy and Junji Higuchi
Judy and Mitch Hill
Stacy and Rich Lewis
Courtney and Justin Macdonald
Cecile and David McAllister
Emily and Brad McMurray
Judith N. Morton
Anjly and Rajiv Rajani
Ester and Rudy Reyna

Ada and Bradley Rockoff
Edmund Schenecker
Jocelyn Selig
Jane and Marshall Steves
Susan Todd
Lorien and Marc Whyte
MaryAnne Wilson
Wendy and Thomas Wirth
Joan and Richey Wyatt


Learn More About The DoSeum and view our open report to the community for 2020.

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