Fun is Serious Business! A Look Inside ACM's Interactivity Conference Hosted by Kidspace


The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) will convene hundreds of leaders from children’s museums and supporting organizations to share knowledge and advocate for the children’s museum field during its annual InterActivity conference. Hosted by Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena from May 2-5, InterActivity 2017’s theme is Fun is Serious Business with a focus on the bottom line—budget, mission, and revenue streams.


InterActivity is the Association of Children's Museums' annual meeting—and the world's largest convening of children's museum professionals. Kidspace Children’s Museum was selected as the host during last year’s InterActivity conference for their standout leadership in the children’s museum industry. Kidspace serves more than 335,000 children and families through educational programs, school group visits, parenting workshops, early learner classes, and community engagement. “We are honored to host ACM’s InterActivity conference this year to showcase Kidspace and the Los Angeles area,” said Michael Shanklin, Kidspace chief executive officer, “We are excited to gather together to share and learn with our colleagues from around the world.”

Programming will mostly be taking place at the Pasadena Convention Center, while other events will be held at other local venues including Kidspace Children’s Museum, The Pasadena Playhouse, the Rose Bowl Stadium, as well as study tours of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the California Science Center, Caltech’s Children’s Center, and Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center.

This year’s conference theme will highlight the importance of children’s museums in providing playful learning experiences for children and families and serving as community resources, while balancing the business side of the institutions to ensure the organizational culture is fun for staff. Conference speakers will include:

  • Keynote: Vu Le brings his trademark humor and deep insights to discuss the challenges faced by the nonprofit sector—and how to address them. Known for his no-nonsense approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu Le is the writer behind the blog Le is also the executive director of Rainier Valley Corps, which aims to bring more leaders of color into nonprofits. He was recently recognized by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as a "Writer with Attitude."

SmallTalks 2017 Presenters and Performers:

  • Janina Garraway, a professional dancer who has performed with Mariah Carey, Faith Hill, and Kanye West, is the founder and executive director of the Garraway Performing Arts Center, which provides local youth dance instruction, mentoring, and tutoring.
  • Adlai Wertman, professor of Social Entrepreneurship at USC's Marshall School of Business and founding director of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab, works with nonprofits and students to bring social innovation through business principles.
  • Orrin Shively, recent senior director of Art & Design for Disney Interactive and Kidspace Children's Museum board member, will share "Mickey's 10 Commandments."
  • Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides is the co-founder of Yuri's Night, an annual celebration of space exploration, and is a fou2910 nder astronaut for Virgin Galactic. o John Kobara has spent years leading innovative nonprofits, companies, and tech startups; as COO for the California Community Foundation, he works to increase access to educational opportunities in Los Angeles.
  • Rhythm Child, through movement and intuitive drumming, is on a mission to inspire children and motivate those who are guiding their development. 
  • Holly Robinson Peete is co-founder of the HollyRod Foundation to support those living with autism and Parkinson’s disease. She and her family can be seen in the television docuseries For Peete’s Sake on the Oprah Winfrey Network
  • 2017 ACM Great Friend to Kids Award Ceremony with Susan Danish: The Junior League will be presented with the 2017 ACM Great Friend to Kids Award for its role in starting more than 50 children’s museums worldwide. Susan Danish, executive director of The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc., will accept the honor on behalf of the countless women in The Junior League who have worked to make their communities better places for children.

Major support for InterActivity 2017 includes: Blackbaud, Wells Fargo, Nickelodeon, Vroom, Great American Insurance Group, and Payden & Rygel.


In 1979, Kidspace Children’s Museum was founded as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Kidspace’s mission is to nurture the potential of all children through kid-driven experiences, inspiring them to become joyful, active learners. Kidspace is located at 480 N. Arroyo Blvd., in Brookside Park, Pasadena, CA. Admission is $13 for adults and children. Free for members and children under one year. For more information about Kidspace exhibits, events, and other activities, please visit


In an increasingly complex world, children’s museums provide a place where all kids can learn through play and exploration with the caring adults in their lives. There are approximately 400 children’s museums around the world, which annually reach more than 31 million visitors. ACM provides leadership, professional development, advocacy and resources for its member organizations and individuals. To learn more about ACM and to find an ACM-member children’s museum near you, visit