Museums Exhibits

Ohio museum apologizes after woman is told not to breastfeed

The family friendly Cleveland History Center even has a hands-on 'Kidzibits' attraction.

The family friendly Cleveland History Center even has a hands-on 'Kidzibits' attraction.

An Ohio museum has now apologized after a Pennsylvania mother's Facebook post about breastfeeding drew a flurry of responses.

Emily Locke, of Beaver Falls, said Monday that she was breastfeeding her 9-month-old at the Cleveland History Center over the weekend when an employee told her it violated the museum's policy. 

When Locke refused to move, another employee approached her and told her she had to move to a private area.

“Not long after I began, I was approached by a woman who told me ‘You aren’t allowed to do that here,'” she wrote in a Facebook post.

“She then told me it was a family museum. I explained this is a family moment. She then told me she was just trying to protect the innocent children. I was pretty shocked.”

This past weekend I was in my sisters wedding. It was a beautiful day darkened by one situation. While taking pictures...

Posted by Emily Locke on Monday, March 21, 2016

The museum employee eventually walked away and Locke finished feeding her son. 

But on Tuesday, the Western Reserve Historical Society released a statement saying  there is no policy against breastfeeding at the center, and mothers are welcome to nurse their children anywhere on the premises.

Center Director Angie Lowrie told that the museum doesn't prohibit breastfeeding and that the employees have been disciplined.

"We are a family institution and welcome to all," she said. "It is a safe place to come with a family, and women have every right to feed their children."

The museum also posted a statement on its Facebook page: 

We do not nor have we ever had a policy that prohibits a mother from feeding her child. We have contacted the mother...

Posted by Cleveland History Center on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Locke accepted Lowrie's apology and said she may visit the museum again someday.

"I hope to find the warm and accepting atmosphere there that I did not on this visit," she wrote. She said she hopes more women understand their rights "so these incidents become fewer and further between."

The museum has contacted the Ohio Breastfeeding Alliance, Lowrie said, and they plan to train staff on how to properly address breastfeeding in public spaces in the future.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.