Annual Meeting 2018

Eli Whitney Museum

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39th Annual Meeting
Tuesday, October 23rd at 5:30 pm
in the Carter Studio of the Whitney Workshop

The Play Deficit Crisis

Melissa Bernstein, CEO, Melissa & Doug

Light refreshments: Whole G Breads
RSVP: 203.777.1833 or

915 Whitney Avenue • Hamden, CT

The Whitney Medal

Eric Epstein

2018 Apprentice Awards

Forman Prize Samira Anant Polly Lada Mocarski Prize Linnea Sirch, Tianna Romo-Kurek
Jack Viele Prize Jacob Martin

Investing in Play
One hundred years ago, an exhausted world ended four years of combat in Europe. In New Haven, a startup toy maker was primed to launch a new age of play. A.C. Gilbert had created Magic Kits, Erector Sets, and Chemistry Sets to train young hands to experiment independently and invent a brighter future. These toys, he promised parents, are an essential investment in learning – active experimenting too rarely found in classrooms. The A.C. Gilbert Company became the world's largest maker of learning toys and an American icon. Nobel Prize winners cited Gilbert inspiration.

Rescuing Play
Thirty years ago, Melissa and Doug Bernstein reacted to the unhealthy diet that (TV) screens served growing minds. From a garage in Wilton, they began to distribute a healthy alternative – toys to nurture imagination and inquisitiveness. The personal conviction and vision that shaped their designs has found a deeply loyal following of children, parents, and educators.

Melissa Bernstein, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Melissa & Doug, will discuss the current 'play deficit crisis,' and how open-ended play and products that provide a launch pad are the simple keys to discovering ourselves, our passions and our purpose. She will argue that it is not only critical for children to put down their screens and overflowing schedules to engage in free play, but adults as well must keep play front and center to continually find fulfillment.

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