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05/02/2017

The Best Exhibits at Children's Museums in New York

Time Out New York Kids by Allie Early

Check out the greatest exhibit at children’s museums that are happening right now!  Your kids will love ’em.
https://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/things-to-do/nyc-museums-best-new-exhibits-for-kids

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05/12/2017

From Eating Your Veggies To Being Yourself, Kids Share Best Advice They’ve Gotten From Mom

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While Mother’s Day only falls once a year, most mothers like to give a lot of advice to their children all year round.  CBS2’s Cindy Hsu sat down with some adorable little ones to find out the best advice they ever received from their moms.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2017/05/12/mothers-day-advice/

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04/15/2017

Cardinal Dolan Pays Easter Visit to Children's Museum of Manhattan

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04/15/2017

Cardinal Dolan Observes Easter Egg Hunt

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PIX11 News 04/15/2017

Cardinal Dolan Goes on an Easter Egg Hunt

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04/04/2017

Belonging in America: Social Justice Messages in Cultural Exhibits

 

HAND TO HAND  – By Lizzy Martin and Andrew Ackerman
In 2010, Children’s Museum of Manhattan staff proposed to the board of directors that the next exhibition…
Hand to Hand,  Association of Children’s Museums Publication

 

 

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04/03/2017

Muslim Culture Show a Hit at Children's Museum of Manhattan

WASHINGTON POST  – By Associated Press

NEW YORK — An exhibition about Muslim cultures around the world is proving popular at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

 

The museum has seen an increase in visitors since the show opened, with a third of those visitors from outside the New York area.

The show, called “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far,” runs through December and will open in February 2018 at the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, followed by a run in 2019 at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia.

“As a first-of-its-kind exhibition, the content of ‘America to Zanzibar’ is new for most visitors,” said Andrew Ackerman, the museum’s executive director. “Many parents are eager for their children to experience a broad range of cultures in a deeper way than what they encounter in the media. Our exhibition helps address this need.”
The exhibition includes interactive features like a global marketplace where children can pretend to buy spices from Egypt, ceramics from Turkey and rugs from Morocco. They can also weigh their catch at the Zanzibar fish market, smell Indonesian fruits, serve Tajik tea and design outfits inspired by West African tailors who work in New York. And they can explore ancient trade routes on a camel or an Indian Ocean boat called a dhow.

The exhibit is decorated with geometric tile designs, patterned rugs, ceramics and other works of art. A 3-D installation shows mosque architecture from the Maldives to China.

The exhibit is designed for children aged 2 to 10 and their families. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/muslim-culture-show-a-hit-at-childrens-museum-of-manhattan/2017/04/03/c52868f4-1895-11e7-8598-9a99da559f9e_story.html?utm_term=.356a2171b09f

 

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04/10/2017

WNYC Radio - America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far

NYPR (WNYC) celebrates the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far Exhibition http://app.criticalmention.com/app/#clip/view/26877550?token=7adb83de-0c88-4859-9666-561dc40284dc

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04/02/2017

WCBS/1010 WINS - Trump’s Proposed Arts Funding Cuts Would Put Culture In Danger, Democratic Lawmakers Say

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03/27/2017

NYC Arts Groups Could Take Hit With Proposed Trump Budget

Wall Street Journal by MELANIE GRAYCE WEST

“NYC Arts Groups Could Take Hit With Proposed Trump Budget”
By city, New York City arts groups receive the most contributions from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

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03/20/2017

Thirty Museums and Libraries Named Finalists for 2017 National Medal Award

IMLS: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON. D.C. – The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced 30 finalists for the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community.

For 23 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for individuals, families and communities.

“The 2017 National Medal Finalists represent the leading museums and libraries that serve as catalysts for change in their communities,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “It is our honor to recognize 30 notable institutions for their commitment to providing programs and services that improve the lives of individuals, families and communities. We salute them and their valuable work in providing educational opportunities to their community and celebrate the power libraries and museums can have across the country.”

IMLS is encouraging those who have visited finalist libraries and museums to share their story on the IMLS Facebook page as a way to further honor their work in their respective communities. To Share Your Story, please visit www.facebook.com/USIMLS(link is external).

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03/13/2017

A Children’s Museum ‘Surprise Blockbuster’: A Show on Islam

New York Times  By JANET MORRISSEY

As terrorism fears have mounted and tensions have escalated toward Muslims in the United States in recent years, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is doing its part to help defuse the rising anxiety. Its exhibition “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far” showcases the history, art and traditions of Muslims, with the belief that education will beat back ignorance and hate every time.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/arts/design/muslims-islam-exhibit-childrens-museum-manhattan-new-york.html?_r=1

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02/23/2017

Children's Museum Gives 'Glimpse into Contemporary Life in Japan'

NBCNews.com
From food to writing in different languages, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan wants to help children learn about different cultures.

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02/22/2017

Teaneck mayor personal objects to America to Zanzibar

NorthJersey.com, By: , Staff Writer, @CherylDaleNews

In a glass case, located near a replica Pakistani truck and mock global market at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan are a Quran, a tunic, and a gavel owned by Mohammed Hameeduddin, Bergen County’s first Muslim mayor.

The personal items are part of an exhibit entitled America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far. And Hameeduddin, who first served as Teaneck’s mayor from 2010 to 2014 and was elected again in July, is one of several Muslim-Americans showcased in the exhibit that teaches children about the customs and experiences of Islamic cultures in America and abroad.

”I want people to see we are a diverse nation, and from that we get to learn a lot from each other,” Hameeduddin said.

The exhibit has been running since February, but Hammeeduddin’s belongings were added earlier this month.

Teaneckmayorexhibit.JPGThe museum was packed on a recent Tuesday morning with children and parents browsing portraits and artifacts donated by Muslim contemporaries and playing in interactive booths where they smelled Indonesian fruit, weighed Moroccan spices, and bought prawns and changuu at a Zanzibari fish market.

Hameeduddin, a Bronx native who grew up in Teaneck, is the sole public official featured alongside local contemporary Muslim figures and emerging artists, according to Director of Exhibit Development Lizzy Martin. Along with a gavel, Hameeduddin included campaign materials from the last election in the exhibit. He ran alongside Councilman Mark Schwartz, who is an Orthodox Jew and Deputy Mayor Henry Pruitt, an African-American who identifies as Christian.

“It’s about showing that plurality in our society,” Martin said. “The diversity of the stories in the exhibit for us is key.”

Arlene Thomas of Orange took a seat near Hameeduddin’s display as her two children played on tablets that taught them how to say “my name is” in 21 different languages. They enjoy experiencing the different cultures, she said, and interacting with other children at the museum.

“You meet people from all walks of life,” she said.

Teaneck, the first town in America to voluntarily desegregate its schools, is widely regarded for its multiculturalism. The display is representative of the town, which prides itself on its diversity, Hameeduddin said.

The exhibit is running at a time when anti-Muslim sentiment is particularly high.

Hate crimes against Muslims rose in 2015 to the highest rates seen since terrorist attacks of 2001, according to Federal Bureau of Investigations data. In the days following the November election, a handful of mosques and Islamic centers around the country received hateful anti-Muslim letters, Southern Poverty Law Center reported.

“In this age of Islamophobia, I hope that by seeing me swearing in on the Quran, there are Muslim-American children everywhere dreaming a little bigger and believing that they can do and become anything they put their mind to,” Hameeduddin said.

Hameeduddin’s inclusion in the exhibit came about when his sister, Yasmeen Al-Shehab visited the exhibit when it first opened. The museum had one vacant slot with a sign encouraging visitors with special stories to reach out.

The museum plans to keep the exhibit open for another year due to its success, Director of Strategic Communications Deirdre Lurie said.

“It’s kind of an easy way to see the world,” Lurie said. “It reflects the diversity of New York City.”

  4:50 p.m. ET Dec. 22, 2016

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02/14/2017

Take a Day Trip to Japan with New Children's Museum Exhibit

MOMMY POPPINS, By Jody Mercier

If a trip to Japan is just slightly over your budget, but you’re still crazy—or curious—about Japanese culture, the newly reopened Hello from Japan! exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is a perfect, albeit petite, alternative. This exhibit—the third in the Upper West Side museum’s Global Cultural Exhibition Series, following exhibitions on Ancient Greece and China, and preceding the ongoing Muslim culture exhibit—originally graced the museum in 2015 and has returned for another run, offering an immersive experience for NYC’s youngest art and museum fans.

 

Kawaii Central is inspired by Japan’s Harajuku district.

Hello from Japan! presents two very different aspects of Japanese culture in the CMOM-signature, kid-friendly fashion. Entering the exhibit on the museum’s ground floor, visitors cross under a colorful arch into CMOM’s vision of a Harajuku district dubbed Kawaii Central, where vibrant colors pop from each mini storefront and cute is the name of the game.

The first storefront invites visitors to “Dress Kawaii” for their journey through town and offers lively props from feathered boas and frilly tutus to dragon tails—kids are encouraged to get creative. Next, kids (and their parents) can pop into a photo booth and email themselves a keepsake. Mascot Central introduces the concept of mascots so popular in Japanese culture. A giant, colorful, flowchart hangs on the wall and lets kids find a mascot who shares their interests. A giant touchscreen then lets you in on some quirky facts about these new, funny friends. I pinpointed one and learned it was an “athletic guy who loves all sports especially hang gliding, hockey, and tai chi. He also loves to eat apples!”

Touring the exhibit with the help of my 3-year-old, I can say without a doubt, her favorite booths were the next three: Katakana Club, Pop Pop Karaoke, and Bento Joy.

In Katakana Club, she sat down at one of the many tablets and got to work practicing the art of calligraphy on an app CMOM developed specifically for the exhibition. Kids choose a fruit or vegetable, then get to practice tracing the characters necessary to write the word. I tried my hand, too, and was surprised at the precision required to get more than three-of-five stars for my work. Examples of traditional and new calligraphy utensils were on display and plenty of facts about how many characters Japanese children have to learn by the end of first grade. Take note: It was in the thousands!

RELATED: Explore Japantown with Kids and Tweens

Kids can sing and dance to nursery tunes at Pop Pop Karaoke. 

Pop Pop Karaoke allowed kids room to dance—disco lights included, naturally—and sing along to traditional nursery rhymes. Words to songs like Mary Had a Little Lamb were written in both English and Japanese as karaoke videos played. My daughter’s favorite was a Japanese music video that she kept jamming to over and over.

Once she had worked up an appetite, she headed next door to the Bento Box storefront, where she couldn’t get enough of playing restaurateur with the tiny sushi play food. Displays overhead explained how the bento box came to be as a way for Japanese mothers to fill their kids’ lunch boxes (and bellies!) with leftovers and detailed the way they “cutetify” their lunch creations, putting my ham-and-cheese sandwiches to shame.

The last storefront wasn’t really a storefront at all, but an homage to the streets of Japan, where traffic hazards are marked with crafty characters meant to reassure pedestrians and motorists that if they follow directions, everything will be all right. Plastic manhole covers were on display and showed how even the most mundane objects are artfully decorated in Japanese culture. There was also a truck because as curator Ellen Bari pointed out, there is always a truck. She knows her audience, because there was also always a line as kids waited anxiously for their turn to drive.

RELATED: Best Museums and Art for NYC Kids

Kids can play in the Streets of Japan area. Photo courtesy of the museum.

Next, visitors traverse a bridge from the lively, contemporary, pop-art district to a more serene, traditional Japan and enter the Shinto shrine park. Here, natural hues and backdrops replace the vibrancy of Kawaii Central. Nature takes center stage with a bamboo forest framing one side. Guests will also find an altar and the focal point of the area, a Wishing Tree. Visitors are invited to write wishes on an ema and tie it to the tree.

A beautiful nature scene closed the other side of the garden and is meant to pay homage to the natural beauty of Japan, as well as the cultural appreciation of its natural spaces. It also illustrated the importance of kami, or animal spirits, which are represented almost as holographs in a now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t way as you move around the garden. My daughter loved trying to see and un-see the fox and dragon in the scene.

As is the case with most CMOM exhibits, Hello from Japan! aims to hit the ages 2-10 demographic. My 3-year-old had tons of fun and has been telling her big brother and sister all about it. I look forward to bringing them all back. The interactivity may not impress my tween, but the walls of each store are packed with information and facts about Japanese culture, which I think he’d really enjoy. The exhibit has two mascots of its own, one in the Kawaii district and another in the Shinto shrine, and they are peppered throughout the information, offering simple Japanese words for kids to add to their vocabulary. Each bit of information is offered in a trio of languages: Japanese, English, and Spanish, something the curator said was very important in developing it.

Hello from Japan! is on view through Sunday, May 14, 2017, at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan located at 212 West 83rd Street. It’s hosting a number of related events and ongoing programming, including a Kamishibai storytime and Japanese dance performance this month.

Top photo: Learn about Japanese food at the Bento Joy area. Unless otherwise noted, photo by the author.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 West 83rd Street
New York, NY 10024
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WNYW: Fox 5 News at 5 01/20/2017

Fox 5 News Minute: Hello From Japan

WNYW: Fox 5 News at 5

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01/04/2017

Spotlight On: Children's Museum of Manhattan

New York City has no shortage of things for kids of all ages to do and explore, even when the weather isn’t cooperating outside. One of our favorite indoor spots is the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side. CMOM is a 38,000-square-foot learning facility filled with tons of interactive exhibits and programs. Here are five reasons you’ll want to visit the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, a Mommy Nearest partner, this winter.

  1. Visit the Hello from Japan! exhibit

Image for Spotlight On: Children's Museum of Manhattan article

After a successful run at the museum in 2015, Hello from Japan! returns on January 21. The interactive experience brings the culture of Japan—both new and old—to the fingertips of children through an array of different stations and programs. (There’s even a ton of fun facts about the country written on the walls, like how to say “hello” in Japanese—it’s Konnichiwa.) Opening weekend festivities include designing bento boxes, listening to Kamishibai storytelling and making traditional Japanese fans using anime characters. Read more about the exhibit here.

2. See America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far

Image for Spotlight On: Children's Museum of Manhattan article

If you haven’t yet visited this one-of-a-kind exhibit that celebrates Muslim cultures worldwide, we highly suggest you plan a trip. (And if you have visited, visit again!) Taking over CMOM’s first floor, the exhibit is presented in a way that children ages two to 10, and their families, can really enjoy and understand. Each component highlights important traditions such as community courtyards (where everyone comes together to enjoy each other, live music and performances), a global marketplace (wonderland of smells, textures and colorful sights including Moroccan rugs, Egyptian spices and Turkish ceramics), and mosques (you can take a virtual architectural tour of more than 20 mosques worldwide!).

3. Check out an upcoming event

CMOM celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. from January 14 to 16 with a three-day celebration honoring the civil rights leader. Kids can help create a mosaic portrait of Dr. King and watch a special dance performance by KaNu Dance Theater. The “Many Tunes, One Melody: Muslim Arts Series,” with funding from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts, is also the first in a series of evening events designed to bring the music of America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far to life with performances on the frame drum, kora, tabla, rebana, oud, and ney. Shows are on January 14 and 28, and February 11 at 5 and 6pm. Make sure to check the museum’s online calendar regularly to learn about other special events and activities.

4. Get tickets for Sunday Funday

Image for Spotlight On: Children's Museum of Manhattan article

The museum’s popular fundraising event is back at Chelsea Piers on January 29. Families can meet sports celebrities, work with Play-Well TEKnologies on Lego-inspired activities and even race mini sports cars. Plus, CMOM will premiere its new interactive video installation Dance Portal! Food, meet-and-greets with costumed characters and parachute play is also planned. You can buy tickets here.

4. Don’t miss favorites like Playworks and Adventures with Dora and Diego

Image for Spotlight On: Children's Museum of Manhattan article

Playworks is home to a fire truck, sand play, a talking dragon who “eats” letters, a play structure for kids to climb and slide down, and a soft area for crawlers. Free story time is often held in this area, along with daily hands-on activities in the Art Lab. Ask staff at the entrance for the daily schedule, or check their calendar here. Another favorite is Adventures with Dora and Diego: Little ones can walk across the Rainbow Bridge, drive Tico’s car, help Diego rescue animals and even hang out inside Dora’s house.

5. Snag a membership and visit all year long

Image for Spotlight On: Children's Museum of Manhattan article

CMOM is hands-down one of our favorite places to get a family membership. The regular family membership ($225) gets you unlimited visits for two adults and up to four children per visit, plus discounts on classes, early access to new exhibits, and discounts at other local stores and restaurants.

Tips for your visit:

• CMOM has complimentary stroller and coat check at the door (and you must leave your stroller, they are not allowed inside so be prepared to fold them up).

• No food or drink is allowed inside the museum.

• Special events and performances take place daily in conjunction with the specific exhibits so keep an eye on the museum’s online calendar to see what’s coming up. Plus, all performances, programs and workshops are free with admission.

• The museum opens an hour early on Wednesdays (9am) for members only.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

212 West 83rd Street

New York, NY 10024

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06/07/2009

Art & Museums: Wild rides

Time Out New York Kids

Two new exhibits tap into the joys of fun parks.

Before you empty your wallet at Playland or Six Flags this summer, teach your kids a thing or two about their stomach-churning amusements. Two local museums are featuring themepark exhibits, and both deliver head-spinning thrills along with subtly taught science lessons.

The straightfowardly named “Amusement Park Science” can be found in the lower level of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. A cartoon newt (chosen in honor of Sir Isaac Newton) greets visitors and appears on signs at 12 activity stations; each details how Newton’s Laws of Motion make a ride zoom, spin or loop-de-loop. Some attractions here are interactive: At Bump-O-Ramma, kids smash together rubber-rimmed disks (a la bumper cars) to foster understanding that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The Amazing Momentum Machine, a circular spinning platform that youngsters can jump aboard, reveals the behavior of rotating objects.

Coincidentally, the New York Hall of Science has a similar exhibit: “Rocket Park Mini Golf” is a real outdoor course designed to illustrate how the laws of motion that guide spaceships are the same ones that cause golf balls to soar. Located next to two historic NASA rockets, the nine holes are laid out to represent the trajectory of a complete space flight.

To “blast off,” children must swing with enough force to keep the ball from rolling back to them; similarly, a spaceship must reach a velocity high enough to escape Earth’s gravitational pull. The final hole, of “Splash Down,” requires tykes to putt toward a target on a rotating model Earth. It’s not the easiest course, so don’t be surprised if your children are eager to improve their scores–and tee off through the galaxy all over again.

Amusement Park Science” is on view through Sept 10. “Rocket Park Mini Golf” opens June 20. For venue information, see Museums & Sights.

By Leanne French

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12/29/2016

CMOM's New Year's Eve Ball Drop Test and kid's 2017 resolutions

CBS: View video

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12/24/2016

NYC’s Best Chanukah Celebrations, From Latkes To The World’s Largest Menorah

CBS NY, By Jessica Allen/Carly Petrone

Stop by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on Dec. 27 and Dec. 29 and enjoy two fun-filled days of Chanukah celebrations. Start out your Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. by making a Chanukah Calendar and designing a banner with pockets to store your eight tiny Chanukah treasures. It’s great for all ages and also available on Thursday, Dec. 29 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Suitable for ages 6 and up, registration required. See website for more details.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

212 W. 83rd St.
New York, NY
http://cmom.org

 

Read whole article on newyork.cbslocal.com »

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12/16/2016

Building Wonderlands

Fox News NY – New York Minute

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11/10/2016

How do you talk to your kids about the election?

CNN, By Kelly Wallace

One of the many unprecedented aspects of this presidential campaign was how it became a topic of discussion for families across the country.
From the dinner table to carpool lines to the voting booth, children engaged with their parents about the candidates and the campaign more than they might have during previous presidential elections.

And many parents, specifically those who supported Hillary Clinton and hoped and expected she’d become the first female president of the United States, woke up with the tough job of explaining the results to their children.

“I am at a loss. I am terrified for my lovely and sweet gender-non-conforming child,” said Cecily Kellogg, mom to a 10-year-old daughter and founder of a content marketing and social media management firm. “I don’t know what to say. I can only hold her, let her cry and tell her I will keep her safe.”

One of the first things parents can do, experts who work with children say, is take time to pause and collect their own feelings, since children will be looking for signs from their parents about how to react.

“Kids do take cues from you, so it’s important not to catastrophize the results” if you are upset about the outcome, said Dr. Gail Saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical College. “Remind yourself and your children that we have had some very varied presidents of very varied values, styles and moral character, and we have always pulled through as a nation.”

‘Democracy is messy’

This is a time to explain to children that “democracy is messy,” said Leslie Bushara, deputy director for education at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and mother of a 14-year-old boy.

“When you can, talk with your children about what President Obama called ‘the boisterous diversity of our country,’ ” she said. “Help young children understand that like a family, we won’t always agree as citizens, either.”

Louise Sattler, a psychologist and frequent contributor to CNN Parents stories, said this is a great time to explain to children how the nation is made up of not one person, but a system.

“For young children, start with a fundamental talk about how one person doesn’t rule the United States,” said Sattler, owner of Signing Families, which teaches the basics of sign language to people of all ages and abilities. “That is why our ballot has many names on it, and all have a special role.”

For older children, Sattler says, education is key, including talking about the electoral college and the importance of checks and balances within our government.

“I think it is a great time to discuss how every vote matters and … (how) being popular doesn’t always mean you win,” she said.

One of the challenges for parents of children who hoped Clinton would make history as the first female president is helping kids, especially young women, cope with their tremendous disappointment.

“It was especially hard to tell my daughters that the best candidate we had to break the glass ceiling failed even after years of proving herself worthy,” said Rhonda Woods, a Connecticut real estate agent who has 15-year-old boy-girl twins and a 22-year-old daughter.

Acknowledging that disappointment during her concession speech Wednesday, Clinton sent a message to young women: “Someday, someone will” crack that glass ceiling, “and hopefully sooner than we think right now.

“To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and to achieve your own dreams,” Clinton said during the speech.

Nancy Friedman, a mother of two, said she was looking for what she could say to her 16-year-old daughter, and instead, it was her daughter who comforted her.

“To Hillary, I love you. No one has ever been more qualified to be president than you,” Rachel Friedman, a high school junior, wrote on Facebook. “You embodied everything a candidate is supposed to be. … Keep your head high Hillary, you cracked the glass ceiling and I have faith it will soon be shattered.”

Teaching kids to be ‘gracious winners’

For parents like Marie Stroughter, who voted for Trump, there are also important conversations to have with her three children, ages 13, 15 and 18. She said she and her children saw the “gamut of reactions” about Trump’s victory on social media, with a lot of “ugly comments” and people unfriending or threatening to unfriend her on Facebook.

“We talked about how emotions are high and how we felt the last two times when things didn’t go the way we had hoped,” said Stroughter, co-founder and host of African-American Conservatives, referring to the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, when a Republican lost to Barack Obama.

Stroughter said she and her children said a prayer together “and continue to pray for healing for our nation.”

Talking to kids about how to be gracious winners and good losers is also important, said Bushara, of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Children of families who are delighted by the outcome should remember that there are many families — and many children — who are disappointed.

“Remind them, as in sports, don’t make fun of those who supported the losing candidate, and don’t be unkind towards those who won,” she said.

Part of the conversation with children can also involve explaining how we live in a divided country, and how many people who voted for Trump are struggling to make ends meet and think Trump, more than Clinton, may bring about the change they believe is needed to get ahead.

Christine Koh, founder and editor of Boston Mamas, wrote about “the way forward” for her, her family and the country in a blog post.

Finding a path ahead will involve hard conversations about topics such as fear of diversity, racism and gender inequality, and then committing to work together to make things better, said Koh, who has two daughters, ages 5 and 12. That also means no more jokes about leaving the country if Trump becomes president, she said.

One of her older daughter’s first questions Wednesday morning, after she learned that Trump was elected, was whether the family would be moving to Canada.

“And I said, ‘No, we can’t move away from our problems, we need to move towards them,'” wrote Koh, who is also an author, podcaster and consultant. “Part of privilege is the ability to move away from problems — which leaves people in need behind. It’s just an option. We need to deal with what is in front of us.”

Brian Gresko, a writer and critic, said he has spent the past year talking with his 7-year-old son about how Trump is exactly the kind of man that they shouldn’t model themselves upon, so it was a tough morning conveying that Trump had won the presidency.

That said, Gresko encouraged his son to practice kindness and compassion and to be optimistic but also sensitive to the many different reactions — anger, sadness, shock — on the part of residents in their Brooklyn community.

“And that this would be the beginning of what will be a four-year period of remaining positive and hopeful and, even more than that, active in making sure we accept others who are different from ourselves,” said Gresko, editor of “When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk about the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood.

Lauren Smith Brody, author of “The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom’s Guide to Style, Sanity, and Big Success After Baby,” which will be released in April, said she’s talking to her boys, ages 5 and 8, about the lessons from the campaign.

“The lesson for all of us, I’m telling them, is to keep your heart and mind open. Let people feel heard. Never act superior to anyone else. Speak out against bullies,” she said. “We all have things to learn from one another.”

November 10, 2016

Read on CNN.com»

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11/10/2016

7 Tips for Talking About the Outcome of the Election with Kids

Parents.com, By Melissa Willets

Parents: Happy or not with the outcome of the election, it’s gonna come up. Here’s how to help your kids digest the news.

Whether you are happy with the election results or not, emotions are definitely running high. And with that, kids are hearing their parents’ thoughts and feelings about the fact that Donald Trump is this country’s new president-elect. My children have come home for weeks sharing with me what other kids, teachers, and adults around them are saying on the subject, and they are also hearing things on the news, and I can only imagine that in the aftermath of the election, this issue will persist.

It’s with that in mind that we talked to Leslie Bushara, deputy director for education at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, to get tips for parents on how to talk to kids about the election. Here is what she recommends:

  1. Take time to pause and gather your feelings, whether you are delighted or disturbed by the election’s outcome. Remember, your children will be looking to you to determine how they should react to the news. Children want to know that their daily routine will not change. Remind them that today the family got up, you went to school, and we went to work. And tonight we will have dinner. That will not change and is important for all age groups, even teens.
  1. Remind kids that democracy is messy. When you can, talk with your children about what President Obama called “the boisterous diversity of our country.” Help young children understand that, like a family, we won’t always agree as citizens either.
  1. Make sure that your children are listened to and that their voice matters. Younger children need to be heard, even if their thoughts are not as well formed. As noted in previous tips, now is a great time to work on learning to listen to one another and practice disagreeing respectfully.
  1. Teach kids about how to be gracious winners and a good losers. Remind them, as in sports, not to make fun of those who supported the losing candidate and to also not be unkind toward those who won.
  1. Take the time to help an upset child understand that the president is an elected position, and that it isn’t permanent. Explain that in four years there will be another election, and the people will be able to pick again.
  1. Look for things that you can do as a family to support your values and interests. Find things to do that are familiar and comforting. Spend time together reading books, playing games, or visiting neighborhood parks and museums.
  1. Remember that whether your family is celebrating, mourning, or just getting used to the idea of change, faith communities, cultural institutions, and nonprofits all offer opportunities for empowerment, learning, and even much needed fun.

The tips about being gracious and respecting others’ points of view are the most important for me.

How are you helping your kids understand the outcome of this election?

Read on Parents.com»

 

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10/27/2016

WNBC – News 4 New York at 4 pm

WNBC – News 4 New York at 4 pm

October 27, 2016 4:58 PM

‘I Approve this message’ Exhibit

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10/27/2016

Today, Historical Figures in "I Approve This Message"

WNBC – NEWS 4 NEW YORK:

Today historical figures are giving local kids a real life lesson. View video

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10/24/2016

NYC-Arts Top Five: October 31 - November 6

With the race for the White House right around the corner, children can experience I Approve This Message, an interactive new exhibition featuring a 40-foot display of framed historical documents with authentic autographs from the American presidents. The collection includes two original pages of Abraham Lincoln’s handwriting covering a legal settlement, Richard Nixon’s letter of resignation, personal checks signed by Harry Truman, Calvin Coolidge and Theodore Roosevelt, and autographs from several First Ladies.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan: I Approve This Message

Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Manhattan, Ongoing

Excerpt. Read whole article at NYC-Arts»

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10/21/2016

A new learning hub has opened at a Homeless Shelter in Brooklyn as part of an effort by the Children's Museum of Manhattan

NY1 NEWS, Reporter Roger Clark:  A new learning hub has opened at a Homeless Shelter in Brooklyn as part of an effort by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan to bring more educational opportunities to underserved neighborhoods. Roger Clark Joins us now from Flatbush. View video

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10/21/2016

The Children's Museum of Manhattan is celebrating the opening of a new learning hub

NY1 NEWS, Reporter Roger Clark: The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is celebrating the opening of a new learning hub for kids who live at a homeless shelter in Brooklyn. Joining us from Flatbush is Roger Clark with the story. View video

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10/21/2016

New Learning Hub Looks to Bring More Educational Opportunities to City's Low-Income Children

NY1 NEWS: An Upper West Side children’s museum is bringing its educational programs to kids around the city, and some of the five boroughs’ most vulnerable young people are benefiting. NY1’s Roger Clark filed the following report. View Video

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10/13/2016

Children's Museum nixes move to Essex Crossing

CRAINS’S NY, By
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is once again on the lookout for a new home.

The Upper West Side museum, which has been around since 1973, has pulled out of negotiations with Delancey Street Associates to move to Essex Crossing, the mixed-use development under construction near the Williamsburg Bridge. The new space would have allowed the 37,000-square-foot institution to double in size.

Andy Ackerman, CMOM’s executive director, declined to specify why talks broke down. “We had a wonderful conversation, but at the end of the day it didn’t work out,” he said. “Location, financing, timing—all those things have to line up.”

A spokesman for Delancey Street Associates declined comment.

The museum is in active discussions about two other potential sites—one on the Upper West Side and one in the Wall Street area. The new space will be a minimum of 70,000 square feet and the museum is looking at both existing buildings or new construction. Ackerman said once they secure the site, the museum will begin a capital campaign. Denham Wolf, a real estate advisory firm that specializes in nonprofits, is overseeing the search.

The Children’s Museum, located on West 83rd Street, has long been a favorite spot for Upper West Side families, but a number of popular exhibitions and programs have been attracting record visitors and pushing the current space beyond capacity.

Last February, CMOM opened an exhibit on the Muslim world called America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far. The show took six years to develop and focuses on the diversity of Muslim cultures in New York City, the United States and the rest of the world. During its development, the museum received warnings that the subject matter was too controversial for the current political environment.

But since it opened, attendance has been up 13% year over year. The first quarter of the current fiscal year, which began July 1, was the best quarter in the history of the museum for attendance. The exhibit will be extended past its January 31 closing date and is already being booked to travel to other cities after it closes.

A new exhibit on American presidents, called I Approve This Message, opened on Oct. 1 to coincide with the U.S. elections. That exhibit is attracting crowds as well. Ackerman said the museum services over 350,000 visitors a year in its fairly small space.

“We are probably the most densely visited museum,” Ackerman said. “It shows the demand for family-based programs in the city.”

Read article on Crainsnewyork.com»

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10/13/2016

Children’s Museum nixes move to Essex Crossing

CRAIN’S: Record attendance is driving the need for a larger space
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is once again on the lookout for a new home.

The Upper West Side museum, which has been around since 1973, has pulled out of negotiations with Delancey Street Associates to move to Essex Crossing, the mixed-use development under construction near the Williamsburg Bridge. The new space would have allowed the 37,000-square-foot institution to double in size.

Andy Ackerman, CMOM’s executive director, declined to specify why talks broke down. “We had a wonderful conversation, but at the end of the day it didn’t work out,” he said. “Location, financing, timing—all those things have to line up.”

A spokesman for Delancey Street Associates declined comment.

The museum is in active discussions about two other potential sites—one on the Upper West Side and one in the Wall Street area. The new space will be a minimum of 70,000 square feet and the museum is looking at both existing buildings or new construction. Ackerman said once they secure the site, the museum will begin a capital campaign. Denham Wolf, a real estate advisory firm that specializes in nonprofits, is overseeing the search.

The Children’s Museum, located on West 83rd Street, has long been a favorite spot for Upper West Side families, but a number of popular exhibitions and programs have been attracting record visitors and pushing the current space beyond capacity.

Last February, CMOM opened an exhibit on the Muslim world called America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far. The show took six years to develop and focuses on the diversity of Muslim cultures in New York City, the United States and the rest of the world. During its development, the museum received warnings that the subject matter was too controversial for the current political environment.

But since it opened, attendance has been up 13% year over year. The first quarter of the current fiscal year, which began July 1, was the best quarter in the history of the museum for attendance. The exhibit will be extended past its January 31 closing date and is already being booked to travel to other cities after it closes.

A new exhibit on American presidents, called I Approve This Message, opened on Oct. 1 to coincide with the U.S. elections. That exhibit is attracting crowds as well. Ackerman said the museum services over 350,000 visitors a year in its fairly small space.

“We are probably the most densely visited museum,” Ackerman said. “It shows the demand for family-based programs in the city.”

By Miriam Kreinin Souccar

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10/13/2016

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them (at Least at This Museum)

THE NEW YORK TIMES, By LAUREL GRAEBER
A recreated Oval Office in “I Approve This Message,” a new exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

In one of the country’s most fraught, contentious and bitterly polarizing presidential election years, it’s hard to imagine a situation in which the person about to enter the Oval Office inspires unequivocal support.

But that’s happening now, though not on Pennsylvania Avenue. On West 83rd Street in Manhattan, a presidential desk awaits a member of a group almost all Americans love: their children.

Complete with a photographic backdrop of the Oval Office, this desk adorns “I Approve This Message,” an exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan that centers on the autograph collection of Fred B. Tarter, a businessman who died last year. His family has lent the museum his documents, including the signatures of all 44 presidents, from Washington to Barack Obama, as well as those of some first ladies.

“We wanted to get our visitors — parents and children — excited about the election,” said Ellen Bari, the show’s curator. “And to do it in a different way, one that wasn’t political.”

The challenge was to make the material accessible to those ages 2 to 10. Ms. Bari introduced the recreated Oval Office, where small visitors can “sign” and stamp laminated papers and talk on a strange instrument: a rotary telephone. The exhibition also offers a “Wall for Autographs of Future Presidents,” a White House jigsaw puzzle and a miniature voting booth for deciding such momentous questions as cheese versus pepperoni pizza. It’s not exactly citizenship, but “there’s a sense of making a choice,” Ms. Bari said.

Yet this is a show whose greatest rewards are for young readers. The artifacts, often framed with presidential portraits or photographs, include a handwritten document by Lincoln from his days as a lawyer, and one by Jefferson — in English, Spanish, French and Dutch — granting a ship permission to sail. A wall text explains that a James Madison document is unusual because it concerns land sold to a woman. Sharp-eyed children may notice that John Tyler could have used spell check.

One of the most historic presidential letters on display is also the tersest: Nixon’s resignation. A text succinctly explains Watergate, with Ford’s pardon of Nixon below it.

The artist Leah Tinari has contributed a less weighty highlight, presidential portraits inscribed with sometimes quirky facts. Did you know that Woodrow Wilson was dyslexic, or that Calvin Coolidge had a raccoon?

Amid the humor, though, the show reveals that the presidency is a position of the utmost seriousness. That’s a message that we can all approve.

(Through Dec. 31 at 212 West 83rd Street; 212-721-1223, cmom.org.)

A version of this article appears in print on October 14, 2016, on page C26 of the New York edition with the headline: ‘I Approve This Message’.

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10/10/2016

Just Opened: I Approve This Message at CMOM

RED TRICYCLE

If the current political climate is making you feel a bit weary (we can’t imagine why), we’ve got the perfect antidote to lift the spirits of everyone in the house. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan just debuted “I Approve This Message” a fun, educational (and non-partisan) exhibit featuring historic docs, fun facts and loads of activities and amazing photo ops. We approve!

Signed, Sealed, Delivered
In the works since way back when there were well more than a dozen people vying for the highest office in the land, “I Approve This Message” is efficiently staged on the lower level of the museum in a relatively small space. However, they pack a lot in, and the exhibit allows for myriad  entry points for kids (and adults) of all ages, interests and abilities.
One of the anchors of the exhibit is an impressive display of presidential autographs from the collection of the late Fred B. Tarter, who began amassing the signatures at the age of 14. With fascinating examples from some of the country’s earliest leaders to the most recent, the collection shows not only the individual “hands” of our presidents, it is also a timeline of innovation, reflecting advances in printing, imaging mass production and more. (Presidential geeks take note: highlights include a two-page document handwritten by Abraham Lincoln, as well as President Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon, the latter of which there are several copies.)

For kids interested in getting more info on each president, mini bios with fun facts about each one, excerpted from Jeopardy! “genius” Ken Jennings’ Junior Genius Guides: U.S> Presidents are found directly below the display. (If they need even more, you can find the book in the museum shop.)

The Money Shots
So, there are literally money shots here, in the form of a dollar bill and a penny, to which kids can provide their face. (Both paper and coins are, the exhibit points out, “Presidents in your pocket.”)

But the killer photo op is at the diminutive presidential desk set against a backdrop of the Oval Office, complete with giant pencil, big stamp (for vetoing and approving, presumably) and a hot red phone. (We know, D.C. is not Gotham, but how can you resist?)

Signing, Voting, Silhouetting and More
That’s very fun, but there are more ways to learn about the presidents and our democracy. Each week a voting booth will invite kids to cast their ballot on one of the important issue of the day (chocolate vs. vanilla ice cream, dog vs. cat, etc.); an autograph area will allow kids to offer up his or her signature as a “future president”, and an area dedicated to the White House features a puzzle of the residence and fun facts about its evolution. (For example, no bathrooms for our early presidents.)

Other activities include making a silhouette portrait, creating a presidential seal, crafting a slogan button to promote a kid’s candidacy and going on a presidential-related scavenger hunt.

A Colorful, Modern Take, Too
To make sure kids don’t leave with the impression that there’s a certain way presidential portraits have to be, the museum enlisted artist Leah Tinari to create contemporary portraits of each president. Fun and funky, Tinari began the project when she wanted to introduce her son to presidential history and was less-than inspired by existing depictions of the statesmen.

Special events, programming and drop-ins
Themed special events and programming will take place throughout the run of the exhibit.

CMOM ComicCon will take place October 8-10 and feature Drawing History with Comic Book Artist Phil Jimenez
Meet comic illustrator Phil Jimenez responsible for Illustrating Wonder Woman and the Amazing Spider-Man #583 Barack Obama Variant featuring Spider-Man and Barack Obama written by Mark Waid. Create your own comic book about someone important to you.

The Children’s Museum Halloween Celebration will take place October 25-30
Kids are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite president or historical figure and take part in a Find That President! scavenger hunt, searching the museum for costumed former Presidents and First Ladies to collect their autographs.

Additional projects with prior sign-up required as well as drop-ins are scheduled; see the museum’s calendar for information.

BY Mimi O’Connor

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09/29/2016

Pint-Sized Politicians: Children’s Museum Of Manhattan Showcases Election History

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is teaching kids with hands-on political history.

Its new exhibition features documents with authentic autographs from U.S. presidents. They’re covered in plastic glass, and some are hung low enough for children to touch.

Highlights of the “I Approve This Message” interactive exhibition include two original pages of Abraham Lincoln’s handwriting covering a legal settlement, one of Richard Nixon’s resignation letters and personal checks signed by Harry Truman, Calvin Coolidge and Theodore Roosevelt.

Young museum-goers can sit at a child-sized Oval Office desk, use a pretend voting booth, participate in presidential scavenger hunts, participate in mock elections and even create their own campaign slogan button — perfect for any pint-sized politician.

“So far, we’ve had six presidents from this great state. Who knows what the 2016 election will bring?” Children’s Museum Executive Director Andrew Ackerman said in a statement. “Our young visitors may be inspired to be America’s next great leader one day.”

The exhibit also features presidential profiles with original art from Mike Lowery, author of “Ken Jenning’s Junior Genius Guides: U.S. Presidents.”

Organizers say the exhibit’s contemporary presidential portraits feature “a splash of color and whimsy.”

The documents are from the private collection of the late Fred B. Tarter.

The exhibit is open for children ages 2-10 and will run from Oct.1 through December 31.

For more information on the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, click here.

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09/29/2016

NYC Children’s Museum Features Election-themed Documents

AP: The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is teaching kids with hands-on political history.

Its new exhibition features documents with authentic autographs from U.S. presidents. They’re covered in plastic glass, and some are hung low enough for children to touch.

Highlights include two original pages of Abraham Lincoln’s handwriting covering a legal settlement. The exhibit also has one of Richard Nixon’s resignation letters and personal checks signed by Harry Truman, Calvin Coolidge and Theodore Roosevelt.

Young museum-goers can sit at a child-sized Oval Office desk, use a pretend voting booth and participate in mock elections.

Organizers say the exhibit’s contemporary presidential portraits feature “a splash of color and whimsy.”

The documents are from the private collection of the late Fred B. Tarter.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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09/29/2016

In this presidential campaign season

1010 WINS: In this presidential campaign season the Children’s Museum of Mahattan on West 83rd opens a special exhibit today . . .

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09/28/2016

I Approve This Message

NY1 News: A new exhibit opens this weekend at the Children’s Museum of Manahttan. It could get the kids interestd in the presidential election.

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09/28/2016

The race for the white house is in full swing

NY1 News: The race for the White House is in full swing and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan hopes to capitalize on that with a new exhibit. Roger Clark is there . . .

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08/04/2016

Wet, Wild and Wholesome: ‘Dynamic H2O’ at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan

THE NEW YORK TIMES: ‘Dynamic H20’

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is inviting young visitors to get to know the city’s most industrious commuter: one that travels 125 miles from the Catskill Mountains every day, ascends countless high-rise floors to serve New Yorkers and leaves only after long hours, thoroughly dirty.

That tireless traveler stars in the museum’s latest exhibition: “Dynamic H20.” In the outdoor Sussman Environmental Center, it allows aspiring engineers and scientists to get their feet wet — and sometimes the rest of their bodies, too.

“The main goal is to get people to understand where our water comes from, and where does it go,” said David Rios, the museum’s director of public programs.

The show begins on the center’s upper level with a tall display illustrated with side-by-side building facades. Stepping on a pedal beneath each facade causes water to rise in a transparent tube within the building’s silhouette; it takes many more pushes to pump water to the tip of the exhibit’s skyscraper than to the top of its seven-story building.

While children stomp on these pedals, they can read the exhibition’s labels, and “they’re taking in the content a little bit more,” Mr. Rios said. “We want you to interact, but we want to slow it down a tad to take in the learning.”

There’s lots to learn. The perimeter walls offer a whimsically illustrated but detailed account of the city’s water supply, showing how some of it journeys from the Ashokan Reservoir upstate to residential pipes. On the lower level, interactive components recreate that journey. A constantly filling tub representing the Ashokan connects to downward-sloping chutes that terminate in another tub: the Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers. Visitors can sail little boats here.

Another display beckons them to “Create Your Own Aqueduct” by attaching pieces of PVC pipe to a wall.

The exhibit making the biggest splash takes center stage: a 16-foot-long water table. At one end, children press a button to make a cutout cloud “rain.” Water then travels through a series of sluices and pools, with junctures where visitors can attach pipes to change its pressure or reroute it. (The museum provides waterproof smocks.)

“They can redirect the water with mobile land masses or toyland mountains,” Mr. Rios said, before it reaches its final destination: a miniature Manhattan skyline.

Other exhibits explore the careers of ecologists, hydrologists and marine biologists. And a final display details how important the show’s subject is to the human body. Right now, for instance, you’re using your brain. It’s 70 percent water.

(Through September; 212 West 83rd Street, 212-721-1223, cmom.org.)

By Laurel Graeber

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07/15/2016

Six fun things to check out this weekend in NYC

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS They may not all be about beating the heat, but if you’re looking around for some fun stuff to do this weekend, we’ve got you covered.

1. Who ya gonna call? Love it or hate it — the much talked about “Ghostbusters” reboot is in theatres this weekend nationwide.

2. Saturday July 16th is Hudson River Park’s first annual music festival, Hudson RiverStage, from 2-9 p.m. at Pier 97. Musical acts include Americana favorites such as Deer Tick, Margo Price, Anais Mitchell, and more.

3. Have some fun exploring PlayTimesSquared, a free public festival of games infused with technology created by students from NYU MAGNET (Media and games network) 12-4 p.m. today or 2-6 p.m. Saturday at the Broadway pedestrian plazas between 42nd and 43rd Sts. and 44th and 45th Sts.

4. Check out the new Dynamic H2O exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan where kids can cool off and play in the new 800-foot space featuring interactive and colorful exhibits. Suitable for all ages.

5. Remember legendary jazz musician Louis Armstrong this weekend at the 3rd Annual Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World Festival this Saturday at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, the site of the 1964 World’s Fair. Enjoy music performances, activities and an indoor beer garden all for free while walking around the park’s famous structures and museum attractions.

6. New York burger lovers rejoice! Shake Shack opens a new location in Fulton Center today at 200 Broadway.

By Tracy Brock

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07/09/2016

Children’s Museum Exhibit Dynamic H20 Teaches About Watersheds and Conservation

NY1 NEWS: Children’s Museum Exhibit Dynamic H20 Teaches About Watersheds and Conservation

Children of all ages are learning about how we get our drinking water here in the city, thanks to a new hands-on exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side. NY1’s Natalie Duddridge has that story.
By Natalie Duddridge
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06/28/2016

Children’s Museum of Manhattan awarded youth wellness grant by Target

Sun bathe ignore the squirrels, you’ll never catch them anyway, and bleghbleghvomit my furball really tie the room together slap owner’s face at 5am until human fills food dish human give me attention meow. Meowzer! jump around on couch, meow constantly until given food, you call this cat food? and lick arm hair scratch the furniture but climb leg howl uncontrollably for no reason. Behind the couch sleep on dog bed, force dog to sleep on floor. Kick up litter scratch the furniture ignore the squirrels, you’ll never catch them anyway but lick the other cats so hate dogkitten is playing with dead mouse. Sit by the fire hunt anything that moves mew but licks your face for attack dog, run away and pretend to be victim. Pooping rainbow while flying in a toasted bread costume in space. Meowing non stop for food hide from vacuum cleaner, yet spread kitty litter all over house, run in circles, so mrow or russian blue. Inspect anything brought into the house. Eat grass, throw it back up lick yarn hanging out of own butt. Poop in the plant pot meow loudly just to annoy owners yet climb leg, or pee in human’s bed until he cleans the litter box, somrow cough furball yet lie on your belly and purr when you are asleep. Flop over.

The dog smells bad purr for no reason chase ball of string climb leg. Destroy couch put butt in owner’s face. This human feeds me, i should be a god sun bathe, but meow all night having their mate disturbing sleeping humans, rub whiskers on bare skin act innocent hide head under blanket so no one can see lick the other cats curl up and sleep on the freshly laundered towels. Claw drapes lies down groom yourself 4 hours – checked, have your beauty sleep 18 hours – checked, be fabulous for the rest of the day – checked! asdflkjaertvlkjasntvkjn (sits on keyboard)for unwrap toilet paper paw at beetle and eat it before it gets away or flop over. Swat turds around the house and sometimes switches in french and say “miaou” just because well why not,thinking longingly about tuna brine get video posted to internet for chasing red dot but stretchplease stop looking at your phone and pet me. Plan steps for world domination. Mrow eat the fat cats food, yet put butt in owner’s face. Throwup on your pillow then cats take over the world lay on arms while you’re using the keyboard shove bum in owner’s face like camera lens for sleep on keyboard hide at bottom of staircase to trip human destroy couch. If it fits, i sits purr for spread kitty litter all over house. Purr while eating meow for food, then when human fills food dish, take a few bites of food and continue meowing so jump launch to pounce upon little yarn mouse, bare fangs at toy run hide in litter box until treats are fed thinking longingly about tuna brine.Howl uncontrollably for no reason and sometimes switches in french and say “miaou” just because well why not so swat turds around the house.

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06/28/2016

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan awarded youth wellness grant by target to support expansion of health and learning hubs with nyc’s department of homeless services

NEW YORK, NY: Today, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (212 West 83rd Street) announced it has been awarded a grant from Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) for $250,000 as part of Target’s ongoing youth wellness efforts.

The grant allows the Children’s Museum to expand its “health and learning hub” model to ten additional homeless shelters across the city in partnership with the Department of Homeless Services (DHS). The Museum’s health and learning hubs bring permanent museum-quality installations, graphics, and hands-on education programs focused on developing healthy lifestyles and literacy to underserved communities. To date, the Museum has installed 14 hubs in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan: eight in Head Start daycare centers, five in homeless shelters, and one at NYC’s Administration for Children’s Service intake office in downtown Manhattan. The additional ten health and learning hubs will bring the total to 24.

Over the next year, with Target’s support, in addition to transforming 10 DHS shelters, Children’s Museum staff will conduct professional development workshops for parents and shelter staff utilizing the Museum’s EatPlayGrow™ curriculum and free web resources created in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health. The curriculum emphasizes strategies for affordable, healthy living. Museum educators will conduct programs at the shelters for parents and children featuring hands-on art, literacy, music and dance that teach about good nutrition, physical activity and the importance of sleep. In addition, the Museum will host two family festivals at the Museum for all program participants.

“We are committed to helping all children thrive,” said Andrew Ackerman, executive director, Children’s Museum. “Through our many research partnerships, we strive to translate the latest discoveries in health, wellness and early learning into engaging experiences for all families. Target’s generous support allows us to expand and share this work with the city’s most vulnerable families.”

“We are grateful for our dedicated partners who share in our commitment to supporting homeless New Yorkers and strengthening access to education for children in shelter. The colorful graphics, fun interactives and programming provided by the Children’s Museum help bring to life essential messages about healthy eating, exercise, sleep and learning. We thank Target for its generous grant, allowing us to expand the Children Museum’s extraordinary program to reach even more New Yorkers in need,” said NYC Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks.

“At Target, we are committed to helping make wellness a way of life for our team members, guests and communities,” said Laysha Ward, chief corporate social responsibility officer, Target. “That’s why we are excited to partner with an impressive array of organizations who are already doing such important work to make an impact in the wellness space. Together, we will help remove barriers to wellness in our communities, working to increase the consumption of nutrient-dense food and physical activity of kids and families across the country.”

The grant is part of Target’s ongoing efforts to help make wellness more affordable, accessible and inspirational for its team members, guests and communities. Target also is partnering closely with local leaders and organizations in communities around the country who are experts in youth wellness and actively working to close the wellness gap for children. These efforts are part of Target’s long history of giving 5 percent of its profit to communities, which today equals more than $4 million every week.

Initial installation of the health and learning hubs, and related programming will begin in fall of 2016. All ten hubs are expected to be complete by spring 2017.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan – a citywide resource for children, families and educators – works to ensure children thrive at home, at school and in the community. Based on West 83rd Street, the Museum creates hands-on learning environments, programs, and curricula built on evidence-based early research and the museum sciences. In addition to its commitment to delight and educate visitors, the Museum offers resources and strategies for parents, caregivers and educators to help children become lifelong learners. Thousands more New Yorkers also benefit from the Museum’s offerings through its outreach programs at schools, Head Start centers, shelters, libraries and hospitals.  www.cmom.org

About Target
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) serves guests at 1,792 stores and at Target.com. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit to communities, which today equals more than $4 million a week. For more information, visit Target.com/Pressroom. For a behind-the-scenes look at Target, visit Target.com/abullseyeview or follow @TargetNews on Twitter.

Contacts
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Adam Miller (Rubenstein Communications), 212-843-8032, amiller@rubenstein.com

NYC Department of Homeless Services
Lauren Gray, 917-790-3890, lgray@dhs.nyc.gov

Target Corporation
Jessica Stevens, Communications, (612) 761-6351
Target Media Hotline, (612) 696-3400

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06/22/2016

10th Annual Family Pride Night

BRONXNET: Bob Lee talks with Nellie Chaban from the Children’s Museum of Manhattan about the 10th Annual Family Pride Night

View video

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06/17/2016

Fox 5: Teaming up to give kids a lesson in healthy eating

FOX 5: New York Presbyterian and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan teaming up today to give kids a lesson in healthy eating.

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05/25/2016

Dynamic H2O

 

FOX 5: It was a perfect day for kids to make a splash while learning how New Yorkers get their water.

View video

 

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04/22/2016

Children’s Museum’s Awesome Innovation Week

NY1 NEWS: Newscaster Shelley Goldberg highlights the Children’s Museum’s Awesome Innovation Week.

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04/06/2016

معرض في نيويورك خاص بثقافات المجتمعات المسلمة

AL JAZEERA ARABIC: The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, in New York City, opened a special exhibition on the cultures of Muslim communities around the world. The exhibition is organized under the slogan, “From America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far. It is expected to be on display for two years.”

View video

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03/26/2016

Easter Celebration

FOX 5: Find out what’s going on at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan for this Easter weekend.

View video

 

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03/25/2016

Have an Egg-cellent Easter

FOX & FRIENDS: Children’s Museum educator Julie Marie Siebert shares how to make egg dye from common household fruits and vegetables.

View video

 

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03/15/2016

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan

MANHATTAN SIDEWAYS: All parents throughout New York, locals and tourists alike, should know about the educational and transformative experience of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. The 83rd Street institution, although it opened in 1973, has been at its current location since 1989. It is an extraordinary (not to mention really fun!) resource for both kids and adults.

I happened to visit during the week that constitutes winter break for New York schools, and so I witnessed an incredible amount of excitement and enthusiasm on each of the floors. Children as young as a few weeks old were in their mother’s arms or being pushed in a stroller while their siblings were running around, checking out the interactive exhibits. Almost every aspect of the museum had something to push, touch, or listen to, giving children a tactile way of learning and remembering.

I received an eye-opening tour from David Rios, the Director of Public Programs, who guided me from the fifth floor back to ground level. An exhibit called Playworks, designed for early learning, is located upstairs. For more than ten years, the museum’s team worked side by side with child development experts to create a space where little ones can enhance their motor skills and problem-solving abilities. I enjoyed standing on the sidelines and observing children climbing in and out of a large wooden FDNY truck, a NYC bus, and a deli with plastic foods. As David explained, “Some museums have a supermarket, but we’re in New York, so we have a deli.”

I was amazed by how often the museum catered to varying age levels within the same space. For example, in the Movers and Shakers section, older children could learn math and physics by building mini roller coasters while younger siblings could crawl through tunnels and slide down slides. I was delighted to see parents participating with their children: this is definitely a museum where entire families can enjoy themselves, and children’s learning is enhanced by parental guidance. Though there are plenty of buttons that encourage children to learn on their own, there is also signage so that parents can provide a further explanation to their kids. The museum is designed so that parents and older children do not feel intimidated or shy about trying out the different exhibits. As David stated so nicely, “This is a fun, non-judgmental environment for all ages to learn.”

Continuing on, I entered The Lab, where children can read stories, sing songs, and learn more about art and science. All of the writing and sound bites are bilingual, since Spanish-speaking families make up such a significant portion of New York City’s population. David told me that The Lab sometimes holds special events, such as a visit from members of Alvin Ailey, who danced with the children in an effort to teach them about movement. The next room took Peek-a-Boo to a whole new level with a digital version of the game and in the following room, I had to laugh out loud as I explored the digestive system, complete with a talking toilet.

The grand finale of the tour was the America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far special exhibit that is running from February 2016 – February 2017. The visually compelling exhibit is a multimedia exploration of the diversity of Muslim cultures within the United States and abroad. It is a collaboration between the museum’s staff and members of the Muslim community and is an ingenious way of introducing children to topical cultural differences in an age-appropriate way. For example, there is a section where kids can press buttons to smell a variety of fruits and spices, as well as a collection of “Objects and Stories from American Muslim Homes.” Some other highlights included a life-size camel, musical instruments, and a virtual reality room that allows visitors to explore the architectural styles of different mosques. I was pleased to find out Mayor Bill de Blasio supports the exhibit. He has stated, “With America to Zanzibar, children will have the chance to learn about Muslim cultures in an engaging and thoughtful way. We only grow stronger when we embrace and celebrate the multitude of cultural backgrounds that make up New York.”

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03/10/2016

Children’s Museum exhibit aims to bridge gap between Islam, West

NEWSDAY: Hussein Rashid, who grew up in Elmont surrounded by friends from across the globe, is using his American experience to bridge the gap between Muslim and Western societies in a new museum exhibit.

“Elmont was really very diverse,” said Rashid, 42, who teaches Islamic studies at Hofstra University in Hempstead and is a consultant for “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far,” a new exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

Rashid, who was born in Rego Park, Queens, said his New York multiethnic and cultural experience had him reflect on his own Muslim heritage that inspired a career in Islamic studies.

“I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s in a time when people had boundaries, but where there was this intermingling of people that is ideal when growing up. I had friends from Trinidad, Haiti, Jamaica, Colombia and friends from traditional Irish and Italian families. Today they are still my friends,” Rashid said.

The museum’s interactive exhibition exposes schoolchildren to different Islamic cultures through the colors, smells and century-old artifacts that recreate the Muslim world. Life-size photographs of an Egyptian market set the scene of a local bazaar where children can smell spices and fruits commonly sold.

Sadie “is at the perfect age for this exhibit,” said her grandmother Cynthia Beck of Manhattan, who put Sadie, 2, in a Senegalese dress. “She is curious and it’s a hands-on experience. She may not see or know the differences now in the culture, but she gets to see the bright colors and that it is different.”

The children not only play dress up but get to serve tea in an Islamic designed tearoom with replica Turkish ceramic dishes.“Our goal is to have children deal with differences in a healthy, positive way and encourage them to be inquisitive while exploring the world instead of running away from its differences,” Rashid said, an experience not so different from his years growing up in Elmont.

Visitors also hear the stories of Muslims living in America, such as Puerto Rican urban artist Jorge “Fabel” Pabon, 50, who tells his story of growing up Catholic in Spanish Harlem and who became a follower of Islam at age 24.

“My story is that you can still be an individual and have your own identity, and that being Muslim doesn’t mean you have to adapt to an Arab culture,” Pabon said. He is a member of the Alianza Islamica in Manhattan, an organization that recognizes the cultural influence of the Moors, who conquered Spain in the 700s and were Islamic in faith.

Leyla Hamedi, 30, of Manhattan, is half Turkish and half Iranian. A museum employee, she donated her grandfather’s lapel pin that depicts the profile of Turkey’s first President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

“My grandfather wore that pin to honor Ataturk’s belief in a progressive and modern society,” she said. “The exhibit shows the difference between religious views and cultural views and that they are not always the same. ”

By Maria Alvarez Special to Newsday

 

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03/04/2016

Arts Projects Aim to ‘Build Bridges’ Between Muslims, Non-Muslims in U.S.

NEWSWEEK: At the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side in New York City, children and their parents can explore “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far,” a recently opened exhibit featuring performances by contemporary Muslim artists, and other programs. Farther downtown, the PEN American Center is developing a Writing While Muslim series of events featuring Muslim and non-Muslim writers of fiction, comedy, film and other genres discussing unity, identity and self-expression. Just across the river, the Brooklyn-based Mark Morris Dance Group will create, perform and foster engagement through a new work, Layla and Majnun, based on a love story told across the Muslim world. View video

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03/01/2016

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan and Administration for Children’s Services to Hold Ribbon Cutting for New Learning Hub at Acs’s Central Office

Learning Hub Installation is the 14th by Children’s Museum at Community Sites across the City

New York, NY – March 1, 2016 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, in partnership with the City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), today announced it has replicated its successful early childhood health and literacy learning hub model inside the ACS Division of Early Care and Education (ECE) offices on the 7th floor of 66 John Street in Lower Manhattan. The Children’s Museum and ACS will unveil the learning hub, which will be open to visitors during ACS’ regular business hours, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony today.

This collaboration brings hands-on exhibit components and colorful wall graphics to the Division of ECE to interest and engage both parents and children in health and literacy information. To date, the museum has installed 14 learning hubs in underserved communities in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan: eight in Head Start daycare centers, five in homeless shelters, and one with ACS.

The Children’s Museum, with a New York Community Trust grant of $87,000 and a $10,000 grant from Chaparral Foundation, will also conduct professional development training for 150 ACS home-based care providers and offer two free family events at the museum.

“Through this collaboration with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, we will be able to use this installation to engage our families when they come to our Early Care and Education (ECE) Office, “ said ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrión. “I am proud of this partnership and also of the professional development training for our staff that will ultimately enhance the services we provide for our families.”

“Each learning hub is designed to contribute to a sustainable citywide impact on the long term health and success of New York City’s children,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of the Children’s Museum. “Partnering with ACS, a vital city agency, on this installation and arts-based professional development training will help us reach both families and professionals with important health and literacy information.”

About the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan – a citywide resource for children, families and educators – works to ensure children flourish at home, at school and in the community. Based on West 83rd Street, the Museum creates hands-on learning environments, programs, and curricula built on evidence-based early research and the museum sciences. In addition to its commitment to delight and educate visitors, the Museum offers resources and strategies for parents, caregivers and educators to help children become lifelong learners. Thousands more New Yorkers also benefit from the Museum’s offerings through its outreach programs at schools, Head Start centers, shelters, libraries and hospitals. Website

As the city’s key cultural institution committed to the well-being of NYC families, the Children’s Museum has partnered with many city agencies to provide shared resources that connect home, school and community. Partnerships include: the Administration of Children’s Services to provide professional development training for caregivers; the Department of Education to engage parents and children in school readiness; the Department of Health to create parent engagement training model for teachers; and the Department of Homeless Services to deliver health and literacy programs for adults and children.

Through its cutting-edge collaborations with academic institutions such as New York University, Barnard College and Johns Hopkins University, its partnerships with local and national government agencies including the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Endowment for Humanities and the support of forward-looking funders including the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, the Institute for Museum and Library Services and W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Children’s Museum is a trusted partner of local and national cultural, academic, arts, governmental and civil society organizations committed to the welfare and advancement of children and families.

About NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services Division of Early Care and Education
The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Division of Early Care and Education (ECE) currently provides publicly funded services to 110,000 children through its contracted care and voucher system. Currently, the ECE contracted care system, named EarlyLearn, partners with 151 center-based early childhood education providers and 31 Family Child Care Networks to offer 38,800 center and home-based seats. In the contracted care system, 29,294 children ages six weeks to five years old are served in center-based settings and 9,546 children primarily ages three and under are served in home-based settings. Website

About The New York Community Trust
Since 1924, The New York Community Trust has been the home of charitable New Yorkers who share a passion for the City and its suburbs – and who are committed to improving them. The Trust supports effective nonprofits that help make the City a vital and secure place to live, learn, work, and play, while building permanent resources for the future. The New York Community Trust ended 2015 with assets of nearly $2.5 billion in more than 2,000 charitable funds, and made grants totaling $165 million. The Trust welcomes new donors. Information

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02/26/2016

Children’s Museum: America to Zanzibar

FOX 5: From architecture and art to food and music, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s new exhibit “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far” introduces children and their families to multifaceted Muslim communities around the globe and right here in New York. View video

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02/25/2016

The Muslim Culture Exhibition on TRT Showcase

REUTERS: Journalist Jade Barker offers views an in-depth look at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s newest exhibition, America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far. View video

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02/24/2016

America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far

4 NBC: Lizzy Martin of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan joins us to discuss a new interactive exhibit that explores diversity of Muslim cultures worldwide. View Video

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02/23/2016

Learning by Doing at the Children’s Museum

WALL STREET JOURNAL, URBAN GARDNER: Ralph Gardner Jr. gets a taste of Muslim cultures from around the world
There are few occasions when I wish I was 3 years old. But I did during a visit to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s new exhibit called “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far.” One of the attractions is a vividly decorated Pakistani bus that you can hop into and go for a pretend ride.

There’s also a replica of an Indian Ocean dhow, a boat with steering wheels that you can spin and a conveyor belt that moves its cargo of coconuts from the hold to the deck.

I was told the vessel also boasted something described as a “multisensory exploration” of the cargo hold. But I was too large and feeble to attempt to enter the space where it was located. Plus, I’d probably have traumatized all the kids I’d have to push out of the way.

The show is the fourth in the Upper West Side museum’s Global Cultural Exhibition Series, intended-as the name suggests-to create global citizens. And I can attest, from both observation and ancient personal experience, that the best way to broaden horizons isn’t by lecturing kids about being better people but by letting them climb into, over and through things.

Also, letting them play dress up, a pastime I never embraced but that my daughters were crazy about. The exhibit includes a Senegalese fashion nook where you can don all sorts of colorful fabrics, inspired by the West African tailors of West 116th Street.

It’s part of the exhibition’s souk, or marketplace, where you can pretend to buy and sell spices, ceramics from Turkey and rugs from Morocco.

If I have any criticism of the exhibit, it’s that nowhere can you learn how to haggle. And in my travels to that part of the world, haggling was an indispensable skill.

And for parents and caregivers convinced their children would prefer to stay home playing computer games, there’s an eye-popping interactive architectural experience. It allows you to visit mosques around the world, inside and out, as their images are projected onto a 21-foot curved screen.

I feared the place might be deserted late on a weekday afternoon. That just goes to show how out-of-tune I’ve become with the rhythms of New York City childhood. The place was packed, probably because the city’s public schools were on midwinter break.

“It’s educational for parents, for children, for everybody,” said Nissim Chekroun, who was tagging along behind her daughter, Sarah.

The show includes lots of stuff for grown-ups, too. The “American Home” area is filled with objects donated by American Muslims. Among them is a photo of a group of children with Muhammad Ali at Chicago’s Sister Clara Muhammad School in the early 1980s.

“I remember him doing all kinds of little magic tricks for the children,” remembered Precious Rasheeda Muhammad, an author and historian, on her wall text.

Arwa Gunja, executive producer of Freakonomics Radio, included her soccer cleats, the bejeweled headpieces she wore as a young girl on holidays at her Islamic Center, hair straightener and her jean shorts.

“My parents were traditional and insisted we cover our legs and dress modestly outside the house,” she wrote. “But I rebelled and would sneak out of the house with shorts underneath a pair of pants that I would tear off once I got to school.

I could relate. My parents forced me to wear short-pant suits to school long after my classmates graduated to trousers. So I’d sneak a pair of long pants in my book bag.

What unites us is greater than what divides us.

Nonetheless, Hussein Rashid, the exhibit’s lead academic adviser, agreed that much of the content in the “American Home” section would go over the head of the average toddler.

My final stop-I was hoping to visit, virtually, the Islamic Cultural Center of New York on the Upper East Side, but some little girl was hogging the controls in the architectural area-was a spice cart where children were grounding up cinnamon, coriander and mint and turning them into tea. It wasn’t bad. If only there had been a nice slice of baklava to go along with it.

By RALPH GARDNER JR.

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02/23/2016

Children’s exhibit of Muslim cultures opens in New York

RELIGION NEWS SERVICE: A first-of-its-kind exhibit is introducing young museum-goers to Muslim cultures around the world.

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan opened “America to Zanzibar” earlier this month, a 3,000-square-foot, interactive exhibit that invites kids to explore Muslim cultures across the world. Visitors can design buildings inspired by Islamic architecture, walk through a pretend Muslim-American home furnished with art and other objects donated by Muslim families and climb a life-size camel in a pretend journey across the desert.

The exhibit winds through a courtyard decorated with verses by Muslim poets and an art gallery featuring contemporary works by Muslim-Americans.

“New York City’s Muslim residents make up a vital part of our city’s rich and diverse communities and we’re proud to have this exhibit in one of our city’s important cultural resources,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With America to Zanzibar, children will have the chance to learn about Muslim cultures in an engaging and thoughtful way.”

The exhibit, five years in the making, is funded by the the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, among others. It will also feature a host of festivals and live performances during its more than yearlong stay. It will then travel to other parts of the nation.

“America to Zanzibar” is the fourth in the museum’s Global Cultures Exhibition Series. Previous exhibits explored ancient Greece, China and Japan.

BY Lauren Markoe

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02/17/2016

America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far

FOX 5 NEW YORK MINUTE: There’s a new exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side aimed at teaching children about Muslim cultures worldwide. View Video

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02/12/2016

NY1 Press coverage of America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far

NY1: Press coverage on the opening of “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far”

Critical Mention View

Shelly Goldeberg View 

UWS Exhibit Showcases Diversity of Muslim Culture, View

Interview with Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of the Museum. View

Interview with Lizzy Martin, Director, Exhibition Development and Museum Planning, View

 

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02/11/2016

NYC Children’s Museum Celebrates Muslim Diversity

VOICE OF AMERICA:

NEW YORK — Imagine a place where children can steer a dhow boat across the Indian Ocean, sell Egyptian spices and Moroccan rugs, hop on a camel and embark across the Sahara. “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far” is a groundbreaking interactive museum exhibit in the heart of New York City that lets kids do just that: explore the A-to-Z of Muslim cultures. View video

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01/29/2016

NYC’s Best Family-Friendly Holiday Events

A girl pushes a toy penguin across melting ice as she skates at rink in Bryant Park on December 24, 2015 in New York City.(Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

By Deirdre Haggerty/Carly Petrone

There are plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays in NYC. From Christmas tree lightings to gingerbread house making, here are five of our favorites.

(credit: The Plaza Hotel)

The Plaza Hotel

Fifth Ave. at Central Park South
10019
212-759-3000

Come see the festive Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at The Plaza Hotel on November 29th at 5 p.m. For the first time, the tree will be adorned from top to bottom with white and gold ornaments and lights. You may also spot jolly Christmas carolers singing throughout the hotel from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Make a day of it and reserve at able at The Palm Court for a premium tea and champagne celebration (plus it’s the best seat in the house for the ceremony). Can’t make it on Tuesday? Make sure to stop by the hotel on Christmas Eve to wish Santa well on his night of gift giving. See website for more details.

Family Holiday Events - Children's Museum of Manhattan

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

212 W. 83rd Street
New York, NY
http://cmom.org/

Let your children create a Winter wonderland of their own at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Using Tegu magnetic building blocks, kids can use their imaginations to build whatever their heart desires, while also learning about science, magnetics and construction. Exhibit runs from Dec. 10 through Jan. 8, 2017. Visit website for more details.

nybg train show yankee stadium e1480342891177 NYCs Best Family Friendly Holiday Events

A replica of Yankee Stadium seen at the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show. (credit: NYBG/John Peden)

Holiday Train Show

New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd.
Bronx, NY 10458
(718) 817-8779
www.nybg.org

Date: Through Jan. 16, 2017 

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden is celebrating 25 years of “holiday magic.” See model trains displayed throughout 150 landmarks, including several New York City favorites, like Grand Central Station and the Brooklyn Bridge. Advance reservations are recommended.

(Credit: Courtesy Photo/Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer)

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

The Theater at Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden
4 Pennsylvania Plaza
New York, NY 10001
(212) 465-6741
www.rudolphthemusical.com

Dates: Dec. 1-18, 2016 

The classic Christmas television special has been transformed into a musical this holiday season. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is flying into The Theater at Madison Square Garden for a limited engagement — with beloved characters like Santa, Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf and Yukon Cornelius. There are no losers with these reindeer games — children will cherish the Christmas special and parents will fall in love with the story all over again.

gettyimages 502432236 master e1480340141736 NYCs Best Family Friendly Holiday Events

Bryant Park Winter Village

Bryant Park
41 W. 40th St.
New York, NY 10018
(917) 438-5166
www.wintervillage.org

Dates: Through March 5, 2017 

The holiday shops at Bryant Park are open until Jan. 2, 2017, and feature artisan boutiques, food from local vendors, and a whole lot of fun. There is something for everyone this holiday season at Bryant Park.

453603450 10 e1480340209556 NYCs Best Family Friendly Holiday Events

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Music Hall
1260 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
(212) 247-4777
www.radiocity.com

Dates: Through Jan. 2, 2017, various show times

“The Radio City Christmas Spectacular” featuring the Rockettes has been entertaining New York and the world for nearly a century.  Truly nothing is as magical as entering Radio City to witness this annual event. From the first moment the Rockettes appear during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and perform throughout, to the first and tenth time you see them onstage, you know you have witnessed something spectacular.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York. (Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

Rockefeller Center
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10111
(212) 332-6868
www.rockefellercenter.com

Date: Nov. 30, 2016

The Christmas Tree is first lit during a star-studded event on November 30. The annual Christmas Tree-lighting ceremony is free to all, and open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. This year’s Norway spruce comes from Oneonta, New York.

(credit: Davio's)

Gingerbread House Workshop

Davio’s Manhattan
447 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10017
212-286-9819

Have you always wanted to put together a gingerbread masterpiece? Now’s your chance, because Pastry Chef Luis Rojas will lead a demonstration and a one-of-a-kind workshop at Davio’s Manhattan on December 10. Guests can decorate their winter wonderland with marshmallows and all kinds of candy while sipping house wine, beer, or select holiday cocktails. Help spread a little joy and arrive at the workshop with a piece of gently used or new winter clothing for infants or children to benefit the Good+ Foundation. Tickets are $55 and the workshop goes from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

the story e1480342300849 NYCs Best Family Friendly Holiday Events

(credit: The Story)

The Story

144 10th Ave.
New York, NY
212-242-4853

Make sure to stop by the Home For The Holidays store every weekend this December to get your shopping and foodie fix. Their Snack ‘n Shop series kicks off on December 3, with Wafels and Dinges setting up — but make sure to check out their rotating list of vendors because Snow Day, Korilla BBQ, and Carpe Donut NYC will all be providing snacks during the busy holiday shopping season. his exciting retail space closes up shop on December 31, but keep your eyes peeled for what’s to come. Learn more here.

(credit: Latke Festival)

Latke Festival

The Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Pkwy
11238

More: Best Kosher Restaurants In NYC

Mark your calendars for December 19, because the Brooklyn Museum is hosting its annual Latke Festival. Come taste the best latkes (and other creative interpretations of a potato pancake) underneath the Museum’s beautiful glass pavilion. There will be a panel of celebrity judges, plenty of amazing food, and festive cheer. Tickets range from $55-$120 and all net proceeds go toward The Sylvia Center, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing childhood obesity and food-related diseases through hands-on programs

For the latest on all of the Tri-State’s events and happenings, follow us on Twitter!

Carly Petrone is the founder of Petrone on the Rocks, a lifestyle site about food, drinks, beauty, travel, and more. She lives in New York City.

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01/27/2016

10 Best Things to do in New York City in February 2016

Mommy Nearest

On February 13, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan will open a new one-of-a-kind exhibit that celebrates Muslim cultures through hands-on activities. Children can visit a mosque and decorate its walls with colorful designs; test their skills in international trade by selling rugs, fish and ceramics in the market place; and explore ancient trade routes on a two story Indian Ocean dhow (boat) or on a camel. There will also be a ton of performances, workshops and demos held at the UWS spot in conjunction with the exhibit.

BY Stephanie Barnhart

View post

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01/16/2016

Children Around the City are Remembering Dr. King this Weekend.

NY1 News

Children at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan used recycled materials to create a mosaic of Dr. Kings portrait. View video

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01/16/2016

Children Pay Tribute to Dr King at the Children's Museum of Manhattan

Fox5: Children Pay Tribute to Dr King at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side. View video

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01/16/2016

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

ABC, This week with George Stepanopoulos: Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. View video

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01/13/2016

PRESS RELEASE: CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF MANHATTAN ANNOUNCES OPENING OF “AMERICA TO ZANZIBAR: MUSLIM CULTURES NEAR AND FAR”

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF MANHATTAN ANNOUNCES OPENING OF “AMERICA TO ZANZIBAR: MUSLIM CULTURES NEAR AND FAR”

New Interactive Exhibit Set to Open Feb. 13, 2016 Explores Diversity of Muslim Cultures Worldwide for a Family Audience

“America to Zanzibar” is the Fourth in a Series of Major Cultural Exhibitions by the Children’s Museum as Part of its Commitment to Help Prepare Children for Today’s Global Society

New York, NY January 13, 2016 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan today announced the opening of America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far, a groundbreaking, new interactive exhibit for children and families that explores the diversity of Muslim cultures in New York City, the U.S. and abroad. The multimedia exhibit and programming at the Children’s Museum (212 West 83rd Street) showcases the cultural expressions of various Muslim communities around the world through age-appropriate experiences with art, architecture, travel, trade, design and more. It will open Feb. 13 and remain open for at least a year.

The 3,000-square-foot exhibit is the fourth in the museum’s Global Cultural Exhibition Series, following exhibits about the cultures of Ancient Greece, China and Japan. The series celebrates the diversity of cultural expression across our interdependent world. An important part of the museum’s ongoing commitment to nurture the next generation of global citizens, the series offers family-friendly, hands-on experiences designed to engage the senses and appeal to a wide variety of learning styles.

“Exposure to cultural differences at a young age, especially through the arts and everyday activities, helps children develop a more nuanced respect for diversity as they age,” said Andrew Ackerman, the Children’s Museum’s executive director. “This is vitally important in today’s world, particularly in New York, one of the most diverse cities in the world.”

America to Zanizbar offers a compelling introduction to the great variety of Muslim visual art, architecture, and cultural experiences in the United States and globally,” said Bro Adams, the National Endowment for the Humanities chairman. “Guided by leading humanities scholars, this new exhibit reflects the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s ongoing commitment to exploring international history and culture, and exemplifies NEH’s support for educational exhibits on world cultures.”

The exhibit, designed for children ages 2-10 and their families, consists of five major sections: a Global Marketplace, Trade Routes area, Courtyard area, Architecture area and an American Home area.

The Global Marketplace features stalls from around the world brimming with sounds, smells and goods, where children can pretend to buy and sell spices from Egypt, ceramics from Turkey and rugs from Morocco. They can also weigh their fresh catch at the Zanzibari fish market, smell Indonesian fruits, serve Tajik tea, and design outfits inspired by the West African tailors on 116th Street.

Visitors learn about the exchange of culture across continents and centuries in the Trade Routes area. Children can climb aboard a replica of a multi-level Indian Ocean dhow (boat) and experiment with navigation techniques, travel to various ports, learn to bargain, and unload goods from around the world. Below deck, they can experience a multisensory exploration of the dhow’s cargo. Children can also decorate a Pakistani truck, then hop in the cab and embark on a pretend trip through the Western Himalayas. They can also climb on top of a life-size camel and journey across the desert.

The Architecture area virtually transports visitors into a series of magnificent, international mosque architectural styles. Breathtaking panoramic images are projected onto a 21-foot curved screen and explore the wide range of aesthetic styles from Asia to Africa and to America. Families can also try their hand at drafting their own structures, complete with domes and arches, while gaining insight into architectural traditions from around the Muslim world.

The Courtyard features warm light flooding through a lattice roof. Families can explore key elements of design, water and geometric patterns that are central to a traditional Muslim courtyard. At a central fountain, visitors can sample verses from renowned Muslim poets and share how they would make the world a better place – one drop at a time. Children are also encouraged to make music with digital instruments, and compete in a guessing game with authentic objects that illustrate the significance of geometric patterns in Muslim cultures.

The American Home area is a contemporary living room filled with objects donated by American Muslims. Visitors explore the wide variety of American and New York City Muslims’ stories through their unique objects, clothing, art and books. They can also learn to write “My name is…” in 21 of the languages spoken by New York Muslims, view artistic works by emerging local American Muslim artists, and follow the history of Muslims in the U.S. through a visual timeline.

America to Zanzibar will also feature a selection of art and artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s renowned collection of Islamic art.

A wide range of workshops, programs, live performances and festivals will take place throughout the exhibit’s run. Participation is free with admission.

Over the past five years, the Children’s Museum has worked with an international network of advisors from academia, research, civil society, government and the arts in support of America to Zanzibar.

Funding has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts, the MetLife Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Violet Jabara Charitable Trust, the El-Hibri Foundation, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s Board of Directors and scores of individuals. Citywide programs are funded by the NYC Council under the leadership of Speaker Mark-Viverito.

Following its run at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the exhibit will travel to other cultural institutions around the country.

###

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is the vibrant home to 350,000 visitors a year from all segments of the NYC community and tourists from around the world. The museum’s educational mission in early childhood education, creativity, health and culture thrives within our home on 83rd Street and in dozens of communities across the city as well as through national initiatives with leading authorities and government agencies. Child development is at the core of the museum’s values and mission and our vision is to be the bridge that connects children and adults in the community, school and home in order to prepare our children for the global world in which they live. For details regarding all of the Children’s Museum programs and initiatives, please visit www.cmom.org

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01/13/2016

PRESS RELEASE: CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF MANHATTAN ANNOUNCES OPENING OF “AMERICA TO ZANZIBAR: MUSLIM CULTURES NEAR AND FAR”

New York, NY January 13, 2016 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan today announced the opening of America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far, a groundbreaking, new interactive exhibit for children and families that explores the diversity of Muslim cultures in New York City, the U.S. and abroad. The multimedia exhibit and programming at the Children’s Museum (212 West 83rd Street) showcases the cultural expressions of various Muslim communities around the world through age-appropriate experiences with art, architecture, travel, trade, design and more. It will open Feb. 13 and remain open for at least a year.

The 3,000-square-foot exhibit is the fourth in the museum’s Global Cultural Exhibition Series, following exhibits about the cultures of Ancient Greece, China and Japan. The series celebrates the diversity of cultural expression across our interdependent world. An important part of the museum’s ongoing commitment to nurture the next generation of global citizens, the series offers family-friendly, hands-on experiences designed to engage the senses and appeal to a wide variety of learning styles.

“Exposure to cultural differences at a young age, especially through the arts and everyday activities, helps children develop a more nuanced respect for diversity as they age,” said Andrew Ackerman, the Children’s Museum’s executive director. “This is vitally important in today’s world, particularly in New York, one of the most diverse cities in the world.”

America to Zanizbar offers a compelling introduction to the great variety of Muslim visual art, architecture, and cultural experiences in the United States and globally,” said Bro Adams, the National Endowment for the Humanities chairman. “Guided by leading humanities scholars, this new exhibit reflects the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s ongoing commitment to exploring international history and culture, and exemplifies NEH’s support for educational exhibits on world cultures.”

The exhibit, designed for children ages 2-10 and their families, consists of five major sections: a Global Marketplace, Trade Routes area, Courtyard area, Architecture area and an American Home area.

The Global Marketplace features stalls from around the world brimming with sounds, smells and goods, where children can pretend to buy and sell spices from Egypt, ceramics from Turkey and rugs from Morocco. They can also weigh their fresh catch at the Zanzibari fish market, smell Indonesian fruits, serve Tajik tea, and design outfits inspired by the West African tailors on 116th Street.

Visitors learn about the exchange of culture across continents and centuries in the Trade Routes area. Children can climb aboard a replica of a multi-level Indian Ocean dhow (boat) and experiment with navigation techniques, travel to various ports, learn to bargain, and unload goods from around the world. Below deck, they can experience a multisensory exploration of the dhow’s cargo. Children can also decorate a Pakistani truck, then hop in the cab and embark on a pretend trip through the Western Himalayas. They can also climb on top of a life-size camel and journey across the desert.

The Architecture area virtually transports visitors into a series of magnificent, international mosque architectural styles. Breathtaking panoramic images are projected onto a 21-foot curved screen and explore the wide range of aesthetic styles from Asia to Africa and to America. Families can also try their hand at drafting their own structures, complete with domes and arches, while gaining insight into architectural traditions from around the Muslim world.

The Courtyard features warm light flooding through a lattice roof. Families can explore key elements of design, water and geometric patterns that are central to a traditional Muslim courtyard. At a central fountain, visitors can sample verses from renowned Muslim poets and share how they would make the world a better place – one drop at a time. Children are also encouraged to make music with digital instruments, and compete in a guessing game with authentic objects that illustrate the significance of geometric patterns in Muslim cultures.

The American Home area is a contemporary living room filled with objects donated by American Muslims. Visitors explore the wide variety of American and New York City Muslims’ stories through their unique objects, clothing, art and books. They can also learn to write “My name is…” in 21 of the languages spoken by New York Muslims, view artistic works by emerging local American Muslim artists, and follow the history of Muslims in the U.S. through a visual timeline.

America to Zanzibar will also feature a selection of art and artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s renowned collection of Islamic art.

A wide range of workshops, programs, live performances and festivals will take place throughout the exhibit’s run. Participation is free with admission.

Over the past five years, the Children’s Museum has worked with an international network of advisors from academia, research, civil society, government and the arts in support of America to Zanzibar.

Funding has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts, the MetLife Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Violet Jabara Charitable Trust, the El-Hibri Foundation, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s Board of Directors and scores of individuals. Citywide programs are funded by the NYC Council under the leadership of Speaker Mark-Viverito.

Following its run at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the exhibit will travel to other cultural institutions around the country.

###

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is the vibrant home to 350,000 visitors a year from all segments of the NYC community and tourists from around the world. The museum’s educational mission in early childhood education, creativity, health and culture thrives within our home on 83rd Street and in dozens of communities across the city as well as through national initiatives with leading authorities and government agencies. Child development is at the core of the museum’s values and mission and our vision is to be the bridge that connects children and adults in the community, school and home in order to prepare our children for the global world in which they live. For details regarding all of the Children’s Museum programs and initiatives, please visit www.cmom.org

Read More >
12/31/2015

Kids Ring In New Year Early At Children’s Museum Of Manhattan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some kids are getting a head start on their New Year’s celebration.

Children got to start the new year off with some fun and creativity at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side.

As the museum’s glittering New Year’s Eve ball came down, children told CBS2’s Meg Baker their wish for 2016.

“I hope it’s going to be a good year,” one child said.

“To be happy,” another child said.

“That everybody has clothes,” another said.

Isabel and Siera have birthdays at the beginning of the year and since it wasn’t a white Christmas, they are hoping for some snow for the new year.

Many also vowed to stop teasing their brothers and sisters.

Parents will make sure to help the kids keep their resolutions.

“It’s important to help your kids about different goals and what you would set,” parent Tracy Jacobs said. “You could show them how you set them for yourself, like if I want to be a neater mom, or somebody who’s more involved. If you try to give them an example I think that helps them out a bit.”

View video

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12/28/2015

New York Minute: The Ball Drop Test

Fox 5 New York Minute

3, 2 ,1 . . . Happy New Year! Kids at the Childrens Museum of Manhattan got to ring in the New Year a little early today . . .

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11/24/2015

Homeless families visit Children’s Museum of Manhattan

FOX5: Homeless families enjoyed a special day at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. A small group of moms and their children came to a room at the museum, a place to learn, a place to grow, and it’s safe. The mothers are all homeless and live with their kids at a shelter just a few blocks away.

The visit starts with arts and crafts. The mothers sit side by side with a social worker and talk about their week. The children come to learn and have one on one time with teachers, all for free. View video

By LIZ DAHLEM

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11/11/2015

Ambassador Lodhi calls for understanding among world cultures at an art exhibit

Business Recorder

NEW YORK: A preview of an upcoming major educational exhibition exploring the diversity of Muslim cultures drew a large number of art lovers and diplomats to the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations, which hosted the impressive event.

Displays of art, ceramics and other forms of cultural expression from Pakistan and other Muslim countries were on view.

“America to Zanzibar” exhibition, set to take place in February, is part of the Children’s Museum of New York mission to promote cross-cultural exchange and understanding, and have a positive impact on how the next generation of Americans interacts with Muslims both at home and globally.

“The exhibition aims to celebrate the richness and diversity of Muslim cultures from around the world,” Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told guests on Monday evening. “The Children’s Museum will present the diverse lives and experiences of Muslim communities, including from Pakistan, through innovative mediums of sights, sounds and stories.”

There were wide gaps in perception and understanding among world cultures and underscored the need to debunk the widespread stereotypes that still prevail about Muslims in the West, she said, adding that the exhibition was about ?promoting understanding, respect, tolerance and peace among world cultures.

Appreciating the efforts of Children’s Museum, she said that the exhibition, which will open in early 2016, would make Muslim culture accessible to children at an early age. “This is a great way to challenge and negate the widespread stereotypes”.

Ambassador Lodhi she was particularly pleased that through this innovative exhibit so many children and families would be introduced to Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage and many other Islamic cultures from across the world. This was especially important at a time when Pakistani art and music was thriving and taking artistic expression to new levels of excellence.

She termed the exhibition as “timely” in a globalized world and said that promoting understanding and respect among world cultures were shared and contemporary imperatives as “we raise our children and prepare them to be global citizens”.

The Pakistani ambassador also praised the contribution of Pakistani-Americans to the US and its diverse culture.

In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi encouraged the diplomatic community, the United Nations, Pakistani diaspora and the media to spread the word and support the Museum and this unique exhibition in whatever way they could.

Donald Camp, Senior Adviser to the US Mission in New York, in his remarks, highlighted the importance of inter-cultural harmony and understanding with the Muslim world. He also recounted the contribution of Muslim communities to the US.

Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan explained the whole concept of the Exhibition and how it would help the children to understand various aspects of Muslim cultures around the world.

A sitar and table player entertained guests at the reception.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2015

Posted by Parvez Jabri

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10/21/2016

A new learning hub has opened at a Homeless Shelter in Brooklyn as part of an effort by the Children's Museum of Manhattan

NY1 NEWS, Reporter Roger Clark:  A new learning hub has opened at a Homeless Shelter in Brooklyn as part of an effort by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan to bring more educational opportunities to underserved neighborhoods. Roger Clark Joins us now from Flatbush. View video

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10/20/2015

Excited Mets fans of all sizes are set to cheer on their team Tuesday night.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork): As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is teaching the littlest New Yorkers how to root for their favorite team — and right now, that’s the Mets.

View video

“Go Mets!” said Lucy Gold, a little girl from the Upper West Side. “Mets fans are little people, too — and they’re boys and they’re girls and they’re grandparents,” said Andy Ackerman of the Children’s Museum. “So we have a lot of Mets fans coming to the Children’s Museum to celebrate.”

Mets pennants hang at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. (Credit: CBS2) Inside, there are blue and orange flags marking the Mets’ road to the National League pennant. One woman was spotted with her hair dyed the team’s colors.

The fanfare has Mets faithful checking on airfares to Chicago, where the Amazin’s will face the Cubs in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday night. Last-minute flights Tuesday were going for less than $200. Mets season ticket holder Ben Weil said he couldn’t pass it up.

“When I saw $140 roundtrip, that became a no-brainer at that point,” he said. At midday, StubHub had plenty of standing-room tickets at Wrigley Field for the game in the mid-$100 range, with seats for not much more.

And for those staying in New York, it seems like there’s plenty of excitment without heading to the Windy City.

“The city’s just more alive right now,” said Tim Gehrels, of Hell’s Kitchen. “You see people walking on the street wearing Mets gear, screaming at each other ‘go Mets!’ It’s really exciting.”

The Mets lead the best-of-seven series 2-0.

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10/19/2015

Offering Teen Moms Tools for Lasting, Meaningful Change

The Holy Grail of cultural institutions is impact. Are we providing our visitors with experiences sufficiently transformative to offer them positive, lasting change? I got my answer at a recent press conference to celebrate our 16th annual publication of poetry and stories by homeless mothers, Hope Came Here.

Observing the composed, articulate women on either side of New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray who spoke at the event, one would never guess that Tawana Alston and Mia Edmondson were once teen moms unprepared for parenthood, unconvinced of the value of education, and unmoored from their futures. In 1994, when they arrived at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan with their babies in tow, they were resistant to new ideas and unfamiliar with museums. They came to participate in a new, early childhood art and literacy program designed to help teen moms improve their lives by providing them with the skills, knowledge and resources to create better lives for themselves and their children.

Since then, our program participants have shifted. Mia and Tawana, although they were teen moms, came from loving, supportive homes. We expanded the program, recognizing some of the city’s most vulnerable mothers and children are those in the Shelter system. So, for the past 16 years, while the program structure remains the same, we have focused on homeless mothers and children.

The sessions meet weekly from June through October. Each begins with unstructured time when the program staff and mothers do an art project and chat while the children, most under the age of three, play with the museum’s early childhood education staff in our specially designed PlayWorks classroom. After a shared lunch, the women have their own time, apart from their children, to explore, under the guidance of a social worker, their feelings about parenting, being homeless, and living in NYC. They are able to get and share advice about challenges they are facing.

Afterward, they are provided a prompt for writing. Putting pen to paper is a much different process from speaking. Our writing teacher and board member Judith Hannan explains it this way, “When you write, you stand next to yourself. This remove allows you to go deeper into your feelings. The women access aspects of themselves through writing in ways that can be comforting rather than overwhelming.”

Finally, the women read their words aloud. In 15 minutes, they have created stories that not only make their lives a little more understandable to them but to the others as well.

Reflecting on the early days, Mia admitted, “At first I wasn’t sure about joining the program because I was so immature and didn’t trust easily. However, after the first meeting and writing session, I realized the staff at the Children’s Museum were people who genuinely cared, and supported us without judgment. I felt safe at the museum. It became a place where I could kind of be a kid again while still being a mom.”

Today, Mia is the happily married mother of two and has worked with Health Care Union 1199SEIU for over twelve years.

Tawana, now working at a financial services firm and also a mother of two, agreed: “Before attending this program I was an emotional roller coaster. I was beyond confused. That changed after joining the program. I met other young mothers that I was able to share similar stories, laughs and tears with. We formed an unbreakable bond that is as strong today as it was 21 years ago.”

Mia and Tawana had family support and yet as teen moms they still struggled. There is no question that their achievements in life are due to their own efforts however both women cite the program as a key to their success.

According to Mia, “The Children’s Museum provided me with lessons about how important education is not only for us but for our children. I remember the staff reading to my daughter with much exaggeration and emotion. She loved it, so I continued to read to her every night mimicking them.”

Chasity, Mia’s twenty-one-year-old daughter, accompanied her to the event where Mia was understandably eager to share Chasity’s college graduation picture.

At the Children’s Museum, that’s the picture we want for all parents and all children, especially those who are most in need. We work to make this happen every day in our building and around the city.

What is it we do that is so life-changing? It’s a modest but powerful alchemy. With our partners from the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, and the Departments of Health, Education, and Homeless Services we bring women together who, while they live under the same roof, are isolated from each other. We welcome them to a place that is friendly – not only to their children but to them – a place where they aren’t judged. The interplay between the mommy-and-me time, the conversations, the writing and the reading aloud for the group helps build trust and confidence. We guide them, offering them tools to aid in self-expression, improve parenting skills and ensure their children are ready for pre-kindergarten.

But ultimately, the Children’s Museum helps them to create and become part of a larger community and long-lasting support system. I need only to think about Tawana’s closing comment to answer my opening question: “These ladies have become my sisters. We stay in touch with one another and we continually commend one another on our accomplishments. We started this journey together at the Children’s Museum and when one succeeds we all succeed.”

By Andy Ackerman, Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan

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10/14/2015

NYC first lady helps museum celebrate homeless women's poems

NEW YORK (AP) — The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is publishing poems by homeless women who participate in the museum’s shelter program for mothers and children.

New York City first Lady Chirlane McCray helped celebrate the 16th annual publication of poetry by women from Homes for the Homeless on Wednesday.

McCray wrote the forward for the poetry collection, titled “Hope Came Here.” She said each poem represents “a triumph of courage over fear.”

The shelter program is an early childhood art and literacy program that meets weekly at the museum on the Upper West Side.

Fifteen women in temporary housing and their children attend the program.

Participants get a free museum membership so they can return with their children for ongoing programs.

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10/09/2015

New exhibit at Children's Museum of Manhattan shows NYC through a toddler's eyes.

Ever wonder what New York looks like through a toddler’s eyes?

A brand new interactive experience at the children’s Museum of Manhattan is giving visitors just that.

PIX 11’s Lisa Mateo takes us on a tour with some very cute guides. View video

For more information on the NYC & Me: A Little Bite of the Big Apple view

 

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09/25/2015

NYC & Me: A Little Bite of the Big Apple

The New York Times: Spare Times
BY Laurel Graber

(Through Jan. 18) There’s one place where little citizens can safely run loose on the streets of New York: the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. This new interactive 3,000-square-foot gallery is a city microcosm for small visitors, allowing them to pretend to be taxi drivers, bus drivers, construction workers, street performers and, most impressively, the mayor. Activities include directing traffic, erecting a skyscraper and “ice skating” in their socks and investigating urban tales on the steps of the New York Public Library. The Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd Street, 212-721-1223, cmom.org.

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09/24/2015

NYC Public Schools Close to Observe Muslim Holiday for First Time

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said the city has to understand and respect everyone’s religion.

City schools boss Carmen Fariña joined elected officials and Muslim leaders Thursday to mark the first time public schools were closed for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

City officials changed the school calendar in March to recognize the holiday, observed by 1 million Muslims across the city.

In her speech at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Fariña said the day presented a ‘teachable moment,” before adding, “that being a multicultural city is understanding and respecting everyone else’s religion.”

BY Ben Chapman, Lisa L. Colangelo

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09/24/2015

New York City Public Schools Close For Muslim Holy Day For First Time

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City public schools were closed Thursday in observance of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

This was the first time the school system that serves 1.1 million pupils closed for a Muslim holiday.

Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced public schools would close to observe the Muslim holy days of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.

The decision made New York City the largest the largest school district in the nation to recognize the two holidays on the official school calendar.

Eid al-Adha is known as the Feast of the Sacrifice, commemorating the willingness of Ibrahim — Abraham to Christians and Jews — to sacrifice his son.

De Blasio said the change means that Muslim families won’t be forced to choose between observing the holidays and sending their kids to school.

The city’s schools were also closed on Wednesday for the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.

On Thursday, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina attended a celebration of Eid-al-Adha at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

An exhibit on Muslim cultures is expected to open at the museum in February.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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09/23/2015

Co-op City Children's Shelter Turns into Learning Hub

News 12 the Bronx: A group of children at a shelter in Co-op City are learning how food and art can be fun thanks to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

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09/03/2015

Children’s Museum of Manhattan Brings Free Educational Classes to Homeless Kids

NY1: Children’s Museum of Manhattan is bringing education program to kids who live in the city’s family shelters

In Jamaica Queens:  View video

BY CLODAGH McGOWAN

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08/04/2015

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan Announces Opening of “NYC + Me: A Little Bite of the Big Apple”

New Interactive Gallery Puts Children in the Center of the Hustle and Bustle of NYC’s Urban Landscape NYC + ME also launches CMOM’s “Gateway to the Arts”

NEW YORK, NY – Only in New York, kids! The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) today announced the opening of NYC + Me: A Little Bite of the Big Apple, a new interactive gallery that captures the quintessential sights, sounds, flavors and spirit of New York. In this immersive experience at CMOM (212 West 83rd Street) children take over the Big Apple’s sidewalks, streets, parks, plazas, public transportation, air rights and underground world as they playfully explore the city that never sleeps. NYC + Me will run from Sept. 25 through Jan. 18, 2015.

Inside the 3,000-square-foot gallery, children drive taxis and police cars, issue parking tickets and building permits, learn to parallel park, build little skyscrapers, create their own public art, pretend to be street performers, run an international food cart, ice-skate in their socks and even imagine they’re mayor. Visitors to the gallery, which will be covered with large-scale children’s drawings of NYC, will see the Big Apple through the lens of children as city streets come alive with the details that reflect their interests – from the local pizza place to toy stores, from pigeons to subway rats!

According to Andrew Ackerman, executive director of the CMOM, NYC + Me is designed specifically to help children develop important cognitive, social, emotional and motor skills. By providing opportunities to explore the real-life context of the city, children learn to make sense of the world around them. Additionally, as children relate to one another from the perspective of their different city roles, they develop communication and language skills as well as creativity and imagination.”

The gallery will be a welcoming gateway into the cultural riches of New York City. Visitors will learn about the city’s vast collection of public art and work together to create public sculpture. Additionally, a full range of complementary weekend workshops, programs and performances will occur throughout the gallery’s four-month run to introduce children to the best of the city’s arts through CMOM’s Gateway to the Arts initiative, which supports cultural equity.

CMOM’s cultural partners include Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio and 92Y, among others.

NYC + Me is full of fun and inspiration for New Yorkers and tourists alike. Visitors to the gallery can, among other things:

  • Put on uniforms and take over the city, becoming traffic officers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, food cart vendors, park rangers, construction workers – and even mayor. Whether they are directing traffic, handing out building permits, adding traffic cones or cleaning up dog poop and trash, there’s always something to do in this busy city.
  • Add to the city skyline as a construction worker – move blocks to an elevated construction area via conveyor, walk on I-beams, and slide to the ground when done. Beneath the construction site, tiny utility workers crawl past miniature dioramas of the city’s support systems, a network of walls, columns, cables and pipes maintained by a whimsical team of city rats.
  • Act as chefs as they serve up their own New York specialties at the international Taste of NYC Food Cart.
  • Ice skate in socks to seasonal music! The Rink in Central Park is a winter tradition for New Yorkers and tourists alike.
  • Dance inside a soundproof laser tunnel behind Times Square to create music from the ambient sounds of the city.
  • Explore NYC stories from the steps of the NY Public Library, between Patience and Fortitude. The library collection will feature great children’s books about city life.
  • Sing, dance and perform as a street performer. Let the budding musicians and dancers shine!
  • Take the NY Minute Challenge – Get the most out of every minute. The challenge will turn the city into a uniquely New York obstacle course where kids can choose among crazy challenges, such as issuing a speeding ticket while schlepping pizza boxes.

NYC + Me is funded by The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

“We are grateful for the generous support of The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and to Laurie Tisch for her long-standing commitment to providing access to the arts for all New York City children,” said halley k harrisburg, chairman of CMOM’s Board of Directors.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is the vibrant home to 350,000 visitors a year from all segments of the NYC community and tourists from around the world. The museum’s educational mission in early childhood education, creativity, health and culture thrives within our home on 83rd Street and in dozens of communities across the city as well as through national initiatives with leading authorities and government agencies. Child development is at the core of CMOM’s values and mission and our vision is to be the bridge that connects children and adults in the community, school and home in order to prepare our children for the global world in which they live. For details regarding all of CMOM’s programs and initiatives, please visit www.cmom.org

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07/28/2015

Outside Water Exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan

WCBS-TV Critical Mention

The place for children to beat the heat this summer is at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The City Splash outdoor water exhibit is a cool place for kids to learn about the environment.

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07/24/2015

Parenting: Where To Go 7/24/15

NY1 Parenting Correspondent Shelley Goldberg recommends some places to go with parenting news you can use.

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07/23/2015

“Shake Rattle and Roll”

Thirteen/WNET, NYC-ARTS Full Episode: July 23, 2015:  Christina Ha reports on the arts and culture news including CMOM’s Frolic! exhibit.

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06/20/2015

The rockin’ new joint where toddlers can move like Jagger

An expectant crowd waits in the lobby, ready to stream in and take their places before the rock concert starts. There are no seats at this gig — it’s standing/sitting-room only. “OK, WHO KNOWS THEIR ABCs?” someone shouts. Hardly the usual question asked of concertgoers, but then, this group is composed of toddlers and their parents and caretakers. Sure, they’re ready to rock — but first, shoes off, juice boxes out and a snack. They know their ABCs, and aren’t afraid to let it all hang out, shouting the letters in a highpitched din of young, excited voices.

Welcome to “Frolic!,” a rock-themed play space on the bottom floor of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan that’s designed to introduce little ones to the world of music. With a slide modeled after the iconic Rolling Stones red tongue logo, an electric blue and yellow VW van (much like the one my best friend’s parents used to drive in the early ’80s), brightly colored bongo drums, a fake ticket booth, a faux sound mixer and more, the play space is aimed at the 5-and-younger set — an overlooked demographic in children’s museums, where exhibitions are usually for older kids.

My 2-year-old son falls into that age range, so I took him to test it out. He wasted no time in grabbing a maraca and a pair of star-shaped sunglasses before moving onto the drums. He went down the Rolling Stones slide repeatedly — for, as any parent of a toddler knows, what’s fun once is fun 95 times. He ignored the sound-mixing area, but that space is meant mostly for babies and, as he likes to remind me, he’s a “big boy” now. He capped off his Frolic! experience with a real, completely out-of-the-blue tantrum in the VW van, angrily tossing his tambourine out the door, not unlike a rock star trashing a hotel room.

There’ll be two minirock performances every Saturday in the Frolic! space. Kicking off the series June 6 was Jon Samson (whose press material promises that “his stage banter is on par with that of a seasoned stand-up comedian”); upcoming musicians include popular performers like Vanessa Trien and Suzi Shelton.

And while there aren’t any lighters or matches held aloft at the end of these concerts, a rockin’ good time is promised for all.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 W. 83rd St.; 212-721-1223. Admission $11; free for children under 12 months.

Are you ready to rock? Frolic! is now open at CMOM!
#cmomfrolic
@cmomNYC
They’re several decades too young to remember the original trippy Volkswagen vans, but this blue one is still a big hit with the toddlers. Photo: Helayne Seidman

By MACKENZIE DAWSON

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05/11/2015

PRESS RELEASE: Children's Museum of Manhattan Announces Opening of "Frolic!" Rock 'n' Roll-themed Pop-up Play Space Focused on Early Chilhood Learning

Rockin’ New Interactive Tot Spot Designed Exclusively for Children Five and Under and Their Parents Features Daily Programs, Live Performances and Hands-on Music Education Workshops

New York, NY – May 11, 2015

Rock on, kids! The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) today announced the opening of Frolic! a new interactive rock ‘n’ roll-themed pop-up play space that offers children ages 0-5 a unique set of music, movement and imaginative play experiences that support social, emotional and physical development. The rockin’ fun learning environment at CMOM (212 West 83rd Street), featuring daily programs, workshops and live performances, will run from June 5 through Dec. 31, 2015.

The innovative, 1,500-square-foot play space – a pint-sized rockers’ dream – features a replica of a paint-splattered 1970’s Volkswagen minivan, a Rolling Stones-inspired tongue slide, a mini-performance stage and ticket booth, and an interactive video music wall. Little rockers can also mix it up at a baby sensory music mixer, crawl around the soft foam butterfly and whimsical mushrooms, and dance and frolic to a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack.

Frolic! is the latest iteration of CMOM’s ongoing commitment to “Arts and Creativity,” designed to bring original art and live performances to families as well as its long standing dedication to early childhood development and education, and builds on the success of its groundbreaking PlayWorks™ exhibit, which combines play and learning to help children enter school ready to learn and grow.

Recognizing the vital role music plays in the development and education of young children – extensive research has confirmed its effectiveness – Frolic! will feature live performances by professional and student musicians as well as daily and weekly programs and workshops that provide parents with creative and fun ways to engage children in music, language and movement games that stimulate brain development and strengthen the child-adult bond.

“Frolic! is a natural sequel to last summer’s exhibition and program series focused on jazz,” said CMOM’s executive director, Andy Ackerman. “This new pop-up experience – dedicated to our youngest visitors – will provide a unique opportunity for families to develop music literacy skills and interact with local musicians, artists and dancers as they bond over this popular and kinetic art form.”

Additionally, CMOM is offering birthday parties and new baby classes in the rock ‘n’ roll-themed play space, and also a special new “Under 5” membership deal for a limited time only.

Frolic! at CMOM

Programming Series
Daily workshops: Music, Movement and Story Times (free with admission)
Drop in and take part in rotating programs including musical Jam Band, Ribbon Dancing and Parachute Games, My Five Senses Yoga, Move to the Beat Drum Circle, Beach Ball Balance, Puppet Play, and more!

Saturday Summer Concert Series (free with admission)
Cool off with the hottest kiddie musicians throughout the summer!

• Joanie Leeds
• Tim Kubart of the Space Cadets
• Vanessa Trein & The Jumping Monkeys

• Suzi Shelton
• Co-Creative Music
• Alastair Moock
• Sweetbeatz

New Birthday Parties (ages birth to 5)
Rock ‘n’ Roll Frolic! Party
Does your child love to bounce to the beat and wiggle to the rhythm? Then celebrate their big day in rock ‘n’ roll style at CMOM’s Frolic! CMOM’s professional party musicians will make your child’s special day even more memorable with live music, puppets, parachutes, instruments and more! Special increased weekend hours!

New Baby Classes (ages 6 to 24 months)
Rock ‘n’ Roll Around the World
Babies and their grownups rock out to music from around the world as they sing, dance and play instruments with CMOM’s professional musicians. Classes take place at CMOM’s Frolic! Additional music classes for children up to five are also available

New Membership Level! Frolic! Under 5
To celebrate the opening of Frolic!, take advantage of CMOM’s new membership, available for a limited time only. Unlimited admission to Frolic! and all five floors of museum exhibits for one listed adult and one listed child under 5. For first-time members only.

***

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is the vibrant home to 350,000 visitors a year from all segments of the NYC community and tourists from around the world. The museum’s educational mission in early childhood education, creativity, health and culture thrives within our home on 83rd Street and in dozens of communities across the city as well as through national initiatives with leading authorities and government agencies. Child development is at the core of CMOM’s values and mission and our vision is to be the bridge that connects children and adults in the community, school and home in order to prepare our children for the global world in which they live. For details regarding all of CMOM’s programs and initiatives, please visit www.cmom.org.
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01/29/2015

Spare Times for Children for Jan. 30-Feb. 5

Poor Godzilla. He didn’t make the cut.

“Hello From Japan!,” the latest exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, crams a lot of culture into one room. While it doesn’t include movie monsters — perhaps too scary? — it has other fanciful Japanese creatures: dragons, beckoning white cats (they’re good luck) and yuru-kyara, odd mascots representing places, sports teams, businesses, even individuals. The city of Narita, for instance, takes pride in its eel restaurants and busy airport, so its yuru-kyara, Unari-kun, is half eel and half airplane. Part of the fun of “Hello From Japan!” is an opportunity for children to create their own mascots; no hybrid is too bizarre.

At one end of the exhibition, you’ll stroll through displays representing Tokyo’s Harajuku district, the center of teenage life and wacky fashion. Little visitors can join the fun by dressing up according to the kawaii, or cute, aesthetic — think of Hello Kitty — and singing karaoke to tunes like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” (A video screen shows you how to pronounce the Japanese lyrics.) This is Japan at its sweetest and silliest.

A more serious and serene aspect, though, lies across a small bridge, where the exhibition evokes one of Japan’s many Shinto shrine parks. The Shinto religion honors kami, or spirits, which are believed to exist in all things and can help humans. A reproduction of a shrine to Inari Okami, or the kami protecting rice fields, includes figures of kitsune (foxes) believed to be this spirit’s messengers. (Perhaps not surprisingly, they look like Pokémon.)

Central to this area is a big wishing tree, trees being conduits for kami. Children can follow the practice of writing wishes on ema — wooden plaques, here represented by notecards — and tying them to the branches. They may not understand the religious references — Buddhism is mentioned, too — but it’s refreshing to see a show for young people deal with non-Western faiths so straightforwardly.

The exhibition also succeeds in entertaining a range of ages. Preschoolers can build miniature bridges or serve a plate of pretend shun (seasonal food); older children can investigate the Japanese language via touch screens that allow them to trace characters with a finger, stroke by stroke, and spell the words for various fruits and vegetables. Kamishibai Weekend: The Art of Storytelling, this Saturday and Sunday, will offer traditional Japanese tales and crafts.

And yes, the show will teach you how to say hello: “Konnichiwa.”

By

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01/16/2015

PRESS RELEASE: Hello from Japan! A New Exhibition and Program Series, Opens Today at The Children's Museum of Manhattan

Hello from Japan! is the Third in a Series of Major Cultural Exhibitions by CMOMNew York, NY – January 16, 2015 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) today announced the opening of Hello from Japan!, an interactive traveling exhibit that will transport families to a present-day setting in Tokyo. The multimedia exhibit and program series will run through May 17, 2015.

The 1,500-square-foot exhibition, funded by The Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series, invites families to explore an immersive, child-sized Tokyo streetscape and Shinto park. Visitors will learn how time-honored Japanese traditions co-exist with the contemporary culture of kawaii-inspired graphics and products, characterized by round figures, vibrant colors and a whimsical, cute aesthetic. The contrast between modern culture and traditional Japanese practices is demonstrated through the representation of an authentic present-day Tokyo streetscape that connects to a bridge leading into a natural Shinto shrine park setting.

Based upon the colorful and bustling streets in the modern Harajuku district, Kawaii Central, explores contemporary Japanese culture by evoking the friendly feel of Japanese kawaii, an aesthetic and sensibility which emerged in the 1970s among Japanese school children and has now permeated cultures worldwide. Families are introduced to Japan’s unique culture through child-friendly characters and graphics. Visitors express their own individuality and simultaneously gain insight into modern Japanese society as they create kawaii outfits, design playful mascots, explore seasonal cuisines, practice writing Japanese characters, and sing along to Japanese children’s songs in a karaoke booth.

A bridge at the end of the streetscape leads from the contemporary urban setting into a more tranquil Shinto shrine park environment. The park explores the traditional, nature-based practices and beliefs of Shinto, an indigenous Japanese religion. Families will learn about the appreciation of diverse and powerful elements of nature. They will also be encouraged to appreciate their own local parks, trees and natural environments after they explore the shrine area’s crawl-through forest, make a wish at a large Wishing Tree, get their fortune told and encounter a few of Japan’s kami spirits.

“CMOM is committed to exploring world cultures as part of our commitment to help prepare children for the global society of the 21st century. Hello from Japan! follows major exhibitions about the dawn of western civilization in Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece and Monkey King: A Story from China about the Silk Road and Chinese culture. A fourth cultural project about Muslim cultures is under development, and the Museum is considering future exhibitions about Irish culture and pre-Columbian South America,” said CMOM’s executive director Andrew Ackerman. “Exhibiting these cultures is especially important in New York City, the most diverse metropolis on the planet, home to every people, speaking every language. In learning about our neighbors, we are learning about ourselves.”

CMOM’s director of exhibitions Tom Quaranta, said, “we chose to focus on the kawaii aesthetic since it is the basis of so many familiar icons and products, like Hello Kitty and Pokeman, that are popular in America today, and because it is an aesthetic that originated with children. It is a priority for CMOM to present authentic views of culture in a way that is fun and accessible to children and that will highlight the joy and beauty of each unique culture.”

Additionally, a full range of complementary workshops and programs will occur throughout the exhibit’s four-month run. CMOM has received a Museums for America grant of $129,217 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services that will be used to evaluate these programs. Funding for public program also comes from The Japan Foundation, Center for Global Partnership. These grants will allow CMOM to better understand how to develop and implement public programs that explore world cultures for a family audience and support children’s development as global citizens.

Advisors to the exhibition and the programming series include professors from Harvard University and Columbia University, the Japan Society, the Asia Society, and the Association for Children’s Museums.

Upon closing at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in May, the exhibit will travel to eight other children’s museums around the country, including but not limited to: the Children’s Museum of the Upstate (Greenville, SC), Children’s Discovery Museum (Normal, IL), Mississippi Children’s Museum (Jackson, MS), Discovery Children’s Museum (Las Vegas, NV), and Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center (Honolulu, HI).

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is the vibrant home to 350,000 visitors a year from all segments of the NYC community and tourists from around the world. The museum’s educational mission in early childhood education, arts, creativity, health and culture thrives within our home on 83rd Street and in dozens of communities across the city as well as through national initiatives with leading authorities and government agencies. Child development is at the core of CMOM’s values and mission. Our vision is to be the bridge that connects children and adults with their community, school and home in order to prepare our children for the global world in which they live. For details regarding all of CMOM’s programs and initiatives, please visit www.cmom.org

Hello from Japan! is part of the Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series, funded by The Freeman Foundation and administered by Association of Children’s Museums.

The Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series is funded by The Freeman Foundation and administered by Association of Children’s Museums to bring outstanding interactive exhibits about Asian cultures to children, their families and school groups at children’s museums across the United States.

About The Freeman Foundation
The Freeman Foundation was established in 1993 by Mansfield Freeman, a co-founder of the international insurance and financial company American International Group, Inc. This private foundation is committed to increasing and strengthening the understanding of nations in East Asia.

About Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)
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 thirty-one 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 www.ChildrensMuseums.org

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01/16/2015

Children's Museum Offers Kids Glimpse at Life in Japan

New York 1

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Japan may be half way around the world, but a new exhibit in Manhattan is bringing the country’s culture to city kids. NY1’s Tara Lynn Wagner filed this report.

Consider it a trip to Japan without the long flight.

A bright and bubbly new exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is called Hello from Japan!

Having already explored Greece and China in their culture series, museum officials thought Japan would be a great next stop, in part because they already had an in.

“We chose Japanese culture because we felt that Hello Kitty was already a familiar product. Children and families already connect with it,” says Director of Exhibition Development Lizzy Martin.

Wagner: “How old are you, Kayla?”
Kayla: Four.
Wagner: “And who is on your shirt?”
Kayla: “Hello kitty!”

The journey allows kids to travel through the country and its culture, stopping at seven different activity booths a long the way. The first focuses on Kawaii where kids of alll ages got to dress up and immerse themselves in Japan’s cuteness aesthetic.

From there, it was photo booths, karaoke booths and food stands plus a look at how things work on the streets of the Harajuku district.

“I learned that Japan doesn’t have cones. They have bunny rabbits that are like cones over there but they’re not cones. They’re bunny rabbits… I like it,” said one young visitor.

Cross a bridge and visitors find themselves in a Shinto shrine, where they can leave a wish or get a fortune.

“I think it’s terrific. I’ve been to Japan and this is a great memory of Japan for me,” says Howard Miller, who brought his granddaughter.

Throughout the run of the exhibit, the museum will also be hosting special guests who will teach children about various activities like how to make sushi.

“For instance at the end of January, we have the Animazing Festival where we explore anime and manga, which is a very important part of Japanese culture and contemporary life in japan,” says Director of Public Programming David Rios.

It’s obvious the kids were having a ball—but just how authentic is the Japanese experience?

I asked Yohei Nagai, who is from Japan and brought his young daughters along for a peek at his homeland.

Wagner:“I want to let them know the culture. It’s very nice to see.”
Nagai :“So you think it’s accurate? They did a good job?”
Wagner:“Oh yeah, sure. Pretty much the same as Japan. I really enjoyed it.”

Hello from Japan! opened this weekend and will say goodbye to New York on May 17.

BY TARA LYNN WAGNER

 

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01/14/2015

MEDIA ADVISORY: Children’s Museum of Manhattan to Celebrate Opening of Hello from Japan! at CMOM on January 15

New Interactive Exhibit Transports Families to a Present-Day Setting in Tokyo, Hello from Japan! is the Third in a Series of Major Cultural Exhibitions by CMOM

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan will celebrate the opening of Hello from Japan!, a new interactive exhibit that enables families to experience and learn about Tokyo’s vibrant culture and present-day life in Japan, on Thursday, January 15 from 10am-noon at CMOM (212 West 83rd Street). The multimedia exhibit runs through May 17, 2015.

Hello from Japan! will transport families to two distinct areas of Tokyo that exist side by side: one serene and exquisite, the other, bustling with activity and over the top cute. Together, the exhibit highlights how time-honored traditions of Japan co-exist with contemporary culture.

Kawaii Central is a child-sized streetscape inspired by Tokyo’s bustling Harajuku district, bursting with color, trendy shops and cuter-than-cute kawaii-inspired styles. Kids will sing karaoke, smile for the photo booth camera, serve up a seasonal Japanese meal, and design adorable mascots for their families. At the end of the streetscape is a bridge that leads from the contemporary urban setting into a beautiful and tranquil Shinto shrine park, where children can build a bridge, crawl through a forest, encounter kami spirits, and make a wish at a wishing tree.

Media will have the chance to watch young visitors participate in all aspects of the exhibit during the press event.

Hello from Japan is part of the Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series, funded by The Freeman Foundation and administered by Association of Children’s Museums.

WHAT:    Hello from Japan!

WHEN:    Thursday, January 15, 10am – noon

WHERE:  Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 West 83rd Street (The Tisch Building)
New York, NY

 

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11/17/2014

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan Announces Special Cultural Holiday Programming During the Month of December

Programming, Which Includes Live Performances, Art Workshops and 3D Installations, is Part of a Larger CMOM Initiative to Help Grow Children’s Knowledge and Understanding of Cultures Worldwide.

New York, NY – November 17, 2014 – To celebrate the rich diversity of the world’s cultures, the Children’s Museum of Museum (CMOM) announced today that it will be offering a series of special cultural holiday events and activities in December. Through live performances, art workshops and 3D Installations at CMOM (212 West 83rd Street), visitors will explore the diverse cultural traditions and the various ways people around the world celebrate the holidays.

The special programming, which includes celebrations of the history, customs and traditions associated with Hanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa, is part of CMOM’s Cultural Exhibition and Programmatic Series, a larger museum initiative to nurture a new generation of creative and global citizens through interactive and immersive exhibits, hands-on art workshops, live performances and other programming. Hello from Japan!, the newest exhibition in this series exploring world cultures, opens January 2015 following Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece and Monkey King: A Story from China. And launched last month, is CMOM’s 3-D Mosque Architecture Experience, a traveling outreach program introducing children to the distinct architectural styles of mosques around the world to reveal the diversity of cultural expressions within Muslim communities.

The cultural winter holiday festivities at CMOM kick off with a Christmas tree installation and Christmas tree ornament workshops (Dec. 3-26) during which visitors and CMOM staff alike – both reflecting the diversity of cultures, religions and traditions – will design one-of-a-kind ornaments inspired by the many ways Christmas is celebrated around the globe.

Additional highlights include dreidel garland (Dec. 16-19) and menorah banner-making (Dec. 20-21) workshops to celebrate the Festival of Lights, a 3D gingerbread workshop (Dec. 27-28) and Kwanzaa placemat-making (Dec. 26-28) and heart-shaped sankofa necklace-making (Dec. 26-28) workshops.

The special programming also includes two live performances that are part of CMOM’s ongoing All Jazzed Up Performance Series: Kwanzaa – Quator Creole Duo (Dec. 26), and HOT PSTROMI (Dec. 28).

The complete schedule and details for CMOM’s special cultural holiday programming is below:

Chanukah
Chanukah: Dreidel Garland
Design your own dreidel garland to decorate for the Chanukah season.
Tuesday, Dec. 16 – Friday, Dec. 19 |10 & 1pm | 4 & younger | Drop-In

Chanukah Storyteller: Richard Codor
Meet Richard Codor, author of Too Many Latkes, a hilarious tale of a magic potato, which is said to reveal the true meaning of Hanukkah.
Sunday, Dec. 21| 2 & 3:30pm| 5 & Older | Sign up

Chanukah: Menorah Banner
Make your own menorah banner to celebrate the festival of lights!
Saturday, Dec. 20 – Sunday, Dec. 21 |12-2pm | All Ages | Drop-In

Christmas
CMOM’s Christmas Tree Ornaments
Design ornaments inspired by Christmas traditions from around the world! Display your finished ornament on the evolving CMOM Christmas tree located in our main entrance
Wednesday-Friday, Dec. 3-26 | All Ages
Saturday, Dec. 20 – Sunday, Dec. 21 | All Ages

Gingerbread Houses Installation
Contribute to an evolving 3D gingerbread house installation in this interior design workshop.
Saturday, Dec. 27 – Sunday, Dec. 28 | All Ages

Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa Placemat Printmaking
During Kwanzaa, families cook delicious meals and decorate their table with beautiful textiles.  Join in the celebration and design your own placemat using symbols that represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa!
Friday, Dec. 26 – Sunday, Dec. 28 |10 & 1pm| 4 & younger | Drop-In

Kwanzaa: Sankofa-Inspired Jewelry Design
Craft a heart shaped sankofa necklace, a symbol that represents a need to remember the past in order to build a successful future.

Friday, Dec. 26 – Sunday, Dec. 28 |12-2pm | All Ages | Drop-In

All Jazzed Up Performance Series
Quatuor Creole
Celebrate Kwanzaa with flautist Sylvain Leroux’s Quatuore Creole, a delightful combination of Guinean sounds, French influences and jazz tradition.
Friday, Dec. 26 | 3 & 4 pm | All Ages | Ticketed

Klezmer – HOT PSTROMI
Hot Pstromi creates a fusion of klezmer, new Jewish music, Gypsy, khasidic, world beat and Balkan music!
Sunday, Dec. 28 | 3 & 4 pm | All Ages | Ticketed

For all December programming, visit www.cmom.org

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is the vibrant home to 350,000 visitors a year from all segments of the NYC community and tourists from around the world. The museum’s educational mission in early childhood education, creativity, health and culture thrives within our home on 83rd Street and in dozens of communities across the city as well as through national initiatives with leading authorities and government agencies. Child development is at the core of CMOM’s values and mission and our vision is to be the bridge that connects children and adults in the community, school and home in order to prepare our children for the global world in which they live. For details regarding all of CMOM’s programs and initiatives, please visit www.cmom.org

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10/31/2014

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum Of Manhattan Announces Launch Of New Outreach Program, “Cmom’s 3-d Mosque Architecture Experience”

Programming at the Museum; in Libraries in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan; and in Major Cultural Venues including Lincoln Center and Brooklyn Historical Society

New York, NY – October 30, 2014 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) today announced the launch of its new traveling outreach program, CMOM’s 3-D Mosque Architecture Experience, which introduces children to the distinct architectural styles of mosques from different cultures around the world. The new immersive program, developed with think tank and fabrication lab Collab, will be presented weekly at the Museum and travel to more than 20 participating sites around the city, including New York Public Library, Brooklyn Library, Queens Library, Lincoln Center Atrium and Brooklyn Historical Society.

Funded in part by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, the MetLife Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and with additional support provided by Mohsin and Tasneem Meghi, CMOM’s 3-D Mosque Architecture Experience transports children to 12 mosques around the world. CMOM uses art, music, dance, storytelling and other art forms to present programs and exhibitions with cultural content ranging from American holidays to cultures around the world. This project uses architecture and the structural beauty of mosques to reveal the diversity of cultural expressions within Muslim communities.

Through CMOM’s 3-D Mosque Architecture Experience, children experience a giant pop-up book featuring digital projections of Muslim mosques from countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia and Senegal. The interactive presentation uses 3-D mapping technology and scenic videos, accompanied by music and environmental sounds, to bring the mosques alive and explore the qualities that make each building special – focusing on color, materials, environment and shape.

Each program concludes with a creative hands-on activity exploring either arches or geometric patterns, in which children can express their individuality while gaining insight into Muslim architectural traditions from across the globe.

“We’re excited to bring this new and immersive experience to children all around New York City. “This outreach program continues our deep commitment to educating the next generation of global citizens,” noted Andrew Ackerman, CMOM executive director.

CMOM’s 3-D Mosque Architecture Experience is part of the Museum’s Cultural Exhibition and Programmatic Series. Research indicates that strengthening competencies like collaboration, curiosity and cultural empathy in young children helps them gain a better understanding of who they are and how they fit into the world around them. The development of multiple perspectives is likely to reduce problems involving prejudice and discrimination and is an important component of early childhood education.

CMOM is deeply committed to creating programs that support and prepare children – as early as possible – to succeed academically, socially, and economically in the 21st century.

CMOM’s 3D Mosque Architecture Experience Program Schedule

Programming started at the beginning of October. Confirmed schedule includes the dates
listed below, additional dates and locations being added:

2014  
NYPL: Morris Park Library Monday, November 3 3:30-4:30pm  All ages
NYPL: Ottendorfer Library Tuesday, November 4 4:00-5:00pm All ages
CMOM Saturday, November 8  10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, November 9 10am-12pm  All ages
NYPL: Washington Heights Library Monday, November 10 4:00-5:00pm All ages
QL: Children’s Library Discovery Center Thursday, November 13 4:00-5:00pm All ages
NYPL: Chatham Square Library Friday, November 14 3:30-4:30pm  All ages
CMOM Saturday, November 15 10am-12pm  All ages
BPL: Crown Heights Library Tuesday, November 18 3:30-4:30pm All ages
QL: Children’s Library Discovery Center Thursday, November 20 4:00-5:00pm All ages
CMOM Saturday, November 22 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, November 23 10am-12pm  All ages
BPL: Fort Hamilton Library Monday, December 1 3:30-4:30pm All ages
QL: Corona Library Tuesday, December 2 4:00-5:00pm All ages
NYPL: Hunt’s Point Library Wednesday, December 3 4:00-5:00pm All ages
QL: Jackson Heights Library Friday, December 5 4:00-5:00pm All ages
Lincoln Center Atrium Saturday, December 6 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, December 7  10am-12pm  All ages
QL: Corona Library Tuesday, December 9 4:00-5:00pm All ages
NYPL: Van Cortlandt Library Wednesday, December 10 4:00-5:00pm All ages
QL: Jackson Heights Library Friday, December 12 4:00-5:00pm All ages
CMOM Saturday, December 13  10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, December 14  10am-12pm  All ages
BPL: New Lots Library Monday, December 15 3:30-4:30pm All ages
NYPL: Jefferson Market Library Tuesday, December 16 3:30-4:30pm All ages
BPL: Bay Ridge Library Wednesday, December 17 3:00-4:00pm All ages

2015 

CMOM Saturday, January 3 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, January 4 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Saturday, January 10 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, January 11 10am-12pm  All ages
Brooklyn Historical Society Saturday, January 31 11am-12pm All ages
Brooklyn Historical Society Sunday, February 1 11am-12pm All ages
CMOM Saturday, February 7 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, February 8 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Saturday, March 7  10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, March 8  10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Saturday, March 28 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, March 29 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Saturday, April 18  10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, April 19  10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Saturday, May 9 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Saturday, May 16  10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, May 17  10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Saturday, May 23 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, May 24 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Saturday, May 30  10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, May 31 10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Saturday, June 27  10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, June 28  10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Saturday, July 18  10am-12pm  All ages
CMOM Sunday, July 19 10am-12pm  All ages

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is the vibrant home to 350,000 visitors a year from all segments of the NYC community and tourists from around the world. The museum’s educational mission in early childhood education, creativity, health and culture thrives within our home on 83Rd Street and in dozens of communities across the city as well as through national initiatives with leading authorities and government agencies. Child development is at the core of CMOM’s values and mission and our vision is to be the bridge that connects children and adults in the community, school and home in order to prepare our children for the global world in which they live. For details regarding all of CMOM’s programs and initiatives, please visit www.cmom.org

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09/30/2014

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) Announces Hello From Japan!, A New Exhibition and Program Series; Grant From The Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series Enables An Opening January 2015

Hello from Japan! Exhibit to be Third in a Series of Major Cultural Exhibitions by CMOM

New York, NY – September , 2014 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) announced today that it is using a grant from the Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series to create Hello from Japan!, a 1,500 sq. ft. interactive traveling exhibit that will transport families to a present-day setting in Tokyo. CMOM was one of five children’s museums to receive the grant funded by The Freeman Foundation and administered by Association of Children’s Museums.

The upcoming exhibit will invite families to explore an immersive, yet small-scale, Tokyo streetscape and Shinto park. Visitors to Hello from Japan! will learn how ancient traditions of Japan co-exist with the pervasive contemporary culture of kawaii-inspired graphics and products, defined by round figures, vibrancy and cuteness. The contrast between modern culture and traditional Japanese aesthetics will be demonstrated through the representation of an authentic present-day Tokyo streetscape that connects to a bridge leading into a natural Shinto shrine park setting.

Based upon the colorful and bustling streets in the modern Harajuku district, the exhibit’s streetscape explores contemporary Japanese culture by evoking the friendly feel of the Japanese kawaii aesthetic, which emerged in the 1970s among Japanese school children and has now permeated cultures worldwide. Families are introduced to Japan’s unique culture through child-friendly characters and graphics. Visitors express their own individuality and simultaneously gain insight into modern Japanese society as they create kawaii outfits, design playful mascots, explore regional cuisines, practice writing Japanese characters, and sing along to Japanese children’s songs in a karaoke booth.

At the end of the streetscape is a bridge that leads from the contemporary urban setting into a more tranquil Shinto shrine park setting. The park explores the traditional, nature-based practices and beliefs of Shinto, an indigenous Japanese religion. Families will learn about the appreciation of diverse and powerful elements of nature. They will also be encouraged to appreciate their own local parks, trees and natural settings after they explore the exhibit’s crawl-through forest, make a wish at a large Wishing Tree, and encounter a few of Japan’s kami (spirits) in and around the Shinto shrine.

“CMOM is committed to exploring major world cultures as part of our commitment to help prepare children for the global society of the 21st century. Hello from Japan! follows major exhibitions about the dawn of western civilization in Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece and Monkey King: A Story from China about the Silk Road and Chinese culture. A fourth cultural project about Muslim cultures is under development, and the Museum is considering future exhibitions about Irish culture and pre-Columbian South America,” said CMOM’s executive director Andrew Ackerman. “Exhibiting these cultures is especially important in New York City, the most diverse metropolis on the planet, home to every people, speaking every language. In learning about our neighbors, we are learning about ourselves.”

CMOM’s director of exhibitions Tom Quaranta, said, “we chose to focus on the kawaii aesthetic since it is the basis of so many familiar icons and products, like Hello Kitty and Pokeman, that are popular in America today, and because it is an aesthetic that originated with children. It is a priority for CMOM to present authentic views of culture in a way that is fun and accessible to children and that will highlight the joy and beauty of the unique culture.”

A full range of complementary performances, workshops and programs will launch at the museum when Hello from Japan! opens in January 2015 and will continue throughout the exhibit’s five-month run.

Advisors to the exhibition and the programming series include professors from Harvard University and Columbia University, the Japan Society, the Asia Society, and the Association for Children’s Museums.

Upon closing at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in May 2015, the exhibit will travel to eight other children’s museums around the country, including but not limited to: the Children’s Museum of the Upstate (Greenville, SC), Children’s Discovery Museum (Normal, IL), Mississippi Children’s Museum (Jackson, MS), Discovery Children’s Museum (Las Vegas, NV), and Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center (Honolulu, HI).

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is the vibrant home to 350,000 visitors a year from all segments of the NYC community and tourists from around the world. The museum’s educational mission in early childhood education, arts, creativity, health and culture thrives within our home on 83rd Street and in dozens of communities across the city as well as through national initiatives with leading authorities and government agencies. Child development is at the core of CMOM’s values and mission. Our vision is to be the bridge that connects children and adults with their community, school and home in order to prepare our children for the global world in which they live. For details regarding all of CMOM’s programs and initiatives, please visit www.cmom.org.

About The Freeman Foundation
The Freeman Foundation was established in 1993 by Mansfield Freeman. This private foundation is committed to increasing and strengthening the understanding of nations in East Asia.

About Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)
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 thirty-one 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 www.ChildrensMuseums.org

 

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07/21/2014

JAZZED! The Changing Beat of 125th Street on WNET’s NYC-Arts show

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07/10/2014

Our Children's New Worldview

As former Mayor Ed Koch once famously said, “New York City is where the future comes to audition.” On many days I feel as if the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is where the future comes every day, and that future keeps changing faster than we, or anyone for that matter, can grasp. How can we understand how a young child sees the world? It seems to me that a number of intertwining things coalesce to create a challenging environment within which to understand the worldview of today’s child and to find strategies to not view children through the world views of their parents and grandparents.

We see the impact of technology every day. I recently witnessed a one-year-old child at CMOM in front of a computer screen showing a video. The child tried to swipe and expand the image since her core experience with technology is to control content. Smartphones and tablets are to this generation what the telephone was to a prior generation: an accepted part of life from birth. How the ability to communicate and control data is changing the world view of a child is difficult to measure. But we can rest assured that they have erased boundaries of time and space and that they expect to not only receive content but to create and manipulate it.

As powerful as the influence of technology is, I believe it is rivaled by changing demographics and societal norms.

First, compare the view of the country’s first African-American president from the perspective of a 40- or 70-year-old with that of a 10-year-old. For the older set, this is a radical change in the face of America. However, for the 10-year-old, an African-American president is normative – it is the only president they’ll know from the time they were five until they are 13. They have known no other face of America than Barack Obama. Setting aside politics, this is a fundamental shift in expectation for children of that age group.

The same is increasingly true about gender. I recently took a 4-year-old girl through an Egyptian gallery at an art museum. After looking at a series of Pharaohs in various media, she turned to me and asked, “Where are the girls?” Her expectations are fundamentally different than prior generations. She expects to see women in authority and on equal footing.

In addition, consider what is quickly becoming the normative view of what constitutes a family. With gay marriage and LGBT families increasingly commonplace, a 5-year-old is growing up with a world view that is markedly different than even a 20-year old. CMOM has a significant population of LGBT families who visit regularly as part of the extraordinary mix of New York families. For most kids, this is normative.

A third factor is the wider range of immigrants who have come to the U.S. and are arriving daily. I cannot identify many of the languages I hear spoken by visitors in our facility. Families hailing from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe speak a wide variety of languages – as we know from the challenges facing the New York City public school system. But alongside the wider range of populations is the ever-emerging phenomenon of families that are blending multiple backgrounds and traditions — some of which may have never happened before. Just on my own staff, a Mexican-born woman married a man from Indonesia and their daughter is a full-fledged New Yorker.

What does this mean for the world view of our youngest children?

In workshops at CMOM to celebrate holidays such as the Fourth of July or Ramadan, families create quilts or flags that bespeak of the new American identity. In some ways, it carries on a tradition of immigrants in which the immigrant generation is more tied to their native country or origin, and the children to American culture. But the new families have multiple stories to tell from different perspectives, some with parents and grandparents representing three or even five backgrounds.

To be sure, we are not in a color-blind society where prejudice doesn’t exist. It does and you can see it. However, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t witnessing a generation of children for whom communicating to far-off places transcend traditional time.

Because CMOM is on the front lines, we see trends before they are trends. About seven years ago, we noticed an uptick of men bringing their children to the museum. Through informal conversation, we discovered that many had decided to work from home and take on core parenting duties – this before it became the subject of study. Today, we are witnessing a movement away from technology and a return to “making” things and more travel by extended families resulting in larger groups coming to CMOM and other museums nationwide.

Studies are beginning to become aware of these differences as well as differences in parenting.

How all of these trends and changes will change society remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure: this is a very different generation of children and their world view is different in profound ways.

Read the article at Huffington Post

By Andy Ackerman for Huffington Post NEW YORK

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06/29/2014

5 Best Summer Activities For Kids In NYC

There’s a lot going on at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan this summer! Stop by and check out Frolic!, a new interactive rock ‘n’ roll-themed pop-up play space that offers children ages 0-5 a unique set of music, movement, and imaginative play experiences that support emotional and physical development. Kids can enjoy a replica of a paint-splattered 1970’s Volkswagen minivan, a Rolling Stones-inspired tongue slide, a mini-performance stage and ticket booth, and an interactive video music wall. Have them crawl around the soft foam butterfly and whimsical mushrooms or mix it up at a baby sensory music mixer. There’s even a Saturday Summer Concert Series and plenty of daily workshops like My Five Senses Yoga and Parachute Games. They’ll love it so much they may not want to leave. Admission is $12/person and free for those under 12 months. Museum is open Sunday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

By Carly Petrone.

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06/17/2014

Visit Explore Learn with CMOM CMOM in the Community About CMOM Parties and Rentals Support CMOM Home » About CMOM » News and Press » Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and daughter North cavort at the Children's Museum Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and daughter North cavort at the Children's Museum

Family spends Father’s Day playing on the Upper West Side, and Kim posts pic later of dad and daughter napping.

North West was spotted charming staffers with her smarts at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side on Sunday. The Kardashian kid spent the weekend celebrating two occasions, Father’s Day and her first birthday, with her famous mommy and daddy.

Arriving in a chauffeur-driven SUV, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and their little one pulled up to the W. 83rd St. museum a little after 4 p.m. The trio stayed for an hour, starting inside at a 4,000-square-foot exhibition for kids called PlayWorks — which focuses on language and reading, math, physics, the arts and imagination, and includes a baby crawling challenge course and hoop games.

“They spent most of their time playing in the PlayWorks exhibition,” one spywitness tells Confidenti@l. “Kanye and North played on the MTA ‘bus’ and went into the fire truck together and pretended to drive the fire truck.”

Our tipster adds that the couple seemed “so relaxed” while spending time with their baby. “They were having the best time,” our tipster dishes.

At one point, a museum educator asked Kardashian if her year-old baby girl could crawl, to which the proud mama enthusiastically replied, “Yes.”

“Kim placed North on the floor and and she started crawling, and Kim laughed and Kanye smiled,” says our spy. “They were in a special crawling area at the museum.”

The family stayed for an hour, leaving at the 5 p.m. closing, hopping back in their car and heading home to SoHo.
-ALLCOUNTRY Sharpshooter Images/Splash Kim and Kanye take daughter North West to the Children’s Museum.

Kardashian later posted an adorable shot on Instagram of her hubby snuggling with North in bed, both asleep in matching gray outfits.

“This is what life is about! Our baby girl turned 1 today! We played so hard they passed out while we were watching the game! Happy Father’s Day to the best daddy in the world! The way you love our daughter and protect her makes me filled with so much love! #BestDayEver #Twins #HappyFathersDay #HappyBirthday.”

Although Kim’s personal life finally seems to be going smoothly, one report says ratings for the season-nine premiere of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” are down from season eight, although it does remain the top-rated show on the E! network.

A network rep says the opener drew 2.4 million total viewers and 1.4 million adults aged 18-49, and that “Sunday’s midseason nine launch was the No. 1 most-talked-about series on Twitter among all broadcast and cable ad-supported network programs,” excluding sports and live events.

By MARIANNE GARVEY, BRIAN NIEMIETZ AND OLI COLEMAN

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06/11/2014

Ruth….an NYC Wednesday’s Child story!

Wednesday’s Child is a part of the Dave Thomas Foundation’s national campaign to increase adoptions of children in foster care. Each Wednesday (and again on Sunday mornings), a child in foster care who is waiting for a loving, adoptive home is profiled during the evening news on WNBC 4.

This Wednesday will feature Ruth, an NYC kid! Ruth has a curious, friendly and engaging personality. This cheerful young lady enjoys all activities related to Dora the Explorer. She visits the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and the well-loved Adventures with Dora and Diego exhibit, sponsored by Nickelodeon.

Learn more about this Dora the Explorer lover, and other waiting children, on the Dave Thomas Foundation website.

The segment will air tonight between 5:30pm to 6:00pm and will also re-air on the Sunday (6/15/14) morning news at 6:30am. Visit the WNBC Channel 4 website to view video stream of the feature if you are unable to see it at the scheduled time.

To inquire about Ruth please contact:
Foster Care Agency: Mercy First
Caseworker: Rob Hendel 718-318-6167 ext. 116 (rhendel@mercyfirst.org)

Adoption Expediter:

Shantell Lewis 718-232-1500 ext. 295

If you have a child/youth you would like featured on Wednesday’s Child please call Sophia Brewer, Wednesday’s Child Coordinator at (212) 676-8450.

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05/30/2014

Children’s Museum Jazz

Amsterdam News

Recently, preschoolers were totally involved in their new activities as they were introduced to jazz through arts and crafts and live music by pianist and composer Jonathan Batiste.

This interactive jazz experience for preschoolers and older children is a new jazz exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (212 W. 83rd St.) entitled “Jazzed! The Changing Beat of 125th Street,” which is running now through December 2014.

The exhibit is the result of a collaboration between the Children’s Museum and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. “This is a year’s worth of work putting this project together,” stated Loren Schoenberg, artistic director of the National Jazz Museum. “This gives us an opportunity to introduce this great music to youngsters and also get their parents involved as well. The Children’s Museum is a great asset in this project.”
The featured artists of this exhibit are Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. After watching a 1921 performance of Robinson’s stair dance routine at the Palace Theatre in New York, children were having tons of fun tapping up and down a set of “Tap-Dancing Stairs,” framed by painted red curtains. One of the daily jazz workshops also helps children design their own tap shoes.

“Duke Ellington: Big Band Instrument Making” allows children to create a drum, guitar or banjo using recycled boxes, paint stirrers, rubber bands and collage material. These fun little instruments actually work, and the children were really amused by the little sounds.

In the workshop “Ella Fitzgerald: Learn to Improvise!” with the iPad app Garage Band, children can record their own version of tunes like “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” or “Happy Birthday,” including scatting, then save it to SoundCloud to download at home.

Don’t be afraid to sing or scat at the 1930s jazz club microphone or sit at the little round table and listen to Fitzgerald’s scat improvisations and the voice of Billie Holiday!

Ellington’s granddaughter, Mercedes Ellington, who was present for the opening, noted, “Music and children is such a great combination. This is the best time to introduce them to the music; they soak it up like a sponge.”

“Romare Bearden: My World as Colorful Melodies” offers children an opportunity to design a jazz-inspired collage using sheet music as well as periodicals donated by the Jazz Museum in Harlem.

The Jazzed! web wall infographic shows how the jazz of the Harlem Renaissance is connected with multiple generations and has impacted the art and culture of today.

On display from Ellington’s band are Ben Webster’s saxophone, Cootie Williams’ trumpet and a record sleeve signed by the entire band (on loan from the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University).

Pianists will play every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday during the months of July and August. There will be live performances on Saturdays and Sundays beginning June 1 with Meg Okura and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble.

This exhibit is one of the best all-around interactive fun programs that invites youngsters into the swinging world of jazz. The exhibit is great fun for kids and those accompanying them.

By RON SCOTT

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05/29/2014

Jazzed! The Changing Beat of 125th Street

Spare Times for Children for May 30-June 5

Young visitors may want to put on their dancing shoes before they go to the new exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Or, on certain days, they can just make a pair there.

Fashioning tap shoes from paper, ribbon and plastic buttons is one of the rotating art workshops offered with “Jazzed! The Changing Beat of 125th Street,” which is as much a performance space as it is a show. Presented with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, it offers a 1930s-style microphone at which little fans can scat and sing, as well as a low staircase where they can try out moves inspired by a film of Bill (Bojangles) Robinson’s signature step dance.

Professional jazz musicians swing here, too. Last Saturday and Sunday, the exhibition’s opening weekend, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem’s All-Star Band had its audience scatting, bopping and finally marching (along with the saints). The drummer LaFrae Sci will perform this Saturday at 3 and 4 p.m.; Meg Okura and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble will play at the same times on Sunday.

The walls serve as the show’s main canvases, illustrating the lives of major jazz figures of the Harlem Renaissance and, it’s good to see, not ignoring women. Focusing primarily on Robinson, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington (a case has two of his band members’ instruments), the exhibition also features other giants. Mary Lou Williams, it notes, composed for six different instruments; and Billie Holiday, children will be intrigued to learn, sometimes took Mister, her pet boxer, onstage. Covered with photographs, facts, quotations, sheet music and period slang, the walls function as a kind of picture book.

Museumgoers can also listen to jazz selections, like Fitzgerald’s and Holiday’s different versions of “Cheek to Cheek.” A large touch screen features a video of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra playing Ellington’s “Royal Garden Blues”; the options include zeroing in on a particular instrument’s part — you see and hear just that musician — or studying the relevant score.

While this compact show doesn’t really explore jazz’s roots in early African-American culture, or the prejudice many artists faced, it does demonstrate its impact on later performers. These include Elvis, the Beatles and Pharrell Williams, whose “Happy,” one of the recorded tunes heard, may inspire another round of dancing.

By LAUREL GRAEBER

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05/24/2014

Get Jazzed! At the Children’s Museum of Manhattan

“Trains, Boats and Clothes – Hip NYC Events for Moms and Kids”

Football Food and Motherhood.com

By

CMOM is probably one of the coolest places for little people to explore in the city, and yesterday they opened a brand new exhibit called Jazzed! The Changing Beat of 125th Street. It’s all about the soul and music that boomed in Harlem back in the 1930s – including Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Bojangles, Duke Ellington and more! It’s set up so the kids can appreciate the the arts like tap dancing on the steps stage, or singing through Ella’s iconic microphone. Don’t forget they also have 4 other floors of exhibits to check out as well, so plan to spend the entire morning or afternoon there! See a full list of their summer jazz performances here!

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05/22/2014

Jazzed! The Changing Beat of 125th Street

Spare Times for Children for May 23-29

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05/06/2014

NYC Museum Gets $75G To Expand Pre-K Initiative

Associated Press
NEW YORK — The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has received a $75,000 grant to expand its pre-kindergarten community health and literary initiative to seven early childhood centers in East Harlem.

The grant comes from the Morgan Stanley Foundation.

The centers will be run by Union Settlement Association. It is an East Harlem organization that aids underserved communities.

The museum, in partnership with Union Settlement and the city Housing Authority, opened its first center in 2013.

The centers provide museum-quality installations and educational programs based on the museum’s EatPlayGrow curriculum developed with the National Institutes of Health.

—Copyright 2014 Associated Press

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04/24/2014

Sneak Peek: Jazzed! The Changing Beat of 125th Street

Mommy Nearest

There’s five floors of reasons to love the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, but our favorite is the ever-changing exhibit on the lower level. Earlier this year, the space was transformed into a Super Bowl wonderland, followed by a STEAM Lab. But the latest exhibit to take over, “Jazzed! The Changing Beat of 125th Street” (open through December 31), may just be the coolest. There, visitors can be transported back to 1930’s Harlem and hang out with jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson. We got a first look; read on to find out why this CMOM exhibit is a must-visit!

There’s plenty of reasons to dance!
Bojangles is most famous for his stair dance, and here, kids can test out their tapping skills as well. After designing and creating their own tap shoes, children can head over to a mini set of stairs (they are just the right size for tiny toe tappers) and make magic with their feet. This is a definite photo opp moment, so be sure to have your camera ready.

Little ones can sing their heart out
Does your child love to belt out “Let it Go” from Frozen every night? If so, let her show off her musical talent by joining Ella Fitzgerald in her jazz club. The famous musician’s iconic microphone is there too! Children will have the chance to be in the spotlight and sing to the the audience (or at least another toddler or two). It’s also a great time to teach kids about other types of musical styles.

You can make music-themed crafts
If your child would rather express himself through crafts, you’re in luck. The exhibit features an impressive array of hands-on projects! Design your own golden record (don’t forget to autograph it before you head home!) and make a guitar or banjo out of cardboard boxes and rubber bands. The craft tables are even shaped like musical instruments!

There will be performances all summer long
Throughout the summer, the museum will host live performances every weekend where kids can actually interact with jazz artists, composers, musicians and vocalists. Some of the famous artists you can meet include Sam Newsome, the Andrew Nemr Quartet, Brianna Thomas and Amir El Saffar. See cmom.org for a list of all performances.. You’ll also want to visit on Wednesdays for special tap dancing lessons.

Expect surprises
There are lots of other fun things to see and do, but we don’t want to give it all away! Check it out for yourself and let us know what your family thought. We guarantee your kids will want to spend a large chunk of your visit at the new exhibit, but make sure to leave enough some time to explore the rest of the museum. There’s so many amazing things to see!

By STEPHANIE BERNHART

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03/17/2014

Children's Museum to Showcase Harlem's Role in Jazz

New York Times ArtsBeat Blog

Jazz – its history, its talents, its sounds – is the subject of a new exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan that will run May 23 through Oct. 19, in partnership with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. “Jazzed! The Changing Beat of 125th Street” is an interactive, multimedia exhibition that will make use of jazz artifacts, music education workshops and live performances each day.

The 1,500-square-foot exhibition at the Upper West Side children’s museum features a jazz club, ballroom and theater, all of which mimic the kinds of places found in the Harlem Renaissance era of the 1920s-1940s. In the jazz club, one can hear Ella Fitzgerald and children can sing using a 1930s-style microphone. A video of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, the tap dancer, can be seen in the theater. The ballroom — which features the lively sounds of Duke Ellington — has a piano that will be used for live performances by local young jazz pianists.

A timeline connects the featured artists with the history of Harlem’s 125th Street and the influence of jazz. Video kiosks will show original films and objects from the time period. Families will also have opportunities to participate in hands-on art and music-making workshops at child-size, instrument-shaped tables, and will be able to construct Big Band era-style musical instruments and use authentic sheet music from the Harlem Renaissance to create original scores.

“Jazz is truly a New York City story and we’re honored to be partnering with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem to introduce children to this multifaceted musical genre, many perhaps for the first time,” Andrew Ackerman, the executive director of the children’s museum, said in a statement. “The exhibit will provide a unique opportunity for families to learn about this vital period in our city’s cultural history, develop music literacy, and interact with local jazz musicians, artists and dancers.”

“This is a magical opportunity for us at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem to share ideas with one of the most popular and respected museums in New York City,” Loren Schoenberg, the artistic director of the jazz museum, added. “We’re looking forward to this exhibit as just the beginning of a fruitful partnership.”

By Felicia R. Lee

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03/13/2014

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan and The National Jazz Museum in Harlem Announce the Opening of “Jazzed! The Changing Beat Of 125th Street”

New Interactive Exhibit Features Daily Live Jazz Performances and Hands-on Music Education Workshops to Teach Families about Jazz Legends and the Vibrant Jazz Culture of New York City

New York, NY – March 3, 2014 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), in partnership with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (NJMH), today announced the opening of Jazzed! The Changing Beat of 125th Street, a new interactive exhibit at CMOM (212 West 83rd Street) that celebrates the rich history and lasting legacy of jazz during the Harlem Renaissance. The multimedia exhibition, featuring daily live performances and workshops as well as rarely seen images, archival footage and original jazz artifacts, will run from May 23 through October 19, 2014.

Funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, the 1,500-square-foot exhibit focuses around three iconic figures from the time period: bandleader and composer Duke Ellington, vocalist Ella Fitzgerald and dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. The lives of other jazz icons, including female greats like Billie Holiday and Mary Lou Williams, will be highlighted as well.

The exhibit is the latest iteration of CMOM’s ongoing focus on the “Arts and Creativity,” designed to bring original art and live performances to families. The exhibition explores the unrivaled artistic achievements of the jazz culture in Harlem during the famed Harlem Renaissance (1920’s–1940’s), a defining period of musical, theatrical, literary and cultural creativity, innovation and activity among African-Americans, with Harlem as its epicenter. Music and movement stations, live performances by professional and student musicians, video kiosks featuring original films and objects from that period, including instruments, will transport visitors back in time to Harlem during the height of the Harlem Renaissance.

“Jazz is truly a New York City story,” said CMOM’s executive director Andrew Ackerman, “and we’re honored to be partnering with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem to introduce children to this multifaceted musical genre, many perhaps for the first time. The exhibit will provide a unique opportunity for families to learn about this vital period in our city’s cultural history, develop music literacy and interact with local jazz musicians, artists and dancers.”

“This is a magical opportunity for us at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem to share ideas with one of the most popular and respected museums in New York City,” said NJMH’s artistic director Loren Schoenberg. “It’s a joy to tell the story of Harlem’s great figures to young people and their parents in such an interactive presentation. We’re looking forward to this exhibit as just the beginning of a fruitful partnership.”

The exhibition consists of three major sections: a jazz club, theater and ballroom that are small simulations of originals from the Harlem Renaissance. Upon entering the intimate “jazz club,” families can listen to the warm sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, a singer whose impeccable technique and sweet-natured voice brought hope and reassurance to a generation of listeners. Kids are invited to sing their own song at a 1930’s-style microphone. Through photos and audio footage, families can also explore how Fitzgerald, as an African American woman during that time, broke social barriers as well as launched a new vocal style.

The “theater” features Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, one of the most famous tap dancers of the 20th century, and his ability to make a statement through the art form. After watching a video of Robinson’s Stair Dance, first made popular while Robinson was performing at New York City’s Palace Theater in 1921, children will be encouraged to move to their own beat on a small staircase, framed by plush, red curtains. An accompanying workshop will allow them to make their own tap shoes. Behind them will be projections of Robinson’s shadow demonstrating the jazz icon’s various positions and light and exacting footwork during his signature routine.

After hopping off-stage, families will find themselves immersed in the world of Duke Ellington and his famous jazz orchestra. In the “ballroom,” families can isolate the sounds of different instruments, including the trumpet, trombone, clarinet and saxophone, in one of Ellington’s most famous compositions and then press a button to hear the piece in full. The ballroom also includes an upright piano to be used for live musical performances by young local jazz pianists through the exhibit’s run.

The last stop along the exhibit will be a colorful timeline that connects the featured artists with the history of Harlem’s 125th Street and the influence that jazz has had over generations of music and innovation.

Additionally, a combination of daily live piano presentations by young musicians and weekly live performances by leading jazz artists and dance companies will allow families to experience how this multi-faceted artistic genre continues to influence culture today. The NJMH’s All Star Band will kick off the concert series with a special performance during opening weekend (May 24-25).

In the center of the gallery, families will participate in hands-on art and music-making workshops at child-sized, instrument-shaped tables. Program highlights include constructing Big Band era-style musical instruments and using authentic sheet music from the Harlem Renaissance to create original scores. Daily music demos will encourage children to experiment with sound, think like a composer, examine musical instruments and learn dance routines.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is the vibrant home to 350,000 visitors a year from all segments of the NYC community and tourists from around the world. The museum’s educational mission in early childhood education, creativity, health and culture thrives within our home on 83rd Street and in dozens of communities across the city as well as through national initiatives with leading authorities and government agencies. Child development is at the core of CMOM’s values and mission and our vision is to be the bridge that connects children and adults in the community, school and home in order to prepare our children for the global world in which they live. For details regarding all of CMOM’s programs and initiatives, please visit www.cmom.org

About National Jazz Museum in Harlem
The mission of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (NJMH) is to preserve, promote and present jazz by inspiring knowledge, appreciation and celebration of jazz locally, nationally, and internationally. The NJMH is committed to keeping jazz relevant and exciting in the lives of a diverse range of audiences: young and old, novice and scholar, artist and patron, enthusiast and curious listener. The NJMH engages its audiences through live performances, exhibitions, educational workshops, and its newsworthy archival collection of jazz artifacts.

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02/02/2014

New York City Museums Offer Growing Number of STEM Education Programs for Children

From the New York Transit Museum’s ‘Get Kinetic!’ workshop to the Brooklyn Historical Society’s educational series with the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a growing number of city museums are offering hands-on learning for children. The STEM-focused programming emphasizes the basics of science, technology, engineering and math.

For an hour on Saturday afternoon, Emily Raimist and her sister Victoria were engineering superstars.

With speed and determination, Emily, 8, and Victoria, 6, designed a system of ramps and jumps to get a ball to zoom down a slide, knock over dominoes and push a toy car into motion.

The girls, visiting with their family from Chantilly, Va., were participating in the New York Transit Museum’s “Get Kinetic!” workshop, a hands-on activity to teach kids about the physics behind motion and speed.

Their dad, Scott Raimist, took a break from helping to cheer on his daughters’ work at the Brooklyn site. “I do think this is more instructive than sitting in a lecture,” he said. “We love museums like this.”

Turns out, foundational learning doesn’t just happen in math class or the science lab. Nowadays, kids are going beyond their schools to learn the basics of science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM.

Museums around the city offer a dizzying number of programs with creative approaches to STEM education. The Transit Museum alone runs about 125 STEM-oriented programs like “Get Kinetic!” every year, while a larger organization like the New York Hall of Science offers more than 450 such programs.

Margaret Honey, president and CEO of the New York Hall of Science, said this emphasis on hands-on learning highlights the importance of “exploration and discovery and messing about” that is central to scientific inquiry and creative problem-solving.

Whether it’s getting started with digital-animation software or building electronic circuits with tin foil and pipe cleaners, the museum’s programs teach kids to be thinkers and tinkerers.

“It doesn’t feel like science, it doesn’t feel like learning,” she said. “That’s what will get kids to ask the next set of questions.”

Even institutions outside the realm of science and math are creating STEM-focused programming.

The Brooklyn Historical Society has piloted an educational series with the Brooklyn Navy Yard for elementary and middle school students, examining the site’s role from the Revolutionary War to a center for local tech innovation.

Deborah Schwartz, president of the Brooklyn Historical Society, sees an organic connection between her institution’s historical focus and fields like waterfront management, landscape architecture and urban planning. “It’s very natural, for instance, for somebody who’s interested in the history of the Brooklyn Bridge to take the leap from its history to its engineering feats,” she said. “That flow works for kids especially.”

The historical society recently hosted the 3-D Mosque Architecture Experience, an immersive program developed by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan to teach kids about Islamic cultures through architecture, engineering and geometry.

Monica Bajraktarevic had brought her daughter Izabella, 10, her son Kenan, 9, and two of their friends from Gravesend and Sheepshead Bay. Her kids are fans of the building video game Minecraft, she said, so she thought the architectural program would appeal to them.

“I see that they build constantly but they build in the virtual universe,” Bajraktarevic said. “I think they do have aspirations to be architects one day, and this program really allows them to grow intellectually. It’s an introduction to a career path.”

But even if a child is too young to think about career paths, Andy Ackerman, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s executive director, advises parents to bring their kids to museums from an early age. “Don’t be afraid to expose them to great things,” he said.

“Learning is a lot like building a building,” Ackerman said. “The foundation is critical. If the foundation is poor, the whole building falls down.”

A version of this article appears in print on February 3, 2015 on page 18 of the New York Daily News edition with the Headline: STEM is the future. The Peanut Galleries: Museums letting kids get hands on with science.

By MERAL AGIS

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01/16/2014

Children Learn to be NFL Referees

NYC Dads Group

My children usually have the unfortunate task of sitting next to me during sporting events. I say this because I am passionate about my sports, and my kids love to impersonate my irrational behavior when I watch my teams play.

I jump, yell, and even, on occasion, dance. All to the laughter of the tiny people that sit around me. Sometimes, I even get mad. Those moments of anger are usually directed at an official that I believe blew a major call.

Which is the reason I was afraid, when I stepped into the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s “You Make the Call: Learn to be An NFL Official” exhibit, that I was being set up for a referee intervention. When I saw Dean Blandino, NFL vice president of officiating, standing in the room when I arrived, I was sure that my words had somehow reached the ears of the people in stripes. I made sure to stay clear of him in case he wanted to take a swing at me.

It turns out the exhibit isn’t an intervention for loud sports fans like me, but a great place for kids to get a glimpse into what a referee does in conjunction with the New York/New Jersey area hosting Super Bowl XL VII. Among some of the football related things kids learn are the referee’s signals and their meaning. The kids learn the signals through a dance called “Zebra dance,” which my kids now will be doing at every game. Kids also have the opportunity to “go under the hood” to get a taste of what it is like to review an instant replay.

The highlight for me was the obstacle course where kids can catch a football or run with it to score a touchdown. A couple of dummies stand in the way for those kids that love a good game of contact football. Along with the obstacle course, there also are crafts for the kids to do. Mine made yellow penalty flags.

I am sure the next time I raise my voice towards an official on TV, my kids will remind me of our time learning about officiating and all the responsibilities they have. Then, they will probably do the “Zebra Dance,” and, to be honest, I will probably join in.

The exhibit is now open and will continue to celebrate Super Bowl XL VII through Feb.28. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is located at 212 West 83rd St.

By Jason Greene | NYC Dads Group Contributor

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01/11/2014

Children’s Museum of Manhattan's 'You Make the Call' exhibit a hit with kids

NFL referee Ed Hochuli signals a touchdown here, but at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, kids get to make the call.

The only thing missing from the “You Make the Call” exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is the booing.

“We hear booing a lot,” NFL VP of officiating Dean Bladino joked at the opening of the exhibit on Thursday.

Actually, there was a lot of laughter at the grand opening, with kids from P.S. 198 getting the first look at the exhibit that’s open at the Upper West Side museum through February.

While kids can do the “Zebra Dance” — a compilation of moves based on referees’ touchdown, facemask, first down and other signals — make their own flag and run an obstacle course, grown-ups can go under the hood and try to make the right call from a selection of challenged plays during recent seasons (the kids can do it too, of course).

Blandino gave The News an inside-look at the display, and while we tried to stump him on the plays, we were the ones who fumbled.

“I know these already,” he said when we asked him to make a guess if the officials got the call right the first time on a Domenik Hixon catch in a Giants-Niners game from 2012. “I’ve been prepared.”

Getting quizzed on the calls is nothing new for the Long Island native, who’s been with the NFL since 1994 and was named to the VP’s post following last season.

“Friends, relatives, the priest at my church. Kidding about the priest, but yes I get texts from friends and especially my brother David every Sunday asking about calls,” he said.

At least they don’t boo him.

READY FOR THE WORLD
Jim Spanarkel predicts the NBA could have franchises in Berlin or Beijing before too long.

“Ten years down the road, I could see NBA teams in select countries,” says the YES broadcaster, who will cross the pond this week to call the Nets-Hawks game in London on Thursday with his partner Ian Eagle.

“Basketball is such a terrific game,” the former NBA player says. “A kid can grab a ball, find a rim and make believe he is the world’s next superstar. The game is made for global expansion.”

RELATED: THE SCORE: TIS THE SEASON TO REVAMP NHL SCHEDULE

Spanarkel says it will be interesting to watch British fans. “It will probably be a mix,” he says. “There will probably be enough people in the building who understand basketball, as well as others who are just learning on the fly. I’m expecting an excited crowd.

“It will be fun to see who the crowd roots for,” Spanarkel adds.

He thinks the Nets will have the edge when it comes to British fans’ support, thanks to Brooklyn’s emergence as the hipster capital of the world.

“Brooklyn — it is a name everyone knows,” he says.

MAC ATTACK
Tennis’ elite players have flocked to warm and sunny Melbourne, Australia for the start of the Australian Open Monday. And while the weather in New York has been nothing of the sort, hundreds of local students are still afforded the opportunity to become acquainted with the sport during the wintertime through the John McEnroe Tennis Academy.

Based at the Sportime Randall’s Island Tennis Center, the Academy began in 2010 with eyes on developing young, talented tennis players. Its community outreach program has grown each year with the help of Outreach Director and Academy Pro Jamie Moore.

Primarily working with students from Harlem and the Bronx Monday through Friday throughout the school year, the Academy is on target to provide 2,500 hours of instruction both onsite at the 20-court facility and offsite at some schools in East Harlem. The Academy works mostly with grammar school and middle school students, plus two high schools — about 300 total students per week — and hopes to broaden its program moving forward.

John’s younger brother Mark is the Managing Director of the Academy.

“We work with Randall’s Island Park Alliance, our landlord, and the Board of Education; the kids get put on buses and come here, and we provide an introductory kind of experience for these various classes of kids,” Mark tells The Score. “We like to work with a school and get a specific class of kids, 20 to 40 kids, and have them once a week during the school year.”

A handful of students earned scholarships for the after-school Academy, an opportunity available for those who have the ability, though that isn’t the main goal of the program. The chief aim is to introduce more kids to tennis.

“We don’t expect after nine months we’re going to turn any of those kids into (McEnroe),” Mark said. “But our hope on the community level is we’ll expose some kids who wouldn’t otherwise think about picking up a tennis racket.”

To find classes in your area, check out the Daily News Events Calendar

Author: BERNIE AUGUSTINE, MICHAEL O’KEEFFE, JUSTIN TASCH

Photo: Al Messerschmidt/Getty

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01/09/2014

New exhibit teaches kids about NFL referees

NEW YORK (WABC) — Ever wonder what it would be life to be a ref in the NFL? Now kids can find out, and learn more secrets of the NFL at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

At their newest exhibit, kids call all the big shots.

This is the real deal: you can actually step into a booth like the ones officials use on the sidelines, when reviewing questionable plays.

There’s an obstacle course and the Zebra dance, a way for kids to get physical while learning more about football.

The men in black and white are considered the third team on a football field.

That’s just one of the things kids will learn at the new interactive exhibit, called “You Make the Call.”

It’s a unique chance to learn what the league’s 119 officials do on the field.

“We’re talking about confidence, physical fitness, decision making, good judgement, these are things that happen on the football field in every game and can translate to what kids are experiencing in their daily lives,” said NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino.

It’s also a chance to get physical, and get a taste of what it’s like to train like a pro.

An obstacle course ties directly into the museum’s mission to prevent childhood obesity. There’s plenty to keep the little ones occupied, including NFL trivia games.

By the way, it takes about 10 years to become an NFL official. The league has a special academy where you learn all the rules of the game.

The exhibit is now open and runs through Feb. 28th.

By Kemberly Richardson, News Team Eyewitness News

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01/09/2014

NFL Officials Exhibit Goes Beyond The Whistle

Super Bowl referees are the focus at the “You Make the Call” exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. NY1’s Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

View video

NFL referees can sometimes feel like the forgotten people on the field. But as some kids in Manhattan recently learned, without them there’s no game.

“That gets lost sometimes, especially for kids, they see the two teams but without the officials you can’t play the game, and they’re so important to upholding the integrity and the rules,” NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino.

The children are getting a first hand look at what it takes to officiate as part of “You Make the Call: Learn to be an NFL Official” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. First up, they’re making their own penalty flags.

It’s all part of an exhibit in conjunction with the Super Bowl coming to town in a little more than three weeks. Among the football lessons for these kids from PS 198 were the hand signals refs use like for touchdowns, it’s even part of a catchy dance. There’s also an obstacle course highlighting fitness.

There are also practical lessons the kids can get by watching referees as well.

“They have to instantly analyze things based upon all of their knowledge, then they take all of that to make a decision. And this is what kids need to learn how to do, to go through a process, to come to a conclusion, but also to be able to validate that conclusion,” said Andrew Ackerman of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

“It’s about decision making, it’s about physical activity, it’s about teamwork,” said New York Giants Co-Owner Laurie Tisch.

One of the coolest aspects of the exhibit is a real NFL instant replay booth. So just like the officials, the kids can go under the hood and review any given play.

“We can actually engage kids in looking at the same play from different perspectives, so they learn we see things differently depending where we are,” Ackerman said.

But for the kids, the real focus is on the fun.

“It’s a children’s museum and like no other museum is like this, they don’t do this at the museum,” said one youngster.

The exhibit will be open through February 28.

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01/09/2014

Sneak a peek at CMOM's Super Bowl–centric exhibition

Sneak a peek at CMOM's Super Bowl–centric exhibition

 

By Hannah Doolin

Check out photos from “You Make the Call: Learn to Be an NFL Official,” CMOM’s new exhibit running January 9–February 28.”You Make the Call: Learn to Be an NFL Official” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. View more photos

A brand-new exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is set to get football fanatics of all ages stoked for Super Bowl XLVIII, and Time Out Kids dropped in for the press preview! The NFL-partnered exhibit, “You Make the Call: Learn to Be an NFL Official,” gives everyone a chance to step onto the field in an NFL official’s shoes. An NFL Play 60 video kiosk and interactive obstacle course demonstrate the quick thinking and physical fitness required for the job. After practicing signs and signals used in the big game, a model instant-replay system tests little ones’ ability to make tough calls. Families can even pop into the Manhattan control room to get a behind-the-scenes look at where all NFL games are monitored. Click through our slide show to preview some exhibit’s highlights, including a design-your-own penalty flag craft and NFL official uniforms on display.

Photos: Alex Strada

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01/08/2014

NYC Attractions Beckon Super Bowl Visitors

NEW YORK (AP) — The Big Story

The Super Bowl will be played in New Jersey, but folks coming in for the big game on Feb. 2 are likely to spend time across the Hudson River in New York City, if only to check out a 14-block “Super Bowl Boulevard” set up along Broadway.

There will also be two-for-one theater tickets and several museum exhibits, including a show of vintage football cards at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here are details on ways for football fans to enjoy the Big Apple.

SUPER BOWL BOULEVARD

More than a million people are expected to visit Super Bowl Boulevard, Jan. 29-Feb. 1, noon-10 p.m., along Broadway between 34th and 47th streets. Entry will be free, though sliding down a toboggan run at 40th Street will cost $5. The toboggan will operate with or without snow.

In honor of the 48th Super Bowl, giant Roman numerals XLVIII will be set up at 42nd Street as a backdrop for photos. Fans can also stop by for autograph sessions with current and former NFL players, noon-6 p.m., at a stage at 39th Street. The stage will also display the Vince Lombardi Trophy, awarded each year to the Super Bowl champions, and named for the man considered one of the sport’s most successful coaches. Concerts will be held on the stage each evening, 8 p.m.-10 p.m.

A 10-minute video celebration of football will be projected on Macy’s facade at 34th Street, every 30 minutes between 5 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Macy’s will also host an NFL shop on its fourth floor, Jan. 17-Feb. 4.

Kids ages 6-13 can check out the animated “NFL PLAY 60 Field” experience, noon-5 p.m. in the NFL Rush Zone in heated tents between 34th and 35th streets. Fans of all ages can take part in interactive games and enjoy Video Park, a video that looks at the host region, in tents between 35th and 36th streets, noon-10 p.m.

For sightseeing advice, the city’s tourism agency, NYC & Company, has a tent between 43rd and 44th streets and an information desk on Macy’s mezzanine; http://www.nycgo.com.

FOOTBALL AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is more likely to be associated with Egyptian artifacts and Renaissance paintings than football. But the museum on Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street is getting into the Super Bowl spirit with an exhibit of vintage football cards called “Gridiron Greats,” Jan. 24-Feb. 10, http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2014/gridiron-greats .

About 150 cards printed between 1894 and 1959 will be shown, from the first football cards ever produced to cards featuring legendary coach Knute Rockne and Jim Thorpe, one of the 20th century’s greatest athletes. Also on display: rare action photos of early varsity teams.

Other museums with football exhibits: the interactive “You Make the Call: Learn to be An NFL Official” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, through Feb. 28; and at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, “Madden NFL: 25 Years and Running,” a look at the enduringly popular football video game, through Feb. 23.

BIG APPLE CLASSICS

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island have reopened to visitors following months of closure after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

For panoramic views of the city from up high, take your pick of observatories: the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center.

If you don’t mind the cold, there’s nothing lovelier or more New York than walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. For the best view, take the A or C train to the High Street stop in Brooklyn and walk back to Manhattan to see the skyscraper canyons coming into view with every step.

Skating rinks at Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park and Wollman Rink in Central Park are among the most magical places you will ever take a spin on the ice.

Love theater? Two-for-one tickets are on sale now for many shows during Broadway Week, Jan. 21-Feb. 6, http://www.nycgo.com/broadwayweek .

Just before the big game, Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade and Festival take place in Lower Manhattan Feb. 2 at 1 p.m.: http://betterchinatown.com/ .

If the football card exhibit at the Met whets your appetite for more museums, consider the American Museum of Natural History, a favorite with kids, or the Museum of Modern Art, home to Picassos, Van Goghs and Monets. The Guggenheim is famous for its Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, while tours by costumed actors at the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side bring the 20th century immigrant experience to life.

WHAT’S NEW

If you haven’t been to New York City in a few years, you’ll want to check out its newest attractions, such as the High Line, a unique urban park built on an old West Side railway line, running along 10th Avenue from 30th Street to just below 14th Street. Entry is free.

The 9/11 Memorial is a must-see, beautiful tribute to those who perished on Sept. 11, 2001. A limited number of walkup passes are available at the entrance at Albany and Washington streets. One World Trade Center is not yet open to the public but it’s visible from many vantage points.

Calling all hipsters: Take the L train to Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to hang with the cool kids.

HOCKEY IN A BASEBALL STADIUM

Never mind football. For hockey fans, there are games in a baseball stadium, as Yankee Stadium hosts its first hockey games. The New York Rangers play the New Jersey Devils Jan. 26, while the Rangers play the New York Islanders Jan. 29.

By BETH J. HARPAZ
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01/08/2014

Media Advisory: Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) and National Football League (NFL) Celebrate Opening of “You Make the Call: Learn to be An NFL Official” Exhibit at CMOM on January 9

The New Interactive Experience Celebrates Super Bowl XLVIII and Offers a Rare Behind-the-Scenes Look at NFL Officiating and the Opportunity to Train Like an NFL Pro

NFL’s Head of Officials Dean Blandino Among Expected Attendees

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) and the National Football League (NFL) will join together to celebrate the opening of You Make the Call: Learn to be An NFL Official, a new interactive experience that gives children and their families an exclusive look into the world of NFL officials, on Thursday, January 9 from 10 am – noon at CMOM (212 West 83rd Street). The multimedia exhibit, featuring daily and weekly programming, as well as clinics and appearances by NFL representatives, runs through February 28.

You Make the Call: Learn to be An NFL Official will help families understand how developing better decision-making skills, including planning, organizing, focusing on task and physical fitness leads to leadership and social success. The exhibit is part of CMOM’s EatSleepPlay™ national early childhood obesity prevention initiative, which CMOM, a Let’s Move! Museum, developed with the National Institutes of Health.

Visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to go “under the hood” and make the correct call in the “You Make the Call” booth – a replica of the sideline instant replay system used by real NFL officials.

Other interactive exhibit highlights include an NFL Play 60 obstacle course where kids can train like an NFL pro and run through pop-ups and dive onto a landing mat for a “touchdown” finish while carrying a football. Children can also participate in the “Zebra Dance” – a physical routine that combines officiating call signals and trendy dance moves – and design their own referee flags in the “You Make the Flag” workshop. Throughout the exhibit’s run, NFL officials, coaches and current and former players will also stop by the museum to participate in various programs. For the latest schedule information, please visit cmom.org.

Attendees at the Jan. 9 press event will include:

  • Dean Blandino, NFL VP of officiating
  • Laurie Tisch, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund president, Children’s Museum of Manhattan board member and New York Football Giants co-owner and board of directors member
  • Andrew S. Ackerman, CMOM executive director

In addition to speaking with the attendees, media will have the chance to watch young visitors participate in all aspects of the exhibit.

WHAT: You Make the Call: Learn to be An NFL Official Exhibit Opening

WHEN: Thursday, January 9
10 am – noon

WHERE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Tisch Building
212 West 83rd Street
New York, NY

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12/20/2013

Children’s Museum, NYCHA Create East Harlem Early Learning Hub

DNAinfo New York

HARLEM—As Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio focuses on early childhood learning as one of his administration’s top priorities, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has partnered with Union Settlement and the New York City Housing Authority to create an early childhood “hub” at Johnson Houses in East Harlem that they feel can be a citywide and national model for leveling the playing field for low-income children.

Using the “EatPlayGrow” curriculum developed with the National Institutes of Health and tested at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the focus is on early childhood literacy and health for the Union Johnson Early Learning Center and Head Start facility on 113th Street and Lexington Avenue.

“By the age of 4, even before Head Start, 80 percent of a child’s brain is developed,” said Andrew Ackerman, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. “There is no better investment than early childhood education.”

Kids squealed as they fed Alphie the dragon, an interactive toy, with letters and shouted out the names of healthy food that started with each letter, such as watermelon for the letter “W.”

There’s a replica of the NYC Green Carts that sell fruits and vegetables on the street in the children’s classroom to encourage healthy eating while the block building area focuses on exploring math concepts. A teacher used clay to help students mold different types of healthy food.

Outgoing NYCHA chairman John Rhea said the curriculum is the type they had in mind when they opened the newly built center.

“A program like this costs thousands of dollars at a for-profit school but its critical that low-income children have access,” said Rhea who added that the program would help close the “achievement gap that we know is too prevalent in low-income communities.”

Studies show that by the time kids enter kindergarten, an achievement gap can already exist. Kids from higher income families score better on cognitive tests than children from lower-income families. White children score higher on reading tests than both black and Latino students. More troubling is that this racial and economic achievement gap persists even as students get older.

“I see this as simply helping to level the playing field,” said Laurie Tisch, president of the Illumination Fund, one of the children’s museum’s biggest funders. “If my kids can have it why can’t kids who are in a different zip code?”
The program also doesn’t just focus on kids. Parents, educators, care givers and public housing staff will also receive training from staff at the children’s museum. The development of the initiative will also be studied as NYCHA and its partners develop plans to replicate the early childhood hub in public housing developments across the city.
David Nocenti, executive director of Union Settlement said kids of all incomes can have quality early childhood learning but it’s going to take collaboration.

“We can’t do this on our own because we don’t have the capacity or the funding,” said Nocenti. “Everything is better when done in collaboration.”

 by JEFF MAYS
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12/05/2013

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the National Football League Announce the Opening of “You Make the Call: Learn to be An NFL Official”

New Interactive Experience Which Celebrates Super Bowl XLVIII and Kicks Off in January, Offers Rare Behind-the-Scenes Look at NFL Officiating

New York, NY – December 5, 2013 – To celebrate Super Bowl XLVIII coming to MetLife Stadium and the New York/New Jersey area, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) and the National Football League (NFL) announced today the opening of You Make the Call: Learn to be An NFL Official, a new interactive experience that gives children and their families an exclusive look into the world of NFL officials. The multimedia exhibit and program opens at CMOM (212 West 83rd Street) on January 8 and runs through February.

You Make the Call: Learn to be An NFL Official will also help families understand how developing both executive function skills including planning, organizing, and focusing on task, and physical fitness lead to valuable leadership and social success. The exhibit and programs will emphasize the process of developing critical thinking skills that lead to making more informed decisions.

Visitors will have the chance to go “under the hood” and make the correct call in the “You Make the Call” booth – a stylized rendition of the sideline instant replay systems used byreal NFL officials. Other exhibit highlights include an NFL Play 60 video kiosk and obstacle course to help inspire kids to be more active and healthy; a look at how the uniforms worn by the officials have changed over time; and a sneak peek inside the NFL’s control room in Manhattan where officiating personnel monitor all games.

Additionally, picture guides and descriptions of the various signals used and calls made by the officials during NFL games will be on display. Children and their families will gain an understanding that good decisions make a critical difference in a game, and also in their daily lives.

You Make the Call: Learn to be An NFL Official will also feature daily and weekly programming and clinics, including the NFL’s Play 60 initiative, which encourages kids to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Children can also participate in a “Zebra Dance,” which is a combination of different officiating call signals and trendy dance moves in a fun dance number.

NFL representatives including officials, coaches, and current and former players are expected to participate in the various exhibit programs, clinics, and activities.

“CMOM is thrilled to partner with the NFL to celebrate the very first Super Bowl in our area, and to further explore the extremely important issues around executive function, decision making, and healthy lifestyle choices through our unique arts-based pedagogy for children and families,” said CMOM’s Executive Director Andrew Ackerman.

Programming for You Make the Call: Learn to be An NFL Official includes:
Opening Day – Wednesday, January 8:
Super Bowl Week – Special guest speakers
State of Officiating with Dean Blandino, V.P. of Officiating
History Begins with Her Story: Women Officiating Now with Sarah Thomas
You Make the Call with surprise guest coach, player, & SBXLVIII NFL official

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is the vibrant home to 350,000 visitors a year from all segments of the NYC community and tourists from around the world. The museum’s educational mission in early childhood education, creativity, health and culture thrives within our home on 83rd Street and in dozens of communities across the city as well as through national initiatives with leading authorities and government agencies. Child development is at the core of CMOM’s values and mission and our vision is to be the bridge that connects children and adults in the community, school and home in order to prepare our children for the global world in which they live. For details regarding all of CMOM’s programs and initiatives, please visit www.cmom.org.

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12/05/2013

NYC children’s museum plans Super Bowl exhibition

Associated Press

NEW YORK — The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has a special Super Bowl exhibition opening in January.
It’s called “You Make the Call: Learn To Be An NFL Official.”

The interactive exhibition will take visitors behind-the-scenes of NFL officiating. It runs from Jan. 8 to Feb. 28.

It includes a “You Make the Call” booth. It’s a stylized rendition of the sideline instant replay systems used by NFL officials.

There’s also a NFL Play 60 video kiosk and obstacle course designed to encourage kids to be more active.

Other highlights include a mock-up of an NFL control room where games are monitored.

NFL officials and players will participate in the exhibition’s various programs.

The upcoming Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium will be the first at a cold weather venue in a non-domed stadium.

—Copyright 2013 Associated Press
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11/14/2013

Crayons Down. Now Dig Into That Healthful Parfait.

N.Y./Region

Anti-Obesity Initiative Teaches Under-5 Set How to Love Fruits and Vegetables

The 22 children in a Head Start class in East Harlem shopped for plastic carrots and tomatoes at their own version of a New York City green cart, counted backward from five with a picture of blueberries, and jumped up and down to a song about bananas.

But when it came time to twist and shape clay into their favorite fruits and veggies, Lauren Williams, 4, had another idea. She wanted to make an alligator instead.

“Maybe we can make some fruits and vegetables that an alligator can eat,” suggested Laura Shortt, an educator who is working with the class on healthy food choices.

A new obesity prevention initiative by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health seeks to teach children who cannot yet spell the names of their fruits and vegetables to love them and eat them every day.

While similar efforts have been aimed at older school-age children, this program is devised specifically to reach the under-5 set through interactive displays, classes infused with art and music, and workshops for their parents.

“There’s a significant amount of research that points to lifelong habits being formed by the time you are 3 or 4,” said Andrew Ackerman, executive director of the Children’s Museum, who draws a comparison between healthy eating and literacy efforts. “If you get this right when kids are below 4, then you’re not spending enormous sums on remediation.”

This month, museum and health officials are promoting a food-based curriculum called 
“Eat Play Grow,” which comes with ready-made lessons on things like portion control, healthy drinks, exercising and sleeping.

The curriculum, in English and Spanish, is now available free on websites and blogs, and will be distributed to teachers in low-income areas nationally. In January, the museum will supplement it with a new website and additional training for teachers and caregivers.

“Eat Play Grow,” which was supported with $300,000 in public and private grants and donations, has been tested since 2009 in 50 early childhood programs at housing projects, community centers and libraries in New York City and New Orleans, both cities that have sought to combat obesity. The Children’s Museum, which installed an interactive exhibition at its Upper West Side location in 2012, has also served as a research base and training center.

Mr. Ackerman said that children’s museums in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Youngstown, Ohio, planned to offer the same sort of exhibition, and that many other museums and libraries had expressed interest in offering the children’s classes and parent workshops in their communities.

In East Harlem, the initiative has transformed a child-care center at the James Weldon Johnson Houses, a public-housing project, into a hub of anti-obesity activities.

Since February, the museum has sent its educators once a week to teach a class, and recently completed a $295,000 installation there that replicates some of the museum displays, including a green cart loaded with plastic fruits and vegetables for playtime and 
a talking green dragon named Alphie, which devours alphabet tiles while saying things like 
“B is for Banana.”

David Nocenti, the executive director of Union Settlement Association, which runs the 
Head Start classes at the Johnson Houses and six other sites, said that his staff members had started incorporating lessons from “Eat Play Grow” into their daily routines.

“There’s a huge difference between simply serving healthy food to children, and actually educating children, parents and staff members about the food that is being served,” said 
Mr. Nocenti, who hopes to expand the curriculum to all the locations.

The other morning, Ms. Shortt and two museum educators reminded the children in the Head Start class to eat their “Go foods”: foods and drinks that can be consumed anytime (fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk). There are also “Whoa foods” — French fries, doughnuts and candy — to be eaten sparingly.

Healthy choices were reinforced at story time when they read the preschool classic “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and during a rendition of “Old MacDonald” in which they sang: “Vegetables are good for me, E-I-E-I-O.”

The lessons seem to have stuck. Lauren, the girl who wanted an alligator, settled for making an apple out of clay, then coloring it green. Half of it was for the gator, she said, and half for her.

As the children gathered around tables at snack time to assemble their own parfaits from strawberries, blueberries and low-fat yogurt, Avery Cruz, 4, asked for another helping. 
“I want a lot,” he said. “Strawberries are my favorite.”

Ms. Shortt said that she tried to broaden the children’s palates by introducing fruits and vegetables outside their comfort zones. Not long ago, she brought in a red pepper. Lauren tried it and liked it, but her older sister spit it out. That was still more successful, though, than the time Ms. Shortt tried raw green beans at a program in the Bronx with no takers (educators say it usually takes multiple tries for children to like new foods).

To instill healthy eating habits at home, museum educators have held parent workshops to dispel misperceptions about food — say, that sugar-laden orange juice is good for you — over plates of veggies and hummus. Some low-income families, they found, were serving whole milk because they believed that was what wealthy families drank and therefore must be the best.

The children are now teaching grown-ups. Last year, a director of a Head Start program in Brooklyn where the anti-obesity curriculum was tested walked into the classroom with a soda. The children gave her such a hard time that she not only gave up the drink, but also arranged for the soda machine to be removed.

“You don’t want to take on a bunch of 4-year-olds,” Mr. Ackerman said.

Photos: Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times
Sudais Masoud had a snack at a nutrition class at the James Weldon Johnson Houses in Manhattan.
A book on healthy eating was given to children at the Johnson Houses, which has become a hub of anti-obesity activities.

A version of this article appears in print on November 14, 2013, on page A25 of the New York edition with the headline: Crayons Down. Now Dig Into That Healthful Parfait.

By WINNIE HU

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11/13/2013

Children’s Museum of Manhattan Launches Early Childhood Health Curriculum Approved by the National Institutes of Health

LET’S MOVE BLOG

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the federal agency that supports the nation’s libraries and museums. The agency manages Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens.

On Friday I was thrilled to join Sam Kass at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) for the launch of EatPlayGrow™, a new early childhood educational curriculum designed to keep children healthy through creative strategies developed specifically for families with very young children. (And equally thrilled to see the IMLS-funded exhibition EatSleepPlay™ at CMOM!)

The curriculum helps children develop lifelong healthy habits. National Institutes of Health nutritionists provided guidance, and the entire curriculum was reviewed by federal scientific experts to ensure that the information is accurate and consistent with national dietary and physical activity guidelines.

At the event, Let’s Move! Executive Director Sam Kass said, “Recent studies, like the CDC’s report that obesity rates are dropping among low-income preschool children in 19 states, show that the tide is turning with regard to childhood obesity. These findings are encouraging, but we know that we need to keep working to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity. EatPlayGrow™ is an example of what the First Lady has called on all of us to do: use collaboration, creativity, and hard work to give all our children the skills they need to grow up healthy and able to pursue their dreams.”

In addition to the curriculum, CMOM and NIH staff will provide professional development training for childcare providers, health practitioners, teachers, and parents. A wonderful aspect of the curriculum is that it includes lots of literacy learning so it is easy to implement during the pre-school day and contains lessons for use at home. What a great way to connect home, school and the museum!

These training sessions will also be made available as a webinar. EatPlayGrow™ will be disseminated nationwide through community anchors such as libraries, museums, and community centers.

CMOM tested the EatPlayGrow™ curriculum in museums, community centers, and Head Start sites in New York City and New Orleans and found that

  • curbing childhood obesity should be started as early as possible, most notably within the family;
  • using the arts and other creative efforts combined with evidence-based information can affect behavior change; and that
  • this message should reach families through multiple touch points within their community.The curriculum can be downloaded free of charge at www.nih.gov/wecan and www.cmom.org and is also available through the Association of Children’s Museums, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, First Book, and the Family Place Libraries.CMOM has applied the expertise of museums in reaching diverse audiences and using the arts as a transformative power. The museum is focused on an issue of deep concern to families, to communities, and to our nation. By sharing this curriculum nationwide many more museums, libraries, childcare centers, and families will make this magic happen in their communities.

Posted by Susan Hildreth, Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services on November 12, 2013

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11/11/2013

For Universal Pre-K

The Opinion Pages | November 12, 2013

LETTER | Re “Oklahoma! Where the Kids Learn Early” (column, Nov. 10):

Nicholas D. Kristof describes compelling evidence of how early experience with language contributes to long-term academic and economic achievement. We applaud his call for universal pre-K programs to help all children capitalize on their potential.

Research conducted through a partnership between New York University and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has found that the preschool years are critical not only for developing basic skills for school readiness but also for the development of children’s interests and beliefs about their own capabilities.

Here, too, the language that children hear is critical: Pre-school-age children are sensitive to subtle features of language that communicate to them either that success is possible through hard work and continuous effort or that success is possible only for those who possess inherent abilities or are members of privileged gender or racial groups.

Early-intervention efforts need to focus not only on skill acquisition but also on helping children develop positive beliefs about their own potential to succeed.

ANDREW S. ACKERMAN
MARJORIE RHODES

The writers are, respectively, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and an assistant professor of psychology at New York University.

A version of this letter appears in print on November 12, 2013, on page A26 of the New York edition with the headline: For Universal Pre-K.
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11/08/2013

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan and National Institutes of Health Collaborate on a New Early Childhood Health Curriculum and Announce a National Dissemination Network

Five Research Studies Demonstrate How the Innovative Public-Private Partnership Creates Healthier Family Habits

New York, NY and Washington, DC (November 8, 2013)—The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) today announced the release of EatPlayGrow™ (EPG), a new educational curriculum, designed to keep children healthy through creative strategies developed specifically for families with very young children. Public and private agencies have joined forces to create a new national dissemination network, including federal agencies and local community anchors such as museums, libraries, community centers and Head Start and supported by dissemination through First Book and a new website.

EPG is based on a growing body of research that points to early childhood as being vitally important for developing lifelong habits. To reach this target audience, CMOM adapted the NIH’s We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)®curriculum developed for parents of youth ages 8-13, for families with younger children (ages 2-5). NIH nutritionists provided guidance during the process, and the entire curriculum was review by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) scientific experts to ensure that the information is scientifically accurate and consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

CMOM also tested EPG in museums, community centers and preschools in New York City and New Orleans. The five evaluation reports that were produced confirm significant behavioral changes, with notable attitudinal changes by participating children and adults.
As a result of the four year project, the following core recommendations will be released:

1. Efforts to curb childhood obesity must begin as early as possible, most notably within the family.

2. Creative efforts, often using the arts, must be combined with evidence-based information to effect behavior change.

3. Families must be reached through multiple touch points within their community.

EatPlayGrow™ is unique because it utilizes a community-wide approach, focuses on young children and uses new research that includes sleep as well as nutrition and physical activity to help families build a healthy foundation. The curriculum is the product of an innovative public-private partnership that combines the scientific and medical expertise of the NIH and the creative educational approaches pioneered by CMOM for families, particularly in low-income communities.

Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let’s Move! and the White House Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy, said “Recent studies, like the CDC’s report that obesity rates are dropping among low-income preschool children in 19 states, show that the tide is turning with regard to childhood obesity. These findings are encouraging, but we know that we need to keep working to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity. EatPlayGrow™ is an example of what the First Lady has called on all of us to do – use collaboration, creativity and hard work to give all our children the skills they need to grow up healthy and able to pursue their dreams.”

According to NIH Director, Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., “Early childhood is the critical time to instill good habits for a lifetime and to avoid costly and less effective interventions at older ages. Young children develop habits that stay with them and are difficult to change in later years. In addition, there is a special window of opportunity to engage parents when their children are very young and they are intensely focused on growth and development.”

Susan Hildreth, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), said “CMOM’s work with the NIH and an impressive array of community partners points the way toward a more sophisticated model of community engagement that maximizes evidence-based medical research and innovative use of community resources. This is a model that bears close study for replication. We are delighted that IMLS was an early supporter of this work.”

“Providing access for all children to quality health and education requires innovation,” said Laurie M. Tisch, President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, which provided early support. “The project led by CMOM combines the inspiring use of the arts to engage families with evidence-based health information to address the challenging issue of childhood obesity. From the viewpoint of a foundation, EatPlayGrow™ is the type of entrepreneurial approach needed to solve complex problems.”

“We are delighted to announce national partnerships that bring together diverse ways to reach families and children,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “We have integrated community anchors such as museums, libraries, community centers and Head Start sites with cross cutting distribution networks such as First Book, the We Can! and Let’s Move! networks and a streamlined professional development program (including a web-based resource) to create mutually reinforcing messages for American families. The Museum’s long term commitment to children’s health and well being is due to the leadership of Board Chair halley k harrisburg and the collective vision and steadfast support of CMOM’s Board of Directors.”

EatPlayGrow™ can be downloaded free of charge at www.cmom.org and is also available through the Association of Children’s Museums, the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Family Place Libraries. This broad access will facilitate the curriculum’s use by diverse groups dealing directly with young children, educators, families, children’s museums, schools and libraries.

In addition, CMOM, along with NIH staff, will host and conduct day-long training sessions for professionals from around the country on best practices in using the EatPlayGrow™ curriculum. These trainings will take place in the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 in CMOM’s EatSleepPlay™ exhibition, which recently underwent a rigorous evaluation by the Hunter College Graduate School in Public Health. To maximize its reach, CMOM will make this training model available as a webinar.
Program evaluations in New York City and New Orleans yielded significant results, including:

  • Increased knowledge and understanding of portion size;
  • Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables;
  • Increased consumption of low fat milk over whole milk;
  • Increased awareness of ways to include physical activity (dancing, stretching and walking) into daily routines;
  • Increased understanding that serving larger portions of food do not make a better parent and will not produce healthier children;
  • Increased awareness that frozen vegetables can be as healthy as fresh; and
  • Increased knowledge of the importance of good sleep habits to healthy development.

According to Michael Cohen of the Michael Cohen Research Group, who conducted evaluation studies at test sites in the South Bronx and New Orleans, “These findings suggest that the core concepts of CMOM’s curriculum were learned effectively in multiple sights and settings. Clearly, the program is already helping to move the needle in small but significant ways.”

The EatPlayGrow™ curriculum is part of CMOM’s EatSleepPlay™ multiyear national early childhood obesity prevention initiative. Created in collaboration with the NIH, EatSleepPlay was funded by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Institute for Museum and Library Services, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Walmart Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, the Joan Ganz Cooney Fund at the New York Community Trust, and the United Way of New York City.

About the National Institutes of Health
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is the vibrant home to 350,000 visitors a year from all segments of the NYC community and tourists from around the world. The museum’s educational mission in early childhood education, creativity, health and culture thrives within our home on 83rd Street and in dozens of communities across the city as well as through national initiatives with leading authorities and government agencies. Child development is at the core of CMOM’s values and mission and our vision is to be the bridge that connects children and adults in the community, school and home in order to prepare our children for the global world in which they live. For details regarding all of CMOM’s programs and initiatives, please visit www.cmom.org

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.

About We Can!
We Can!
(Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)® is a science-based national education program developed by the NIH, designed to help children stay at a healthy weight through improving food choices, increasing physical activity, and reducing screen time. The program’s messages are derived from interventions shown to be effective in NIH-funded studies on obesity in children and adolescents, including clinical trials and community intervention studies. We Can! focuses on reaching parents and families as a primary group for influencing young people. Four NIH Institutes support the program: the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; and the National Cancer Institute.

 

 

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10/28/2013

The Grinch's Holiday Workshop

NYMetroParents To enter into The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop is to be transported into the pages of Dr. Seuss’ beloved holiday tale, in which a grumpy Grinch, determined to ruin Christmas for the town of Who-ville, learns that generosity and the holiday spirit are not tied to gifts. With gallery walls draped in scenes from the book, including Cindy-Lou at the Who-ville holiday feast where the transformed Grinch carves the “roast beast,” the interactive exhibit is a great and fun way to promote creativity, a love of reading and draw upon the lessons learned by the Grinch. New to The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop this year is a special indoor “ice” skating rink where kids can take off their shoes and “skate” in their socks. The synthetic ice rink is safe, fun and provides thrills without any chills. The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop features daily and weekly programming: Look for clues in The Workshop to answer scavenger hunt questions; follow the Grinch’s green handprints throughout the Museum to learn about the importance of community and helping; dive into fun, creative play by creating Dr. Seuss “rhyming hats,” two-sided Grinch masks and Max “the Rein-Dog” tree ornaments, and also create wacky Seussian words with Who-ville Mad-Libs. Children can also steer Max, the Grinch’s unwitting “Rein-Dog,” on an oversized, interactive sleigh all the way to Who-ville, as well as gather around the Grinch’s whimsical, massive reading chair for storytelling with CMOM staff and special guests who will read How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and other classic Seuss books.

Hoping to motivate children and families to learn about themselves and the various cultures of the world, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) houses a variety of interactive exhibitions and programs. Over 80 workshops, classes, and performances are offered FREE with admission to the museum each week. The museum boasts four priority areas: its early childhood education program, which prepares children for kindergarten; creativity in the arts and sciences to encourage creative and analytical thinking; healthy lifestyles programs that address the physical and emotional feelings within a family; and the exploration of world cultures, which provides children with an awareness of our diverse society. Additional programs and exhibits include the celebrated PlayWorks? floor for preschoolers; Gods, Myth and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece, which is designed to introduce art, science, and literature to children; and the Healthy Living programming, created with healthcare providers to encourage good nutrition and daily exercise. Current limited-time programs include Amusement Park Science and American Dreamland: Artwork by Philomena Maran.The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm. $10, $7 seniors; FREE children under 1. On the first Friday of every month, 5-8pm, admission is FREE, thanks to Target.

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10/25/2013

“The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop” Features an Indoor “Ice” Skating Rink

Event Setter  New Interactive Exhibit Immerses Children in the World of Dr. Seuss’ Classic Holiday Tale

Cindy-Lou Who, the lovable dog Max, the “Mean One” himself, The Grinch, and the rest of the residents of Who-ville will come to life at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) in the new interactive experience The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop which opens October 25 and runs through December 31. CMOM is located at 212 West 83rd Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue), New York, NY.

Based on Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, visitors will be transported into the story of how a grumpy Grinch, determined to ruin Christmas for the town of Who-ville, learns that generosity and the holiday spirit are not tied to gifts. With gallery walls draped in scenes from the book, including Cindy-Lou at the Who-ville holiday feast where the transformed Grinch carves the “roast beast,” the interactive exhibit is a great and fun way to promote creativity, a love of reading and draw upon the lessons learned by the Grinch.

New to The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop this year is a special indoor “ice” skating rink where kids can take off their shoes and “skate” in their socks. The synthetic ice rink is safe, fun and provides thrills without any chills.

The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop features daily and weekly programming. For more information and details regarding all of CMOM’s programs and initiatives, please visit www.cmom.org.

WHAT: The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop
WHEN: October 25 through December 31
WHERE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Tisch Building
212 W 83rd Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave)
New York, NY 10024
ADMISSION: Children and Adults: $11, Seniors: $7, Members and Children under 12 months: Free

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10/18/2013

Children’s Museum of Manhattan to Host THE GRINCH’S HOLIDAY WORKSHOP, 10/25 – 12/31

Cindy-Lou Who, the lovable dog Max, the “Mean One” himself, The Grinch, and the rest of the residents of Who-ville will come to life at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) in the new interactive experience The Grinch’s Holiday Workshopwhich opens October 25 and runs through December 31. CMOM is located at 212 West 83rd Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue), New York, NY.

Based on Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, and in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and supported by Accenture, visitors will be transported into the story of how a grumpy Grinch, determined to ruin Christmas for the town of Who-ville, learns that generosity and the holiday spirit are not tied to gifts. With gallery walls draped in scenes from the book, including Cindy-Lou at the Who-ville holiday feast where the transformed Grinch carves the “roast beast,” the interactive exhibit is a great and fun way to promote creativity, a love of reading and draw upon the lessons learned by the Grinch.

New to The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop this year is a special indoor “ice” skating rink where kids can take off their shoes and “skate” in their socks. The synthetic ice rink is safe, fun and provides thrills without any chills.
The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop features daily and weekly programming: Look for clues in The Workshop to answer scavenger hunt questions; follow the Grinch’s green handprints throughout the Museum to learn about the importance of community and helping; dive into fun, creative play by creating Dr. Seuss “rhyming hats,” two-sided Grinch masks and Max “the Rein-Dog” tree ornaments, and also create wacky Seussian words with Who-ville Mad-Libs.
Children can also steer Max, the Grinch’s unwitting “Rein-Dog,” on an oversized, interactive sleigh all the way to Who-ville, as well as gather around the Grinch’s whimsical, massive reading chair for storytelling with CMOM staff and special guests who will read How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and other classic Seuss books.

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a classic holiday story and a must-read for children of all ages,” said CMOM’s Executive Director Andrew Ackerman. “Dr. Seuss books have encouraged generations of kids to love reading, and will continue to do so for countless years to come. The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop brings to life, in a fun and dynamic way, the story and characters of Who-ville while also teaching the book’s lessons regarding the importance of human kindness and compassion.”

Monthly programming for The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop includes, among other things:

  • Opening Day – Friday, October 25: Create Dr. Seuss-inspired Rhyming Mobiles, design a Who-ville recycled toy; interactive Dr. Seuss story times and special appearances by the Grinch Costume Character.
  • Ongoing Workshops in October and November: Create Dr. Seuss-inspired Rhyming Mobiles; design a Who-ville recycled toy; string aWho-ville poem, necklace or belt; build a Who-ville Story Tree Sculpture.
  • Halloween Festival: The Grinch Spooktacular – Saturday October 26 – 31: Workshops: Grinch-inspired Halloween Costume Making Workshop and Who-ville Rhyming Hats; interactive Dr. Seuss Story Times and special appearances by the Grinch Costume Character.
  • October 27: Who-ville Halloween Magic Show with Justin the Magician.
  • December 20 – 24: Workshops: White Christmas Who-ville Snow Globe; Max the Rein-Dog Friendship Ornaments; interactive Readings ofHow the Grinch Stole Christmas; special appearances by the Grinch Costume Character.
  • December 31: Grinch’s New Year Celebration: Grinch’s New Year Wishing Wands and Who’s Wishes Mural Installation.

by BWW NEWS DESK

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06/10/2013

PRESS RELEASE: White House Selects Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s Leslie Bushara as a “Champion Of Change”

Program Honors Individuals Working at Grass Roots Level to Affect Change Through Education and Innovation

NEW YORK, NY, June 10, 2013
The White House announced today that Leslie Bushara of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has been selected as a “Champion of Change,” a challenge from President Barack Obama encouraging everyday Americans to “out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.” As a “Champion of Change,” Ms. Bushara, CMOM’s Deputy Director of Education and Guest Services, is acknowledged for her work advancing education and health for children and families. She will be honored, along with 11 others, at a White House ceremony tomorrow, June 11. The event will be streamed live, beginning at 4:00pm ET at www.whitehouse.gov/live.
Ms. Bushara develops and supervises family programming and professional development both at the Museum and in 40 low-income communities across New York City. The programs have a proven record of enhancing the lives of the city’s most vulnerable families. Over the course of 18 years at CMOM, Ms. Bushara has built strategic partnerships with such varied organizations as the United Way, Head Start, the National Institutes of Health and the New York City Housing Authority. These relationships allow CMOM to leverage its resources in health, education and the arts to enable all children to reach their potential.
“Since opening its doors in 1973, CMOM has been guided by the belief that all children deserve the strongest possible foundation from which to begin their formal education,” said halley k harrisburg, Chair of CMOM’s Board of Directors. “Leslie Bushara embodies this belief and for the past 18 years has carried that torch and nurtured CMOM’s growth and its impact on the communities we serve. The well-being and success of every family is at the heart of what motivates Leslie, our current Board and staff as well as previous generations of CMOM leaders. We are grateful for Leslie’s work – she is truly a `Champion of Change.’”
Ms. Bushara was nominated by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and will attend an event at the White House on June 11 to brief the President on CMOM’s work and its impact on communities. CMOM addresses the most urgent issues facing children and families through a multi-pronged approach: Developing trust through its long-term presence in low-income communities; providing access for all children to high-quality exhibitions, programming and events; and holding professional development training for those who work on the frontline with at-risk children. CMOM’s arts-based approach to learning focuses on birth through age 10, instilling good habits that promote literacy, math, science and health skills, all while engaging not only children but families and educators. CMOM creates successful and sustainable teaching models that are being replicated on a local and national scale.
 “To create real, sustained change requires long-term commitment.  Our collaborative work with low-income communities from throughout the city is a reflection of the passion and vision of CMOM’s Board of Directors and its close relationship with our wonderful staff,” said Ms. Bushara. “This collaborative partnership and shared vision between commnity, our Board and staff is integral to our success. It allows us to be more than a museum, to be unconventional in our role as we work to create change in the communities that need it most.”
About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds.  For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.
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05/02/2013

PRESS RELEASE: Catch the Spirit of New York this Summer at CMOM

Experience NYC’s Frenetic Energy Through the Work of Artist Red Grooms, Ride High with the NYPD’s “10-Foot Cops,” and Cool Off in City Splash, CMOM’s Innovative Urban Environmental Center!

New York, NY, This summer, make CMOM your family’s first stop in the Big Apple. At CMOM, you’ll see New York City in a variety of ways: Through the eyes of the NYPD and their “10-Foot Cops” mounted unit; the artist Red Grooms’ three-dimensional depiction of such landmarks as Rockefeller Center; and in a city courtyard water play area, surrounded by NYC’s famously tall buildings and water towers. Take home a souvenir that you create in one of the many free workshops held daily throughout the museum. You’ll feel the pulse and energy of the greatest city in the world—all at CMOM this summer.

“Summer is a great time to be a kid and especially in the city, which radiates energy and excitement,” said CMOM’s Executive Director Andrew Ackerman.  “This summer at CMOM, our exhibitions, programs, workshops and events buzz with that same type of energy, with inspiration and a creative spark around every corner. Whether looking at the 3-dimensional, detailed cityscape by Red Grooms, learning how small organisms clean New York waterways or discovering how the city’s water tunnels work, you won’t look at the world the same way after a visit to CMOM!”

Whether you’re a first time visitor or a born-and-bred resident, New York City is a delight to the senses. This summer, CMOM is proud to host an exhibition of eight works by artist Red Grooms, whose painting, sculpture and film provide children and families with an accessible entrée into the world of art and the creative process. His Rockefeller Center (1995), showing here for the first time in New York City, is a three-dimensional mixed media piece. It undulates with the energy of the city, with minute architectural detail that exemplifies Grooms’ work. Literally jumping out of the frame, Rockefeller Center captures the kinetic energy of the midtown Manhattan landmark.

Ever wonder what it’s like to ride through a crowded Times Square on horseback and see the world from 10-feet up? CMOM’s “10-Foot Cops: The NYPD’s Mounted Unit” exhibit provides visitors with a look at the city from the vantage point of New York City’s most popular ambassadors. Learn how horses are trained to navigate streets crowded with shoppers and parades and the special bond that exists between a mounted officer and his four-legged partner. Daily programs allow visitors to make their own police badges, hats and uniform patches. Special programs include a visit from a member of the NYPD charged with the training and oversight of another service animal within the NYPD—dogs trained to sniff out bad guys!

NYC-Themed Makers Workshops
New York is a city of iconic buildings, images and even experiences! This summer, CMOM offers daily, hands-on activities centered on some classic New York City landmarks!

  • Explore Red Grooms’ theatrical use of scale and perspective in his colorful pop-art construction, Rockefeller Center. Create your own three-dimensional artwork of your favorite New York City landmark with model magic and recycled materials. Be a storyteller though art: Who are the people inside and outside of the building and what are they doing?
  • New York Harbor is home to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and…Oysters? Learn how these bivalve mollusks are helping to make the harbor healthier—then make your very own oyster shell art!
  • Nothing says New York more than a yellow taxi! In the Taxi Cab Kinetics workshop, you’ll design and test your own NYC yellow cab using wheels and axles of different sizes

City Splash in the Sussman Environmental Center
Cool off, play and learn all at the same time in CMOM’s City Splash. Located outdoors, among a cityscape of rooftops and water towers, CMOM educators run programs explore the power of water to change ecosystems, landscapes and land masses. Special guests such as Matt Malina from NYC H20 discuss the incredible engineering feat that makes New York City’s water tunnels possible!

Located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, CMOM has five floors of interactive, hands-on exhibits, events and programs. In walking distance to other great New York City institutions such as Central Park, the Natural Museum of History, Lincoln Center and Rockefeller Plaza, CMOM is the perfect destination for families with children ages 0 – 10.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds.  For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org

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05/01/2013

PRESS RELEASE: CMOM Announces a New Exhibition of Red Grooms

Works of New York-based Artist Evoke Sight, Sounds and Energy of City Life
New York, NY – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) announced today the opening of an exhibition of the works of New York-based artist, Red Grooms. Grooms’ prolific career and work as a painter, sculptor, printmaker, filmmaker and theater designer provides children and families with a view into the artistic process—from inspiration, conception and vision to the act of creating. The exhibition opens June 28, 2013.

Red Grooms’ New York City reflects the City’s frenetic energy, exuberance and playfulness through the artist’s visually stimulating, layered approach. Thought-provoking and whimsical for adults and children alike, the exhibition highlights CMOM’s commitment to provide families with access to fine works of art early in life and exposure to the art-making process.

Among the eight works on view in the Red Grooms’ New York City exhibition is Rockefeller Center (1995), a three-dimensional, mixed media piece. Colorful, with pop art constructions, it is an example of Grooms’ sculptural tableaux style, which he calls “sculpto-pictoramas.” On loan from a private collection, Rockefeller Center captures the architectural and kinetic energy of the midtown Manhattan landmark.

Approximately 5’ x 5’ x 2’ and consisting of mixed media elements including an illuminated sky, Rockefeller Center, with all its minute attention to detail, comes to life and invites the viewer to enter the piece itself. Collateral material will help tell the story behind the construction of the midtown landmark, its most famous structures and outdoor spaces, and how John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s vision was ultimately realized.

“I am a storyteller…” said Red Grooms, and with Jack Hammer Blues (2004), the subject of his story is the everyday, working class experience in New York City. In this spirit, the viewer can almost hear the rhythm of man and machine and feel the heat rising from the pavement on a summer afternoon.

Portrait of Francis Bacon (1990) takes the viewer inside the figurative painter’s studio and serves as a literal representation of Grooms’ own studio and process. “I was able to dump my studio debris into that piece,” he said. Indeed, he includes his own paint tubes and his actual brushes in the work. Portrait of Francis Bacon represents CMOM’s goal—to show the process, to see behind the art, to engage and inspire creativity in all its visitors, children and adults.

“One of the great purposes of art is to inspire, so it makes perfect sense for me to display at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan,” said Red Grooms. “This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with a young, fresh and receptive audience”

“Red Grooms’ New York City exemplifies how CMOM introduces children to the artistic process and how to look at art,” said CMOM’s Executive Director Andrew Ackerman. “By seeing the Rockefeller Center piece alongside Grooms’ preparatory drawings, as well as archtectural renderings, we provide children and families with a behind-the-scenes look at the artist’s planning and conceptualization of his work. The specially selected pieces for this exhibit help children understand the many different ways of seeing their world and environment.”

Additional works in CMOM’s Red Grooms’ New York City include:
Study for Wedding Bells on Fifth Avenue (1999) 
Latex on board 
40 x 60 in., 
Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery
Wollman Rink (2003) 
Mixed media
 18 x 43 x 14 1/2 in., 
Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery
Sailor Kelly (1989)
 Painted bronze, 
11 x 27 1/2 x 12 3/4 in., 
On loan from the Louis-Dreyfus Family Collection
Madison Avenue Discount Store (1971) 
Lithograph
, 19 7/8 x 41 3/4 in., 
On loan from a private collection
Rockefeller Center (1995) 
Lithograph, 
36 1/4 x 23 1/2 in., 
On loan from the artist

Red Grooms’ New York City opens on Friday, June 28 and continues CMOM’s focus on exhibitions of prominent artists. Past shows include The Art of Andy Warhol, Art Inside Out (which featured works by Elizabeth Murray, Fred Wilson and William Wegman) and Sunday Morning Breakfast: Inside the Art of Romare Bearden.

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04/20/2010

Children’s Museum of Manhattan Gala

On April 20th, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) held a gala to honor Executive Director Andrew S. Ackerman for his 20 years of leadership and service. Guests were warmly welcomed by Mr. Ackerman, along with CMOM Board Chair halley k harrisburg and Honorary Board Chair Laurie Tisch. Notable attendees included Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Giants’ defensive end Justin Tuck, New York Liberty legend Kym Hampton, Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Chairman of the NYC Housing Authority John Rhea, and NYC Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Kate Levin. (Shown right: halley k harrisburg, Andrew Ackerman, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Laurie Tisch)

The gala began with a festive cocktail reception featuring a Tombola Wall, a European-style raffle of luxury items donated by New York City arts and cultural organizations, sports teams, and entertainment concerns. The imaginative decor was created by 360 Design and DwellStudio. The dinner program included remarks from Andrew Ackerman, Halley Harrisburg, Laurie Tisch, Kate Levin, John Rhea, and Justin Tuck. The delicious healthy food was provided courtesy of Hudson Yards Catering .

Since the early 1980’s, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has been serving New York City families in the areas of early childhood education; creativity in the arts and sciences; healthy lifestyle programs; and exploration of world cultures. The Museum, located in The Tisch Building at 212 West 83rd Street, Manhattan, reaches more than 350,000 children and their families and school groups each year. CMOM accomplishes its mission through a combination of offerings including museum exhibitions, classes, workshops, performances, and festivals. Its outreach programs at nearly 50 sites throughout New York City, bring services to families who might not otherwise benefit.

 

Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, NY, NY | 04.20.2010 | by Merry Esparza

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01/08/2013

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan Opens 10-Foot Cops

Partnering with Hurricane-Damaged NYC Police Museum, CMOM Hosts a Historical Look at New York City’s Mounted Police  

New York, NY, The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) announced the opening of 10-Foot Cops: The NYPD’s Mounted Unit, a glimpse into the history and daily lives of officers from New York City’s Mounted Police Force.  Opening January 26 and running through May 27, the exhibit is on loan from the New York City Police Museum, which is temporarily closed due to damage sustained from Hurricane Sandy. NYCPM will reopen in the Spring of 2013.

“Just as the people of New York City come together in times of crisis, so do our city’s great public institutions. When we heard of the extensive damage incurred by the NYC Police Museum from Hurricane Sandy, we immediately reached out to see how we could help,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “Their mounted police installation is perfect for our audience. The artifacts and archival video footage combined with programming run by our educators and guest speakers will provide children and families with a greater appreciation and understanding of these law-enforcing equestrians.”

Since its origins in the 19th century, the NYPD’s Mounted Police has been regarded as one of New York City’s most elite units. Unique, highly visible, and known by their colorful nickname, 10-Foot Cops, these officers are involved in all aspects of policing the city.

10-Foot Cops uses more than 40 original artifacts to explore the lives the men, women, and horses at the heart of this mounted unit. Children can have their picture taken sitting in a saddle and see uniforms, paintings, historic photographs and illustrations. The exhibit also includes a replica of a NYPD horse stable and shorts from the 1940 NYPD film “Training Police Horses” and a clip from the Department’s “Inside the NYPD” from 2007. Visitors will come away with an appreciation of the training and dedication required of both police officer and horse alike from the story of the mounted unit’s rich history and their continuing day-to-day policing operations in parks, on city streets and at parades and public demonstrations.

“In addition to doing their important police work, members of NYPD’s Mounted Unit are tremendous ambassadors for our city. Whether giving directions or posing for photographs, they are a very visible presence, loved by tourists and New Yorkers alike,” said Julie Bose, Executive Director of NYCPM. “This collaboration allows the Mounted Unit’s story to reach children and families, while our Museum continues the cleanup work necessary to reopen. It also embodies the spirit of New Yorkers, bonding together for the greater good.”

The collaboration with NYCPM is part of CMOM’s long-term recovery plan for families and organizations affected by Hurricane Sandy. Details of the plan will be announced once an assessment of needs and capacity issues are finalized.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

About the New York City Police Museum

Housed in the historic building that contained the 1st Precinct of the NYPD, The Museum gives visitors an insider’s look at the history and culture of the largest police force in the country. Museum highlights include vintage uniforms, motorcycles and tools of the trade. Step into a jail cell and take a “mug shot” in a lineup! In the Junior Officer’s Discovery Zone, children ages 3-10 years old can practice CSI skills, take a Police Academy physical challenge, listen to radio calls and learn police codes. Also on view is the Hall of Heroes Memorial; dedicated to all officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, while the 9/11 Remembered Exhibit features exclusive on-camera interviews, striking photographs, and numerous Ground Zero artifacts, the exhibit tells the dramatic and remarkable story of New York’s Finest, through their eyes and in their own words.  For more information, please visit www.nycpm.org.

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12/17/2012

Healthy Cooking for Children

WNYC on The Leonard Lopate Show CMOM’s Leslie Bushara discusses healthy cooking with kids – during the holidays and year ’round. Listen

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12/05/2012

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

December 2012 Culture Spot

For almost 40 years, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has been a go-to location for families to learn, play and grow together. Five fun-filled floors beckon youngsters to distinct interactive experiences dedicated to early-childhood education, creativity in the arts, healthy lifestyles and the exploration of world culture. In celebration of this valuable resource, NYC & Company has named the Children’s Museum of Manhattan its Culture Spot for December. All month long, visitors can receive $1 off admission and a 10% discount at the institution’s store.

Just in time for the holidays, the museum offers The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop, inspired by Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The interactive exhibition features plenty of Seussian programming, including readings of the classic book, plus displays like the Grinch’s oversize sleigh, which kids can climb aboard. Children can also participate in arts and crafts activities, such as creating their own Who-ville character to add to the Who-ville community mural, and even shake hands with the grumpy Grinch himself during his frequent appearances.

Integrating play with serious issues, the museum’s cutting-edge show EatSleepPlay engages kids in a playful manner while teaching them about healthy lifestyles. Kids climb up a giant tongue into a head, revealing the brain’s decision-making center. Then it’s on to a crawl through an intestine to learn how the stomach works. (No visit would be complete without stopping by The Royal Flush, a talking toilet display that evaluates body waste.) Another display explains the value of a good night’s sleep, and a giant green produce cart teaches the beneficial properties of fruits and vegetables.

Other highlights include Adventures with Dora and Diego, an exhibition created in collaboration with Nickelodeon; Playworks, a magical space, complete with a jungle gym for kids under 5, a firefighting station and a sand laboratory; and Björk’s Biophili(designed in conjunction with the Icelandic singer), a workshop for older children that explores the intersection of nature, music and science.

December is chock-full of museum events, such as a music performance by Grammy-nominated saxophonist Oran Etkin on December 9. Special activities include ornament making, from December 18 to 24, where kids create mini sculptures of the Grinch’s pet, Max, which are then donated to homeless shelters. A Holidays Festival takes place the final week of the month and features a Kwanzaa Celebration on December 26, a creative cooking class on December 27 during which kids and adults learn simple family recipes with chef Jehangir Mehta, a performance by Mil’s Trills on December 28 and a Tap City Youth Ensemble show on December 30.

The savings on admission to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is valid December 1–31, 2012. To take advantage of this limited-time offer, present the discount coupon at the institution’s admission desk. Download the coupon via the link above; the coupon will also be available through December at the Official NYC Information Centers in Midtown, Harlem and the Times Square Alliance and at the Official NYC Information Kiosks in Chinatown and at City Hall. The savings is subject to availability and may not be combined with any other offer, discount or promotion. Other restrictions may apply.

by ANNIE BERGEN

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11/15/2012

PRESS RELEASE: The James Beard Foundation and Children’s Museum of Manhattan Announce New Line-Up for its Family Chef Series

Popular Healthy Cooking Demonstrations with Renowned Chefs Returns for a Second Year

New York, NY – The James Beard Foundation, America’s foremost nonprofit culinary arts organization, announced today it is extending its partnership with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) to produce high quality programming at the museum for families interested in healthy cooking. The program, which is entering its second year, features chefs partnered with the James Beard Foundation who demonstrate delicious, affordable recipes that appeal to both children and adults. Part of CMOM’sEatSleepPlay™ initiative, these demonstrations have become one of the more popular public programs at the Museum.

“Over the past year, not only has the James Beard Foundation helped us raise awareness about the seriousness of the childhood obesity problem facing our communities, they’ve done it in a very positive way,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “Children are more likely to try – and like – healthy food when it is presented to them through fun demonstrations in a relaxed environment filled with other children. I’ve seen children trying chick peas, green beans, even Brussels sprouts!”

“The pace of our lives has made it hard enough for working families to put a home cooked meal on the table. Making a dish healthy is often times perceived to be either too time consuming and price prohibitive,” said Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation. “One of the goals of our cooking demonstrations with CMOM is to debunk this misconception. The chefs present families with ideas and recipes that use fresh, affordable ingredients and are quick and easy to prepare. We also show how including children in meal planning and the cooking process can be a fun, family-bonding experience.”

The current schedule of programs in The James Beard Foundation Family Chef Series at CMOM runs through March and includes:

Saturday, November 24 Sara Jenkins is the owner and chef of Veloce, Porchetta, and Porsena. Each of her restaurants focuses on a different Italian staple.

Thursday, December 27 Jehangir Mehta is executive chef and owner of Graffiti, located in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood and Mehtaphor, situated in the Duane Street Hotel. He is the author of the cookbook Mantra: The Rules of Indulgence, and runs a cooking class for children at his restaurant.

Sunday, February 24 Waldy Malouf is the chef and co-owner of Beacon Restaurant – Bar – Bakery, and the CEO and founder of High Heat Pizza Burgers & Tap in Greenwich Village. He is also author of The Hudson River Valley Cookbook: A Leading American Chef Savors the Region’s Bounty and High Heat: Grilling and Roasting Year-Round with Master Chef Waldy Malouf.

Wednesday, March 27 Terrance Brennan is the chef/owner of the successful and acclaimed restaurants Picholine and Artisanal Fromagerie, Bistro & Wine Bar in Manhattan.

CMOM programs are made possible, in part, by a generous gift from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

About the James Beard Foundation

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, nurturing, and preserving America’s diverse culinary heritage and future. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful and delicious food. Today, the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships to culinary schools, publications, chef advocacy training, thought-leader convening, and by maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit www.jamesbeard.org. Find insights on food at the James Beard Foundation’s blog Delights & Prejudices. Join the James Beard Foundation on Facebook. Follow the James Beard Foundation on Twitter.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds.  For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

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11/06/2012

After Sandy: Mitigating Anxiety In Children

Practical Ideas From The Executive Director Of The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)

Editor’s Note: Whether your day-to-day life was destroyed by Sandy or merely inconvenienced, there may be some lingering anxiety (to say the least) among adults and children alike. Andrew Ackerman, the Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), gave us some practical advice for how parents can help their children move forward feeling less anxious and more secure.]

Beyond the physical rebuilding of our city after Hurricane Sandy, we must also care for children who need to be fortified emotionally. Traumatic experiences can stay with kids for a long time. Below are some ways to equip parents with the necessary tools to mitigate anxiety, provide a stabilizing sense of normalcy, and ensure kids know they are safe.

Communication: Conversation should be honest, but brief. Children should know the storm is over and cleanup is well underway.

Re-establish Routines: Routine is important in children’s lives because it assures them that life goes on and is to be enjoyed. Most school-age children have returned to school this week, helping the return to normalcy.

Keep Busy: Hands-on art activities, playing, reading, and writing also help ease the long-term impact of trauma. Reading out loud is fun for kids of any age and a great way to spend some time.

Give Back: Children also feel empowered when they can help. This is a good time to go through closets and find items that are in good condition that will be welcomed by others who have lost so much. Find out where you can donate clothes, food, or toys in your neighborhood.

Give Thanks: Talk to your children about their own good fortune and reflect on the positive in their lives. 

Bedtime: Bedtime can be a particular time of anxiety for children following trauma. Reading, cuddling, and making sure children know they are loved will hopefully ensure a good night’s sleep and a strong sense of security.

Self expression/Reflection: Create opportunities for children to dream about better times and about ways to improve their city and the lives of others. Activities like writing, drawing, and block building to help kids express their thoughts and concerns.

BY ANDREW ACKERMAN

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10/08/2012

PRESS RELEASE: UMIGO (you make it go) Sets the Bar as the First Transmedia Property of its Kind to Help Kids Build Math Skills

Parliament Funkadelic Legend Bootsy Collins Joins UMIGO Outreach Partners to Announce Free UMIGO Programs for Kids in 10 Markets Across the U.S.

UMIGO is funded by a Ready to Learn Initiative from the U.S. Department of Education.

LOS ANGELES, CA  — DHX Media’s W!LDBRAIN Entertainment, together with outreach partners Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), WTTW Chicago Public Media and research firm Michael Cohen Group, have introduced UMIGO, the first of its kind transmedia math property, to 10 markets across the U.S. through children’s museums and public television stations. They were joined on October 4 by Parliament funkadelic legend Bootsy Collins and the UMIGO characters at the UMIGO outreach kick-off event held at CMOM. At the event, New York public school children and home schooled children participated in transmedia UMIGO workshops led by DHX Media’s W!LDBRAIN Entertainment, producers of UMIGO, and CMOM. Collins lends his voice to original UMIGO music and appears as an animated character in the music video “Rocket Box.” Together, CMOM and WTTW will continue to expand the program into additional markets over the next three years.

UMIGO is the first-of-its-kind transmedia property that is designed to engage today’s generation of children between the ages of six and eight, in the exploration of mathematical concepts. UMIGO inspires kids to invent, build and create through collaborative, interactive play. To date, the property consists of animated music videos, original music and outreach materials such as a “Stack Attack” game that teaches math principles. These materials are currently available through outreach programs. DHX Media’s W!LDBRAIN Entertainment will be releasing a series of apps, games and an online interactive community featuring characters Bit, the magical box who has the tools needed to build; Dizzy, the blue bundle of energy who provides inspiration; Bean, who helps learners create whatever they can dream and the UMIs, who help learners understand weight, measurement and volume.

“UMIGO has dual goals- to educate while it entertains. We know through extensive research that our tested curriculum-based UMIGO content is meeting both of these goals by engaging children in fun and interactive ways where they live, learn and play,” said Michael Polis, creator of UMIGO. Polis, who shared with the group at the outreach event that the seed of the idea for UMIGO came from his three children, is also executive producer of the hit television series Yo Gabba Gabba! and serves as President of W!LDBRAIN Entertainment and Executive Vice President of Branded Entertainment and Consumer Products, DHX Media.

This past summer, CMOM actively engaged in a UMIGO outreach pilot program with over 2000 families who interacted with UMIGO transmedia materials. Findings confirmed a strong level of engagement for families with children of multiple ages.

UMIGO outreach programs seek to foster greater student academic achievement for elementary school-aged children by working with organizations that target low-income children to promote school readiness. The UMIGO outreach program will begin immediately in 10 markets across the U.S., including New York City (Children’s Museum of Manhattan); Bangor, ME (Maine Discovery Museum); Bozeman, MT (Bozeman Children’s Museum); Oak Ridge, TN (Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge); New Orleans, LA (Louisiana Children’s Museum); San Jose, CA (Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose); Chicago, Illinois (WTTW); Tacoma, WA (KBTC Public Television); Johnston, IA (Iowa Public Television); Carbondale, IL (WSIU).

The UMIGO outreach programs are free of charge.

UMIGO was created by Michael Polis and is developed by W!LDBRAIN Entertainment, a DHX Media Ltd. Company, in partnership with WTTW Chicago and the Michael Cohen Group, LLC. UMIGO is funded by the Ready to Learn initiative awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. Visit: www.UMIGO.com.

Follow: Facebook: facebook.com/umigoTwitter: @umigo

MEDIA CONTACT: Kelly Kimball k2@kkimballpr.com/310.701.7773

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10/01/2012

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan Announces Partnership with the American-Israel Cultural Foundation

NEW YORK, NY  – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) announced today a partnership with the America-Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF), Israel’s longstanding arts organization devoted to the development and funding of many of that country’s largest cultural institutions.  As part of the partnership, CMOM will host three Fall performances, including theatrical storytelling, puppetry, film, and jazz.

“The world of our children and grandchildren is best described as global.  Given the diversity of this global community, it is imperative that the next generation work and live cooperatively with mutual understanding and respect for all people,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM.  “This partnership is a natural extension of CMOM’s work to engage children with experiences that prepare them for life in a global society.  In the past year alone, we’ve hosted performances celebrating a range of cultures, such as whirling dervishes, a gospel choir and a lion and dragon dance team.”

For 73 years, AICF has nurtured, supported and guided generations of Israeli artists and cultural institutions. AICF impacts the creative arts in Israel through scholarships and grants to help young children in their artistic studies, and helps nurture the entire State of Israel. AICF also acts as a goodwill ambassador around the world by working with amazing alumni including Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, MenascheKadishman, Eytan Fox, Avishai and Anat Cohen, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Tel Aviv Museum, and the Batsheva Dance Company, and many others.

“As part of our mission, AICF promotes the work of Israeli artists, performers and musicians to strengthen our country’s ties with America and its built-in global community,” said David Homan, Executive Director of AICF.  “As CMOM brings world-class Arts performances and workshops to children and families from around the block and around the world, this is a natural fit for us.”

Below is a list of upcoming performances at CMOM this Fall.

Sunday, October 7:  Performance with Play Me a Story (Maya Blank & Uri Sharlin)
Maya Blank & Uri Sharlin
are a musical storytelling duo, who perform as Play Me a Story. Ms. Blank is the head teacher and designer of a program for children with autism at the Steven Wise Free Synagogue. She has also appeared in the TV series, Flight of the Conchords, as well as in various theater and dance productions. UriSharlin is an Israeli-born classical and jazz pianist, accordionist and composer. Ms. Blank and Mr. Sharlin will invite families to celebrate the arts and nature with the classic children’s tale, The Hatseller and the Monkeys. Children can engage in an experiential exploration of the story, using handmade costumes, props and original rhythmic music.

Sunday, November 18:  Workshop: Make a Live Action Puppet Film with LeatKlingman!
Leat Klingman, a puppeteer and filmmaker, focuses on creating and telling the stories of magical, fanciful puppets. In this workshop, Ms. Klingman will work with children to make puppets, and then create a live action film starring the very same puppets.  These films will be available online the following week. Her work has appeared in Volume 4 of Handmade Puppet Dreams (Heather Henson’s company), as well as Dixon Place, NYC Best Short Filmmakers at 3rd Ward in Brooklyn; Video for the Public at Kulturhuset in Stockholm, Sweden; and the International Festival for Video Dance at the Cinemateq in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Sunday, December 9:  Performance: Oran Etkin
Oran Etkin, a multi-instrumentalist and Grammy award-winning jazz musician, will perform and then lead an interactive session with families based on his groundbreaking children’s music program, Timbalooloo. The Timbalooloo method is quickly gaining popularity as a leading method of teaching music to young children.

For the most up-to-date calendar of events and performance times, please visit www.cmom.org/visit/calendar

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09/12/2012

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan Announces Opening of “The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop”

From a Grinchy Green Halloween to Christmas and New Year’s in Who-Ville, Families Learn Together and Discover Ways to Give Back NEW YORK, NY – Join Cindy-Lou Who, the lovable dog Max and the “Mean One” himself, The Grinch, atthe Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) for a new interactive experience, The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop, inspired byDr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! In partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and supported by Accenture and Hewlett-Packard, The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop opens October 20th and runs through January 6, 2013.

To step into The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop is to walk into the pages of Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday tale. Gallery walls, wrapped in scenes from Dr. Seuss’How The Grinch Stole Christmas! pop with Who-holiday spirit. See Cindy-Lou Who at the Who-ville holiday feast, where the transformed Grinch carves the “roast beast.” Activity areas buzz with laughter and creative energy as children take part in CMOM’s Grinch-related holiday programming. At the center of it all is old “Grinch Claus” and his oversized, interactive sleigh, tethered to his unwitting “Rein-Dog,” Max. Hop in and steer Max all the way to Who-ville!

The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop will host daily and weekly programming: Look for clues in The Workshop to answer scavenger hunt questions; follow the Grinch’s green handprints throughout the Museum to learn about the importance of community and helping others; dive into fun, creative play by creating Dr. Seuss “rhyming hats,” two-sided Grinch masks and Max “the Rein-Dog” tree ornaments; create wacky, Seussian words with Who-ville Mad Libs; and gather around the Grinch’s whimsical, oversized reading chair for storytelling with CMOM staff and special guests who will read How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and other classic books by Dr. Seuss.

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a beloved holiday classic that children and their families enjoy together year after year. The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop brings the story and characters of Who-ville to life,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “Dr. Seuss continues to be a great way for children to develop a love of reading. His work creates an environment where creativity is celebrated and, in the case of the Grinch, helps children learn to give back to those in our communities who might need a little extra attention around the holidays.”

“We are so pleased to partner with CMOM in presenting the story of the Grinch to a new generation of children,” said Susan Brandt, President of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. “The Grinch’s Workshop is fun and interactive and also teaches children the book’s lessons of generosity of spirit and goodwill toward all.”

The Grinch’s Workshop: Monthly Programming:

October
Opening Weekend – October 20 – 21

  • Dr. Seuss’s Who-ville Hats – Create a whimsical Seussian-style hat for a Who-ville character! Which Who are you?
  • Everyone is a Who in Who-ville Who are you? Create a Who-ville character and add it to a community mural of other Who-ville characters holding hands.
  • Rhyming Music Jam & Dr. Seuss Story Time – Listen to readings of   Dr. Seuss favorites, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas!  This special story time includes hands-on music jams, using maracas and drums to introduce concepts of rhythm and rhyme.

October 23 – 31: Who-ville Halloween Hats – Make a hat for Cindy-Lou Who, Max, the Grinch or any Who from Who-ville

Halloween Weekend – October 27-28

  • Halloween in Who-ville!  The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop kicks off with spooktacular programming, including Seussian costume making and creating two-sided (mischievous/happy), Day-Glow Grinch Masks
  • Who-ville Halloween Hats– Create a hat for Cindy-Lou Who, Max, or the Grinch himself!
    • November – December:Art activities based on the Grinch story for children in the pediatric oncology ward at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital.
    • November – December:Art activities based on the Grinch story for children in the pediatric oncology ward at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital.
    • November – December:Grinch holiday activities for families from Homes for the Homeless who attend weekly programs at CMOM.
    • November – December:Grinch holiday activities for families from Homes for the Homeless who attend weekly programs at CMOM.November

    • November 1 – 4:Who-ville Mad Libs– Add your own Dr. Seuss-inspired characters and wacky verbs from the pages of his books to create Who-ville Mad Libs.  Our favorites will be posted on CMOM’s Facebook page.

    • November 6 – 11: Create Dr. Seuss-inspired “Rhyming Hats”– Use your own Seussian language and create a hat decorated with your favorite words that rhyme!

    • November 13 – 18: Who’s Holiday Feast – Create 3-D clay sculptures of the Who’s Holiday Feast.

    • November 20 – 25: Cindy-Lou Who’s Friendship Pop-Up Cards –Encouraging volunteerism in young children, CMOM leads a variety of card making and gift making workshops. Families will donate their cards to children at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital.

    • November 24:Thanksgiving at a Who Holiday Feastwith The James Beard Foundation and chef Sara Jenkins (Manhattan restaurants Porsena and Porchetta).  This renowned chef engages families in cooking demonstrations – all with a Grinch twist!

    • Nov 27 – Sunday, Dec 2:  “Everyone is a Who in Who-ville” mural – Who are you? Create a Who-ville character and add it to a community mural of other Who-ville characters holding hands.

      December

    • December 4 – 9:Who-ville Flipbook – Create your own flipbook, complete with your own Seuss-inspired characters.

    • December 11 – 16:Create Seuss-inspired “Rhyming Hats”– Use your own Seussian language and create a hat decorated with your favorite words that rhyme!

    • December 18 -21; 23-24: “Max the Rein-Dog” Friendship Ornaments – Create a mini-sculpture ornament of the Grinch’s pet, Max.  These ornaments will to be delivered to homeless shelters.

    • December 22:  Who-ville Christmas tree sculpture – Use Model Magic to create a Christmas tree for the Who-ville community.

    • December 27:  Who’s Holiday Feast with the James Beard Foundation and executive chef and owner of Graffiti, Jehangir Mehta.

    • December 26 – 30: Everyone is aWho in Who-ville Mural Who are you? Create a Who-ville character and add it to the community mural of Who-ville characters holding hands.

    • December 31: Grinch Wish Wand– Create a sparkly, Grinch-inspired wish wand. Wave your wand and make a wish for the New Year!

    • January 2 – 6: Who-ville Mad Libs – Add your own Dr. Seuss-inspired characters and wacky verbs from the pages of his books to create Who-ville Mad Libs.  Our favorites will be posted on CMOM’s Facebook page.
      CMOM Community Celebration Activities:

      CMOM is proud to present Grinch programming for the following special audiences.  (Not open to the public):

      November – December:Special Grinch activities for students attending the Mickey Mantle School, which is devoted to children diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

    • November – December:Art activities based on the Grinch story for children in the pediatric oncology ward at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital.
    • November – December: Grinch holiday activities for families from Homes for the Homeless who attend weekly programs at CMOM.
      About Dr. SeussTheodor “Seuss” Geisel is quite simply the most beloved children’s book author of all time. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, an Academy Award, three Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards, and three Caldecott Honors, Geisel wrote and illustrated 44 books for children. Hundreds of millions of copies have found their way into homes and hearts around the world. While Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading. For more information about Dr. Seuss and his works, visit Seussville.com.

      The primary focus of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. is to protect the integrity of the Dr. Seuss books while expanding beyond books into ancillary areas. This effort is a strategic part of the overall mission to nurture and safeguard the relationship consumers have with Dr. Seuss characters. Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) said he never wanted to license his characters to anyone who would “round out the edges.” That is one of the guiding philosophies of Dr. Seuss Enterprises. Audrey S. Geisel, the widow of Dr. Seuss, heads Dr. Seuss Enterprises as CEO.  Learn more about Dr. Seuss at www.facebook.com/Dr.Seuss.

      About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
      Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families.  CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions.  CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages.  Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds.  For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

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08/17/2012

NYC Design Studio

Spare Times for Children for Aug. 17-23

If you want to get blank stares from children under 10, just ask them if they want to be milliners when they grow up. Or textile designers.

They won’t be puzzled by the strange words alone. The world, and especially New York, offers careers seldom seen in children’s books and television shows. And you rarely encounter them in young people’s museums.
But now you can, at least locally. “NYC Design Studio,” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, invites small visitors to conduct their own experiments while showcasing the work and creative processes of four professionals: Christiane Lemieux, a textile designer and the founder of DwellStudio; Belinda Watts, an architect with the firm Gensler; Rachel Hauck, a set designer; and Lola Ehrlich, founder of Lola Hats.

“This is our first experience with a different kind of installation,” said Andrew S. Ackerman, the museum’s executive director, one without “your typical children’s museum interactive stations.”

The only high-tech equipment is a device in which aspiring designers can place an object and view it under artificial light or a source mimicking natural light — conditions that affect the color. Sketches, swatches, photographs, cases of tools and hats, architectural models, miniature set designs and the designers’ quotations line the gallery’s perimeter.

The interior has long tables for daily workshops, which each week focus on a theme. This week it’s “Playful Patterns and Prints”; next week it’s “My Own Broadway Set.” On Sunday at 2 p.m. Ms. Hauck will help inaugurate that series.“I’m very excited to speak about what it means to create a world around a story, which is what I do,” she said. The installation includes Ms. Hauck’s models for “Slowgirl,” above, Greg Pierce’s play set in the Costa Rican jungle, which recently closed at Lincoln Center. “That design is absolutely perfect for kids because it’s so completely graphic,” she said. “Trees are represented by multicolored planks.”

Children will make their sets from card stock, recreating an image from a favorite show and fashioning components from clay, pipe cleaners, beads, craft sticks and other materials. They may be surprised to learn that their methods don’t differ much from those of Ms. Hauck, who prefers to draft by hand. As she put it, “There’s nothing like a pencil.”

(Through Sept. 30 at the Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd Street; 212-721-1223, cmom.org. Summer hours: daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. Free with museum admission: $11; $7 for 65+; free for under 1 and members.)

By LAUREL GRAEBER

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07/31/2012

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum Of Manhattan Receives $50,000 Grant From Walmart To Help Scale EatSleepPlay™ Early Childhood Health Initiative

Museum to Explore Most Effective Model for Expansion and Replication in New York City and Regionally NEW YORK, NY – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) announced today that it received a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation’s New York State Giving Program. The grant will provide support for CMOM to develop a replicable model for its EatSleepPlay™ early childhood health initiative, designed to help young children, their families and caregivers prevent the onset of behaviors that lead to obesity. The foundation of the EatSleepPlay initiative is an early childhood obesity prevention curriculum aimed at children ages 2–5, which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) asked CMOM to develop.

CMOM expanded this into a comprehensive model of community engagement that utilizes the EatSleepPlay curriculum to provide: direct service programs for parents and children in low-income communities; professional development training for adults who work with young low income children; partnership building and community resource development to create, build and sustain a community network of organizations and city agencies; EatSleepPlay™: Building Health Every Day, an interactive health exhibit at CMOM and accompanying public program series;  and exhibit component plans and visual treatments for small museums, libraries and community centers.

For the past three years, CMOM piloted and evaluated the arts-based EatSleepPlay curriculum and accompanying programs for parents and professionals in high-need communities in New York City and New Orleans, including public housing communities, Head Start centers and childcare settings.

Independent research, conducted during this three-year period shows that CMOM’sEatSleepPlay has been effective in changing behavior regarding eating habits and physical activity. It is this behavior change – seen in children, parents and Head Start staff – that caught the attention of many public and private partners. Given EatSleepPlay’s successful impact seen in New York City and the continuing health problems caused by obesity in children, the Museum has been encouraged to evaluate expansion opportunities and develop a strategy for scaling the model to meet the needs of an expanded number of families and caregivers locally.

 “In three years since its implementation, four separate research reports have documented the effectiveness of the curriculum, community outreach programs and the exhibition itself, in terms of bridging the distance between information and behavioral and attitudinal changes regarding diet, sleep and physical activity,” said Andrew Ackerman, executive director of CMOM. “The grant from Walmart allows us to explore which components of the initiative to bring to scale and formulate a plan to do so. Our aim is to bring the positive behavior change we’ve seen to a larger population, both in New York City and regionally.”

Over the next year, CMOM will continue to deliver the arts-based obesity prevention program to its audiences of school staff, teachers, childcare providers, parents and families and evaluate the EatSleepPlay model for potential scalability.

“Walmart is pleased to be supporting CMOM’s EatSleepPlay initiative which has had an extremely positive impact in terms of changing eating behavior and reducing childhood obesity within at-risk communities,” said Steven Restivo, senior director of community affairs for Walmart. “They are successfully moving the needle in an area of people’s lives that is often a challenge to change.”

With the financial support from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program, CMOM will identify which program elements can be replicated and disseminated on a broader scale, and develop a strategy to successfully adapt and respond to growing demand and need for the EatSleepPlay early childhood health initiative locally and, eventually, nationally.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.

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07/11/2012

Getting Crafty: The NYC Design Studio Exhibit at Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Target A BULLSEYE VIEW A hidden gem among New York City’s look-but-don’t-touch museums in the city is the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. And this month’s focus: the NYC Design Studio, a hands-on installation that creates an imaginative workspace for children to express their own artistic style.

Tweens and teens have the opportunity to design in four categories: architecture, interior décor, theatrical set design and fashion. But we’re still not done: one New York-based designer from each category will make an appearance—Belinda Watts of Gensler for architecture, Christiane Lemieux of DwellStudio for interior design, Rachel Hauck of Region Theater for set design, and Lola Ehrlich of Lola Hats for fashion. We’ll stop name dropping, but only if you promise to make your way to the exhibit. And hurry—it’s only open through August 31.

Excited about the exhibit, we went the extra mile and got the inside scoop from one of the experts themselves.

Lola Ehrlich, magazine editor-turned-milliner, found her passion for hat-making after reflecting on her French upbringing—a time she always wore a hat—and taking a millinery class. Today, her Brooklyn shop Lola Hats offers one-of-a-kind handmade toppers.

Below, Lola dishes on her role in the exhibit, hat-making and why kids should learn about design early on.

Why did you decide to participate in the NYC Design Studio exhibit?
Lola Ehrlich: I think it’s wonderful to get kids revved up about something they might not know or think about. My hats and the way I make them are a rarity nowadays—kids might see them in a movie or cartoons, but most think of a baseball cap when they think of a hat. I thought it was a great opportunity to show kids the wider range of hats that are available, and how they’re made. The way felt and straw hats are made today is the same way the Romans and Greeks made them

Why do you think it’s important for kids to learn about design?
LC: Children are sponges—they should learn and be exposed to as much as possible and as young as possible, in a very relaxed manner. I think about my own exposure as a child, and what I saw and learned in my formative years has had an enormous bearing on my adult life.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when becoming a milliner?
LC: The most important thing as a designer of any kind is to have an amazing sense of proportion, color and aesthetic balance. All the rest you can learn. You can learn a trade, but if you can’t judge a color, see the balance between shapes and know what looks good, you’ll never be a good designer.

Why are hats such an integral part of fashion?
LC: Hats show something of your personality that you aren’t otherwise ready to show or necessarily want to show, but is there. A hat is a halo around the face—a crown—and highlights what you are. Sometimes you need a little push to bring out everything you have to offer the world, and the hat can do that for you. If you are brassy, cocky, funny, charming—all those things come out with a hat.

On the first Friday of every month, admission to The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is free from 5-8 p.m., sponsored by Target.

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07/06/2012

A Summer Must - The Design Studio at CMOM

DwellStudio — The Studio Blog

One of my favorite museums in the city—the Children’s Museum of Manhattan—recently opened its new Design Studio!

I love supporting CMOM and their commitment to engaging little ones through arts education. I’m always interested in helping in any way I can, so when the curators at CMOM asked me to be a part of this new exhibition, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s so important to instill a passion for discovery in children from a young age.

The space is primed for creative collaboration with large worktables, engaging projects and lots of room for learning and problem solving through design. Along one of the walls is a project board outlining our design process here at DwellStudio based around our Skyline pattern. Little ones can see all the steps of our process from selecting Pantone colors, sketching patterns to producing pillows and bedding based on the print.

Plus, on August 1st at 2pm, I’ll lead a workshop as a part of CMOM’s Meet the Designer series. During my workshop we’ll talk about the process of transforming our inspirations into prints and textiles—just like we do at DwellStudio. I’m so honored and humbled to be included in this series along with other amazing design-savvy women like hat designer Lola Ehrlich, Grensler architect Belinda Watts and theater set designer Rachel Hauck. I love working with kids and helping them to discover new ways of viewing the world around them (and learning from them!). If you’re in the city this summer drop by the Design Studio with your little ones. Who knows, this exhibit may just inspire the next wave of innovative designers.

The NYC Design Studio at CMOM will be open until August 31. Hope to see you there!

 By CHRISTIANE LEMIEUX

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06/05/2012

PRESS RELEASE: Summer Sizzles at The Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Build Skyscrapers in the NYC Design Studio, Play With Björk’s “Biophilia” iPad App and Explore Math Concepts Through New Video, Music and Game Products

NEW YORK, NY – This summer, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) taps into the creative spark that exists in all children – the sweet spot where imagination and adventure meet! Whether you’re a Native New Yorker or visiting the City on vacation, CMOM offers children and their families brand new hands-on, interactive exhibitions, programs and events.

This summer’s new programs and exhibits combine the perfect mix of structured activities with free play and exploration. Whether children have a full day to spend, or need to beat the heat after summer camp, CMOM is the perfect place to engage children and have fun.

 “CMOM is the destination for families trying to figure out great ways to spend their long summer days. Whether it’s our outdoor water exploration or our latest action-packed exhibits and workshops, CMOM is always fun, engaging and memorable,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “If you’re visiting New York on a family vacation and looking for a low-key, inexpensive afternoon away from the crowded streets, CMOM is a great place for families to learn and play.”

Learn the Basics of Design at CMOM’s NYC Design Studio
On June 30, CMOM will open its highly anticipated NYC Design Studio, an interactive space where children can be inspired by some of New York’s most creative designers.  Experts from various disciplines, including architecture, set design, interior design and apparel will lead children in workshops where they will make hats, design prints for clothing and wallpaper, build skyscrapers and create theater sets.  Opening day kicks off with a performance by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, two-time Olivier Award-nominated actors and writers of the new Off Broadway show,Potted Potter, which condenses all seven Harry Potter books into 70 madcap minutes! 
 Participating designers include: Christiane Lemieux of DwellStudio, Rachel Hauck from Region Theater, Belinda Watts of Gensler and Lola Ehlrich of Lola Hats.

CMOM Partners with World Famous Icelandic Singer, Björk
Beginning July 6, families can explore the music and multimedia apps of Biophilia, designed by Björk.CMOM educators will work with families using iPads loaded with the Biophilia app to discover the connections between music, nature and technology. Children and families will tap into their own musical creativity, while having fun with hands-on science experiments and educator-led workshops that incorporate movement and dance.

New Transmedia Math Games From UMIGO
Summer + Math = Fun! Play with new transmedia math games and products from the world of UMIGO. Discover new math skills through videos, dance, board and card games, songs and even iPad explorations. Daily activities and programs will get kids excited about math through action-packed programs! Made possible by a U.S. Department of Education Ready to Learn partnership.

All This and Dancing?
Summer at CMOM sizzles on Saturdays from 5:00–7:00pm throughout July and August. CMOM’s Hot Saturday Night Family Dance Jams gets families on their feet to enjoy some healthy fun. Each Saturday night will feature a different form of dance ranging from the Latin-inspired Zumba fitness program to Hip Hop. CMOM’s dance crew will be on-hand to break down easy-to-learn moves, routines and encourage families to find their own style.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

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05/22/2012

PRESS RELEASE: Recording Artist Björk Partners with New York Public Library and Children’s Museum of Manhattan to Launch a New Educational Programming Series

Free Programs for Kids Inspired by Singer’s Latest Work Biophilia Uses Interactive App To Foster Learning Through Music

NEW YORK, NY – The New York Public Library and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan will announce today a partnership with Icelandic recording artist Björk to produce educational programming and a curriculum based on Biophilia, the musician’s latest work, which the New York Times described “among the most creative, innovative and important new projects in popular culture.” The NYPL and CMOM program is based on the innovative Biophilia iPad app designed by Björk and her team of leading developers, which iTunes named one of the top five music apps of 2011.

Working in cooperation with the Center for Arts Education, NYPL and CMOM will host a series of Biophiliainspired programs. Programs at NYPL and its select branches are aimed at middle school children and begin in July with additional dates in September and October. CMOM will offer daily drop-in programming school groups, summer camps and families with children ages 3-11, beginning July 6th and running through December 30th

“I’m so honored that The New York Public Library and Children’s Museum of Manhattan are up for this,” said Björk, a longtime advocate for education through the arts. “I’ve spent 4 years on Biophilia and these are dream homes for the project.”

Biophilia uses the track listing from Björk’s 2011 album of the same name to create 10 “in-app experiences” that explore the relationships between music and natural phenomena, teaching kids about science and music in an innovative way. The app includes an interactive game, musical animation for each song, an animated score, lyrics, and text that help students to learn about different musical features while exploring the ideas behind each song. Fast Company magazine included Björk in their list of “The 100 Most Creative People in Business” and the Webby Awards named her “Artist of the Year” for her work integrating science, art and technology.

“The world of education is changing, and I am so proud that the Library is involved in providing programming and supporting the tools that will allow young people – our future – to continue to learn in new, interactive, and exciting ways,” said NYPL President Anthony W. Marx. “The Biophilia app makes knowledge more accessible to children, and inspires them to learn more – both key missions of the Library, as well.”

Biophilia is at the forefront in the development of arts-based education and the development of a child’s creative thinking,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “Its portability allows for learning to take place anywhere – at school, the library and in a family setting at home. By leveraging the extensive network of the Center for Arts Education in combination with the NYPL, we will be able to reach thousands of children and teachers over the next six months.”

Biophilia creates new and exciting opportunities for arts integration adding depth and creativity to music and science studies,” added Eric Pryor, Executive Director of The Center for Arts Education.

For a complete list of NYPL’s Biophilia programming, please visit: nypl.org/teens

For a complete list of CMOM’s Biophilia programing, please visit: http://www.cmom.org/visit/calendar

CMOM thanks The Creators Project – an organization devoted to creativity, culture and technology – for their generous donation of over a dozen iPads to the Museum for the Biophilia workshops.

To donate first and second generation iPads, please contact: Tom Quaranta at tquaranta@cmom.org or 212-721-1223 x247.

New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Its renowned research collections are located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th Street and Madison Avenue. Eighty-seven branch libraries provide access to circulating collections and a wide range of other services in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. All in all The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org.

Contact: Angela Montefinise | 212.592.7506 | angelamontefinise@nypl.org

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds.

Contact: Todd McGovern | 212.721.1223 | tmcgovern@cmom.org

About The Center for Arts Education
The Center for Arts Education (CAE) is dedicated to ensuring that all New York City public school students have quality arts and creative learning as an essential part of their K-12 education. CAE was created in 1996 in response to the Annenberg Challenge to Education reform, and today is the only arts education organization in New York providing a combination of school-based residences in four art forms, professional development, and active public engagement and advocacy efforts.

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05/01/2012

PRESS RELEASE: CMOM Announces Inaugural Laurie M. Tisch Award Honorees

Artist Sarah Sze and Physicia n/Author Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee to Receive Honor at Gala Event on May 21

NEW YORK, NY – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) announced today that artist Sarah Sze and physician and author, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee will receive the inaugural Laurie M. Tisch Award at the Museum’s biennal fundraiser. The event, which takes place on the evening of Monday, May 21, will be held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan and attended by 400 leading philanthropists, corporate partners and government officials. The award honors the extraordinary leadership role of Laurie M. Tisch as a philanthropist and innovative thinker in connecting the arts, health and education.

Announcing the selection, halley k harrisburg, Chair of CMOM’s Board of Directors, said, “We are thrilled that the inaugural Laurie M. Tisch Award recipients are artist Sarah Sze, whose dazzling sculptures are at once intricately detailed and monumentally scaled, and her husband, physician and author, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, whose book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, was called one of the most influential of the past century. Honoring these two leaders in the arts and health mirrors CMOM’s pioneering work to connect the two fields on a national level. Promoting artistic engagement, as well as good eating, exercise and sleep habits among children, CMOM connects people of all different backgrounds to arts and health education.”

Ms. Sze, a sculptor and visual artist, is a Professor at Columbia University’s School of Visual Arts. In 2003 Sze received a MacArthur fellowship, and in February of this year she was chosen to represent the United States at the prestigious 2013 Venice Biennale. Public sculpture is an important part of Sze’s practice and she has made works for the High Line in New York, the Parnassus Library at the University of California at San Francisco, and the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her work has been shown widely in both the U.S. and abroad, at institutions such as: the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others.
Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, a cancer physician and researcher, is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University and a staff physician at Columbia University Medical Center. His book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and was named one of the 100 most influential books of the last 100 years by TIME magazine.

“CMOM has bridged so many barriers in our city, providing access to the arts and health education for people of all economic and ethnic backgrounds,” said Laurie M. Tisch. “It is so fitting that the Museum honor a leading artist and scientist and author to shine a light on how both institutions and individuals can take responsibility for improving the emotional, intellectual and health lives of citizens of NYC and beyond. I am absolutely thrilled that Sarah Sze and Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee are the first recipients of this award.”

“Laurie M. Tisch is truly one of the outstanding philanthropists in our city,” added Andy Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “Her vision to provide illumination across multiple spectrums is a pathway to future approaches to address needed and interrelated investments in health, the arts and education. Laurie has the courage and creativity to see how an institution like CMOM has unique attributes in pedagogy, reaching families and understanding audiences to deliver services that are not usually connected to a museum. How fitting that the first award in her name goes to a boundary breaking artist and a physician whose global thinking connects health to human history.”

The corporate honoree at the gala is Learning Resources®, one of the most respected makers of educational toys, games and materials in the country. Learning Resources and CMOM share similar educational values and pedagogies, emphasizing the importance of early childhood education, family learning and providing interactive tools and resources for all children across the learning spectrum.

CMOM’s Spring Benefit will raise funds for the Museum’s extensive local and national outreach programs, including work with pediatric cancer patients, children with autism, families living in homeless shelters and children in low-income communities across the city. In addition, funds will support two major national initiatives, one in early childhood obesity prevention with the National Institutes of Health and Head Start and the second in early math learning with the U.S. Department of Education.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds.

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04/23/2012

PRESS RELEASE: CMOM Names Learning Resources® As Recipient of Inaugural Corporate Leadership Award

Selection Highlights Shared Educational Values and Approaches to Help All Children

NEW YORK, NY – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) announced today the selection of Learning Resources, Inc. as the recipient of its inaugural Corporate Leadership Award. The Illinois-based company is a leading manufacturer of innovative, hands-on educational toys used in homes, classrooms and museums around the world. Their products engage each child to strive toward their greatest potential, while supporting their individual learning style. Since its inception in 1984, the company has dedicated itself to designing award-winning products that enable both parents and teachers to go beyond traditional instruction and to instill in children a sense of wonder and a love of learning.

“Learning Resources shares CMOM’s educational values and pedagogies, with an emphasis on the importance of early childhood education, family learning and providing interactive tools and resources for all children across the learning spectrum,” said CMOM’s Executive Director, Andrew Ackerman. “Like our exhibitions and curriculums, Learning Resources’ products are steeped in the latest research in early childhood development and human cognition. By honoring their innovative work and passion for educating children, we are reminded of the importance of our work and reinvigorated in the process.”

Accepting the award will be CEO, Rick Woldenberg. A former lawyer and graduate of Princeton University and University of Chicago Law School, Woldenberg joined Learning Resources and was named CEO in 1998. During this time, the company grew from 15 to more than 150 employees worldwide, with sales in over 80 countries. In addition, he currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy.

“At Learning Resources, our products reflect our philosophy of education: The importance of developing good habits at a very early age; the value of learning through adventure, play and discovery; fun learning in a family setting; and research-based learning materials with outstanding content,” said Rick Woldenberg. “It is a great honor to be recognized by such an esteemed institution as CMOM, whose own innovative work helps so many better understand the crucial importance of the early years of life.”

“Recognizing the educational excellence exemplified by Learning Resources underscores CMOM’s local and national commitment to innovative approaches to health, education and the arts and overall educational achievement,” said halley k harrisburg, Chair of CMOM’s Board of Directors.
In addition to these values, Learning Resources is passionate about philanthropic works that extend beyond the workplace. The company contributes to numerous charities and programs that support children and families in need.

Also at the Spring Benefit, held on the evening of May 21 at The Metropolitan Pavilion, CMOM will present the inaugural Laurie M. Tisch Award. This award honors an individual or family who best exemplify the extraordinary leadership role of Laurie M. Tisch as a philanthropist and innovative thinker in connecting the arts, health and education. This year’s honorees are sculptor and visual artist Sarah Sze and physician and author, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer).

CMOM’s bi-annual event takes place on the evening of Monday, May 21, will be held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan and attended by 400 leading philanthropists, corporate partners and government officials.

About Learning Resources, Inc.
Learning Resources® is a leading global manufacturer of innovative, hands-on educational products. The Company’s 1,200+ high-quality products designed by top educators are available in more than 80 countries. For more than 27 years, parents and teachers have trusted Learning Resources to turn their homes and classrooms into creative, motivational and multi-sensory environments where children find joy in learning and reach their full potential.

Learning Resources is focused on children and their families, kindergarten, primary, and middle-school markets, offering innovative educational products in the areas of early childhood, mathematics, science, language arts, STEM, Spanish language, ESL/ELL, Response to Intervention, social studies, special needs and teacher resources. Among the Company’s brands are Pretend & Play®, Smart Snacks®, Smart Splash®, New Sprouts™, Gears! Gears! Gears!®, Primary Science, now!Board™, simple technology, Hands-On Standards® publications, Radius® Audio Learning System, Rainbow Fractions®, Reading Rods® and Reading Rods® en Español. Learning Resources is headquartered in Vernon Hills, IL, with a European office based in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England.

For more information visit www.LearningResources.com.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

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04/18/2013

10-Foot Cops

Spare Times for Children for April 19-25

The prospect of meeting police officers 10 feet tall might make you think of science-fiction robocops or the alien law enforcers in the “Star Wars” films. But all the officers in the museum show “10-Foot Cops” are fully human; it’s their partners who aren’t. These critical team members, some with evocative names like Alarm, Beacon and Shield, are horses. The police slang “10-Foot Cops” refers to the officers riding them, who seem to tower over the city streets. Young visitors to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan can learn about this working relationship in “10-Foot Cops: The NYPD’s Mounted Unit,” a display of photos, artifacts, video and art from the New York City Police Museum in Lower Manhattan, now closed because of damage from Hurricane Sandy.

Horses, used by the Police Department since 1845, first helped chase down nervous members of their species that had bolted. (A news clipping from 1897 details such an incident.) Today’s mounted forces — down to fewer than 100 — still help control crowds and manage parades. A photo from 2006 shows a mounted officer keeping onlookers. The exhibition easily captures the human-equine bond.

Police Inspector James Meehan is pictured in 1940 riding Steady, a horse he said could “keep time to any music” and tailored his walk to the ceremonial occasion. Another, Anzac, was so beloved by an officer, Walter Moulder — they’re here in a 1940s photo — that Patrolman Moulder visited Anzac every summer after the horse had been retired to a Catskills farm. (Above, another officer and his mount, about 1975.)

Children too young to read will still enjoy all the horse paraphernalia: a walled-off corner is partly outfitted as a stable, with farrier’s tools, a partial stall, old police uniforms and saddles from 1880 and 1960. Little ones can pose for pictures on small wooden horses; they can also sit at worktables for related crafts, which this Saturday and Sunday include decorating wooden horseshoes (2 to 4:15 p.m.) and making cardboard telescopes (noon to 4:15 p.m.) to gain the perspective of a “10-foot cop.”

A video screen features excerpts from Police Department films  from 1940 and 2007 that show the rigorous training mounted units require. They remind you that today a hero — or heroine — can still come riding to the rescue.

(Through Oct. 6, the Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd Street, 212-721-1223, cmom.org. Daily, except Mondays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; till 7 p.m. on Saturdays. Free with admission: $11; $7 for 65+; free for under 1 and members.)

By LAUREL GRAEBER

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03/15/2012

Obesity and Other Targets of Children’s Museums

The New York Times

CHILDREN’S museums do not usually have exhibitions that involve crawling through a giant digestive system.

A child exits a maze designed to explain the function of the intestines in the digestive process.

But such an installation — along with a play center where visitors learn the power of pedaling, bouncing and jumping and a place to meet superpowered vegetable heroes — is part of a larger effort by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan to help prevent childhood obesity.

While children’s museums are primarily known as activity centers to divert the younger set and to help form future museumgoers, they are increasingly focused on social outreach. “Part of our mission is to provide access,” said Andy Ackerman, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. “Social issues, education, health and creativity — it’s all a continuum, and we can connect those domains and reinforce each of them.”

The Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore has adapted museum exhibits and programming for children with special needs. The Young at Art Museum in Davie, Fla., has an afterschool arts program for homeless students. The Providence Children’s Museum in Rhode Island helps children in foster care find permanent families. And the Children’s Museum of the Arts in Manhattan provides a place for foster-care children to reunite with their birth parents by making art together.

“As resources become more and more scarce, everybody’s looking to children’s museums to fill varying kinds of needs for children and families,” said Janet Rice Elman, executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums in Arlington, Va. “These are places where families can learn through play — from science to early literacy skills to parenting — in settings that are joyful.”

Many of these programs involve collaborations with other organizations that have specific expertise. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side, for example, developed its so-called EatSleepPlay effort with the National Institutes of Health and collaborates with the City University of New York on training at-home child-care providers in teaching literacy, math and science.

The Children’s Museum of the Arts in SoHo has joined with Henry Street Settlement’s Urban Family Center to bring free weaving, printmaking and sculpture to children living in transitional housing, culminating with a children’s art exhibition and a reception for families and friends. And the Boston Children’s Museum is joining with Head Start, Boston Public Schools and the City of Boston to prepare students for kindergarten.

“We want to be relevant to our communities,” said Jeri Robinson, the vice president for early childhood and family learning at the Boston museum.

Museums are also developing continuing relationships with outside experts. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, for example, has worked closely with health advisers like Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. Her research helped the museum develop the sleep section of the EatSleepPlay exhibition, covering topics like preparing for sleep, what happens during sleep and how much sleep children need.

Rather than serving as just one more recreational option, children’s museums are recasting themselves as essential anchors in their communities — “the hub or the center,” Mr. Ackerman said.

“Educating through the arts,” he added. “That’s how you change behavior.”

The New-York Historical Society is seeking to educate with its new DiMenna Children’s History Museum, which opened last fall. Young visitors learn about prejudice by studying the life story of James McCune Smith, the first African-American to earn a medical degree. They learn about money and credit by visiting the Alexander Hamilton pavilion. “All of the exhibits we’ve developed are focused on teaching a skill or a behavior,” said Louise Mirrer, the president and chief executive.

The museums are also reaching beyond their walls to take their programming more aggressively into underprivileged neighborhoods. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is replicating its exhibitions in East Harlem’s public housing. It sends two artists to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center every week to work with children. And it is running health and literacy programs in the Bronx and New Orleans.

And children’s museums are making a concerted effort to draw specific groups of people who might otherwise not come through their doors. On Mondays, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is open to children with autism and their families, as well as to school groups. “They need a quiet venue,” Mr. Ackerman said.

The ARTogether program at the Children’s Museum of the Arts brings foster children together with their biological parents to create art, led by a clinically trained, licensed art therapist. The museum recently expanded the effort to include families with children at risk of being placed in foster care. It has hired staff members who speak Mandarin and Cantonese.

“You can come to our space and participate alongside other folks who maybe aren’t having the same challenges,” said David Kaplan, the museum’s executive director. “You want to be supportive of families in the program but you want to be empowering them — you don’t want them to rely on you forever. Eventually you want them coming to the museum on their own terms and on their own time.”

In opening a larger space last fall, the Children’s Museum of the Arts hopes to generate more revenue to benefit children at risk, to provide a “nice, safe environment for people to come to,” Mr. Kaplan said.

Not only are children’s museums seeking to educate, they want their visitors to feel comfortable entering cultural institutions for many years to come and to see exhibitions that affirm their own experience. “The audiences who are living here want to be able to come here and see their lives reflected,” said Ms. Robinson of the Boston museum.

In some cases, the exhibits also take the visitors to places they have never been. The museum now features a Japanese silk weaver’s house that was a gift from Kyoto. “Many of our kids will never go to Japan,” Ms. Robinson said. “But they can have an authentic Japanese experience by coming to our house.”

Click here for the original article»

By ROBIN POGREBIN

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03/15/2012

Bringing—and Expanding—the ‘Best of the Arts’

The Wall Street Journal NY CULTURE

Like any parent, Halley K. Harrisburg wants to instill a sense of wonder and curiosity in her daughters. She feels that one way to engage is through art and she’s working to help more families experience the fine arts through the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

Supporting the Children’s Museum, known as CMOM, is a natural extension of what is basically the family business for Ms. Harrisburg and her husband, Michael Rosenfeld. She is the director of New York’s Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, which specializes in twentieth-century American art. Ms. Harrisburg says that one of the principles of the gallery has been to educate art lovers through various lectures and panel discussions at the gallery, and through partnerships with local schools.

Ms. Harrisburg’s family lives on the Upper West Side and she says that her initial introduction to CMOM was through her oldest daughter’s caregiver. The nanny would take the child to CMOM periodically and for short excursions. Her daughter loved the museum.

“As the weeks and months went on with this membership, I began to realize how much we were using this institution,” recalls Ms. Harrisburg. With all the visits, she jokes that the museum was clearly losing money on her family.

And so, it was nearly a decade ago that Ms. Harrisburg decided to become involved with CMOM. She’s served as chairwoman of the museum’s board for the past four years, using her day job as an art dealer to make introductions and open doors. Her annual gifts are around $100,000.

Specifically, the family has supported CMOM’s “Best of the Arts” performance series, which gives families affordable access to theater, dance and music programs, and a monthly program that teaches children some of the materials and processes used by contemporary artists.

More than anything, Ms. Harrisburg has supported the museum’s mission to provide quality educational programming and a first museum experience to families in a space where everyone feels comfortable and “welcome.”

“And I mean that in the truest sense of the word because the audience at the Children’s Museum is so diverse, economically, racially and in sexual orientation. I mean, you see families in the truest sense of the word,” she says.

The museum’s popularity has led Ms. Harrisburg and the museum leadership to seek a new home. Presently the museum occupies 38,000 square feet on West 83rd Street and serves some 400,000 children a year. Ms. Harrisburg says that the museum is at capacity and space is often “very tight” on the weekends.

The museum would like to have at least 80,000 square feet and has been searching over many years for a space with a central location and good subway access, a street presence and space to include a cafe.

The search is city-wide and Ms. Harrisburg says that they aren’t ruling out any neighborhood.

Above all, the new location needs to “serve New York City and all families in the way that they deserve to be served,” explains Ms. Harrisburg. “I feel that we are content rich and real-estate poor.”

A version of this article appeared Mar. 16, 2012, on page A19 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Bringing—and Expanding—the ‘Best of the Arts’.

By MELANIE GRAYCE WEST

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12/03/2011

Long-Delayed East Harlem Community Center Opens

DNAInfo.com Manhattan Local News

HARLEM—Troy White’s eyes lit up as he walked into the brand-new gymnasium of the Johnson Houses Community and Children’s Center on Lexington Avenue in East Harlem.

Now 19-years-old, construction on the center, near 115th Street, began a decade ago when White was in elementary school.

“It’s been a long time but it looks like it’s worth it,” said White who has lived at the James Weldon Johnson Houses for 15 years and is looking for work. “Right now, there’s nothing to do but stand around in the projects.”

New York City Housing Authority officials say they hope the new $21 million, 21,500-square-foot center will change that. The building includes a children’s center and a community center that has a performance stage, technology center sponsored by Time Warner Cable, a weight room, senior area and a kitchen that can be used for cooking classes.

The man who the housing complex was named after, James Weldon Johnson was an author, poet and civil rights activist who wrote the Negro National Anthem.

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan will partner with NYCHA to create hands on exhibits and learning projects at the center. And the Supportive Children’s Advocacy Network will provide programming there ranging from an after-school program to GED and job training to Latin Dance, said Executive Director Lew Zuchman.

“There’s an old saying that good things come to those that wait,” NYCHA Chairman John Rhea said at a ribbon-cutting Friday. “If the length of time is any indication, then it’s safe to say we got a pretty good gift for our time.”

Originally conceived a decade ago, construction on the project did not begin until years later. NYCHA, which promised in January that the center would open this spring, has blamed the delays on the time it took to get rid of a non-performing contractor.

“People never thought this was going to open,” said Ethel Velez, president of NYCHA’s Manhattan North Council of Presidents and the Johnson Houses Resident Association, who was instrumental in pushing the project. “We had a time where we had one man working on the center by himself for a year. He was like: ‘This isn’t going to happen.'”

As the years dragged on and the center failed to come to fruition, it was the young people of the Johnson Houses who began clamoring for the center to open.

A fresh round of back-and-forth violence between the Johnson and neighboring Taft Houses led young public housing residents at a meeting on youth violence to complain about the amount of time it was taking to open the center.

East Harlem Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito formed the El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force after a spike in shootings last year. One of the group’s recently released recommendations was to provide more activities for young people. The delay in completing the Johnson Center was cited as an example of a failure to do so.

“Pinch me. Am I really here? Is his a dream?” said Mark-Viverito who added that she has spent most of her six years in office dealing with the construction of the center.

“These community centers are critical to improving the quality of life not only for residents but for the community at-large,” she said.

State Senator Bill Perkins said the center will provide a range of recreational and vocational opportunities for young people in the community.

“I grew up in these projects when we called them projects,” said Perkins. “You can be me easier than I got to be me because we have this here now.”

Instead of spending billions of dollars incarcerating young people, Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez said the money should be invested in community centers

“I think this right here is the best alternative to incarceration,” said Rodriguez.

Young people weren’t the only ones excited about the center. Mary Crawford, a 53-year-old disabled Johnson Houses residents said she hoped to participate in adult programs at the center. She also hoped to serve as a volunteer.

“Kids get into trouble when they don’t have something positive to do,” she said.

That’s why White said he was happy the center had something for everyone. While he was dreaming of running a full court game in the massive gymnasium, a couple of his friends were excited about the planned recording studio. Others said they hoped to take part in the vocational programs.

“We didn’t have anywhere to be before,” said Johnson resident Mike Pasterisa. “We can’t really say that now that this is open.”

By JEFF MAYS, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

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11/30/2011

Hellenic Museum’s brand new exhibit brings Odysseus to modern times

Chicago Journal

It’s all Greek to me.

Forget good old-fashioned American ingenuity. Many of the things we hold dear can actually be traced back to ancient Greece.

And a new exhibit at the revamped National Hellenic Museum gives families a glimpse at what life was like back when the Parthenon was considered cutting-edge design.

“Gods, Myths and Mortals” uses the story of Odysseus, as told through the Iliad and the Odyssey, to show what it was like to live in ancient Greece. It includes authentic artifacts like pottery, coins and arrowheads, as well as interactive elements for all ages.

“It’s amazing to think [the Odyssey] has been around all this time,” said curator Bethany Fleming. “It’s about discovering yourself and having a home you can journey to.”

But the exhibit isn’t just a regurgitation of your eighth-grade English class. Instead, it expands upon portions of Homer’s stories, such as focusing on Penelope (Odysseus’ left-behind wife) to study weaving and life on a Greek island or Odysseus’ escape from the Cyclops to learn about sailing.

The exhibit, which originated at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, may delve into ancient history, but it does so in a modern way. Where else could you sing karaoke with the Sirens?

The highlight of the exhibit is the 12-foot-tall Trojan Horse that kids can climb inside and explore.

“The Trojan Horse is something you can see kids wanting to run over to and explore,” Fleming said. “It’s just so intriguing.”

But the exhibit, which will be at the museum until the end of August, isn’t the only thing to visit. The 40,000-square-foot museum opened this month and includes other interactive opportunities, such as tracing ancient Greek letters or writing your own Odyssey-like “journey.”

“You start to see how some of these elements have influenced the everyday world around you,” Fleming said.

And you may never look at a math problem or a track meet — or even an episode of “American Idol” — the same way again.

By ELIZABETH DIFFIN, Staff Reporter

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11/23/2011

PRESS RELEASE: I Wish I Knew You When You Were Five: Portraits By Jamie Kim

Paintings Consider Our Unique Characteristics From Early Childhood to Adulthood

NEW YORK, NY, November 22, 2011 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan announced today the opening of I Wish I Knew You When You Were Five, a new exhibition of portraits by artist Jamie Kim. The exhibit, which opens November 25, consists of a series of portrait paintings on T-shirts, capturing qualities that remain consistent and unchanging from childhood into adulthood. Based on childhood photographs of friends and colleagues, Kim’s portraits are displayed with photographs of each adult wearing their own childhood portrait.

Kim works within the biological and psychological framework that claims an individual’s personality traits solidify and become apparent by age five or six. Her approach encourages viewers to consider the physical characteristics and gestures unique to one’s personality, as children and adults.

“I am intrigued by the qualities and traits that remain the same over time. Life experiences may influence you, but you are still the same person as you were when you were a child,” said Jamie Kim. “This painting project is an investigation of that idea.”

In addition to Kim’s portraits, interactive stations placed within the exhibit allow children, parents and caregivers to trace their own portraits or draw a portrait of each other. These attempts to capture the visable aspects of character are designed to encourage conversations about what it means to be unique.

“The connection between childhood and adulthood is a topic that both fascinates and confuses children. They marvel at photos of their parents as children, while grappling with what it means to be an adult,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “Jamie Kim’s art expresses the complex relationship between youth and adulthood, capturing the transition with the eyes of an artist. Her work will undoubtedly create wonderful conversations in the galleries at CMOM.”

Jamie Kim’s work has shown in New York, Chicago, Seoul and Berlin. She earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For additional information on the artist, please visit: www.jamiekim.org.

About the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to kids and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org or call 212-721-1234.

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11/17/2011

PRESS RELEASE: The Children's Museum of Manhattan and Macy's Announce "Amerca's Parade: Celebrating 85 Years of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade®"

NEW YORK, NY, November 17, 2011 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) and Macy’s today announced a new exhibition, America’s Parade: Celebrating 85 Years of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®. Opening at CMOM’s Upper West Side location on Saturday, November 19 (and only blocks from the staging area and the Parade itself), America’s Parade uses historical photographs, posters, audio and video, and original art pieces to capture the holiday spirit of the Parade and provides a look into its rich history.

For many Americans, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® is a time honored tradition and a great way to kick-off this wonderful holiday. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade also serves for many Americans (especially children) as an introduction to the excitement of New York City, its canyon-like streets filled with giant, floating balloons of Snoopy, Kermit the Frog, Spiderman and Buzz Lightyear.

Visitors to the America’s Parade exhibit are greeted with sounds and sights of the event via a video monitor that plays a “newsreel” of its history. Highlights include a model of Tim Burton’s “B,” one of this year’s new balloons; 30 historical photos of the changing design and storylines of the Parade’s signature inflatable characters; original posters from year’s past; eight snow globes of parade scenes, two books of reproduced photos of floats and balloons; and five original maquette models from which the balloons are made, including Curious George, a skating Snoopy and Wild Thing from Where the Wild Things Are.

Additionally, six original works of art will be on display from the new book, Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

“Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Paradeis a uniquely New York event, that has grown to become a national holiday tradition,” said Amy Kule, Executive Producer of the Parade. “This exhibit, celebrating 85 years of Macy’s Parade magic, will delight children of all ages as they learn some of the fun details behind the giant spectacle. ”

Also included in the exhibit are little-known tidbits of Parade trivia, such as:

• What balloon has been in the Parade more than any other character?
• Who was “Bobo the Hobo?”
• What famous artists have designed balloons for the parade?
• Who was the first female balloon character?

“Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an American tradition that spans many generations and is an ideal way to share memories within the family,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “Because the parade is such a favorite of children, this exhibition is a great way to pique their interest in the past and to nurture a love of history.

The exhibit is scheduled to run through January 16, 2012.

For great ideas on how to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family, go to www.cmom.org and look for Raising Citizens under “programs,” or visit www.freedomsfeast.us/

About the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to kids and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org or call 212-721-1234.

About Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
With more than 50 million viewers across the country and more than 3.5 million spectators that line up along the streets of New York City each year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a national icon that has grown into a world-famous holiday event. For more than 80 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has marked the official start of the holiday season. Growing in size and scale, the Parade proudly marches down a more than 2-mile route in New York City with more than 8,000 participants in tow including Macy’s employees, their families, celebrities, athletes, clowns and dance groups spreading holiday cheer. The Parade also features America’s best marching bands, fabulous floats and Macy’s signature giant helium character balloons. For more information on the Macy’s Parade please visit www.macys.com/parade or call the Parade hotline at (212) 494-4495.

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11/11/2011

PRESS RELEASE: The James Beard Foundation and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan Partner on Family Chef Series

Renowned Chefs to Lead Healthy Cooking Programs for Families as Part of Museum’s EatSleepPlay™ Health Initiative

NEW YORK, NY, November 11, 2011 – The James Beard Foundation, the world’s foremost nonprofit culinary arts organization, announced today a partnership with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), as part of the museum’s EatSleepPlay™ health initiative. The James Beard Foundation Family Chef Series at CMOM will include healthy cooking demonstrations by renowned chefs, providing families with young children creative and fun ways to prepare simple recipes with fresh and affordable ingredients. Each program will include special tastings of the prepared recipes.

“I am thrilled about our new partnership with the James Beard Foundation. How amazing to have some of the best chefs show families how delicious food can be healthy, affordable and easy to prepare,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “Families will walk away with some great new recipes that can become staples in their meals and an understanding of how simple, daily choices can have a big impact on your family’s health. The partnership with The James Beard Foundation will help drive public awareness about the issue of childhood obesity and the work being done by both our organizations to reverse the trend.”

The first program demonstration in the series will be on Saturday, November 12, the opening weekend of CMOM’s new exhibition called EatSleepPlay™: Building Health Every Day. Award-winning chef, Bill Telepan, one of New York’s biggest proponents of “Greenmarket” cooking, will conduct a healthy cooking demonstration, food tasting and question and answer session. He opened his critically acclaimed Upper West Side restaurant, Telepan, five years ago, where he creates special harvest menus to highlight their seasonal offerings. He has longstanding relationships with local farmers and purveyors and is involved in the movement to improve public school lunches in New York City, serving as executive chef of Wellness in the Schools (WITS).

“I’m excited to participate in the Family Chef Series, which is an inventive and fun way to teach kids about healthy eating, ” said Bill Telepan. “This initiative is a strong step toward improving the overall health of our nation’s youth — a cause that I hold close to my heart, both as Executive Chef of Wellness in the Schools and as a father.”

“Who better to grab the attention of children and their parents on how to eat better than well-known chefs? The James Beard Foundation is truly delighted to be able to help launch this series with four wonderful American chefs, Bill Telepan, Alex Guarneschelli, Michel Nischan and Michael Lomonaco,” said Susan Ungaro, President of The James Beard Foundation. “These chefs are also parents, so they know first-hand the challenges of getting children to eat well.”

The current schedule of programs in The James Beard Foundation Family Chef Series at CMOM includes:
 Saturday, November 12 – Bill Telepan, owner and executive chef, Telepan and executive chef for executive chef for Wellness in the Schools;
Tuesday December 27 – Alexandra Guarneschelli, executive chef of Butter Restaurant and host of Food Network’s Alex’s Day Off;
Saturday, February 25 – Michel Nischan, owner and founder of Dressing Room and CEO and president of Wholesome Wave;
Wednesday, April 11 – Michael Lomonaco, executive chef and managing partner, Porter House

CMOM’s EatSleepPlayTM health initiative is a first-of-its-kind national program that targets families with very young children to instill healthy habits at an early age. CMOM takes on the issue of children’s health and obesity with comprehensive solutions, reaching children in homes, schools and communities to build lifelong learning and healthy habits that support a child’s overall cognitive, emotional, social and physical development and wellbeing.

About the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to kids and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org or call 212-721-1234.

About the James Beard Foundation
Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, nurturing, and preserving America’s diverse culinary heritage and future. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today, the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships to culinary schools, and publications, and by maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit www.jamesbeard.org.

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11/11/2011

Where Children Discover Their Inner Child

The New York Times   A talking toilet at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. No such bathroom exists in New York City, but “The Royal Flush,” among more than 70 interactive exhibits in EatSleepPlay™: Building Health Every Day, the new show at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, does something similar. When little visitors pull this fake toilet’s handle, it responds with images and explains, in the warm but slightly brisk tones of a no-nonsense nanny, that what we excrete provides clues to our well-being.

That Mary Poppins voice “adds a sense of decorum to a topic that could otherwise be misconstrued,” Tom Quaranta, the museum’s director of exhibition services and operations, said in an interview. But while some staff members initially recoiled, “The Royal Flush” ultimately won approval as an ideal expression of this 3,500-square-foot exhibition’s mission: to teach children about health in ways that can be vivid and visceral but also playful, memorable and easy to understand.

“It’s a huge arts installation,” said Andrew S. Ackerman, the museum’s executive director, as finishing touches were applied last week. “We want it to be at the heart of behavior change, the way a great movie can be or a great book can be.”

Mr. Ackerman explained that more than 10 years ago his staff noticed that a surprising number of visitors were overweight. The museum responded in 1999 with “Body Odyssey,” an interactive health exhibition that helped inspire EatSleepPlay™. Increasing news reports of childhood obesity prompted the museum to connect with the National Institutes of Health, whose We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition) program provides resources to help 8-to-13-year-olds maintain a healthy weight. In 2009 the museum announced a $2.3 million initiative to combat childhood obesity, which included adapting a We Can! curriculum for children as young as 2.

The initiative, which also comprises the $1.2 million EatSleepPlay™ exhibition, gained further momentum when the first lady, Michelle Obama, announced Let’s Move! , her campaign for childhood fitness. Now the show, financed by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and other private and public donors, incorporates information from more than 50 advisers, including the health institutes and the New York City Health Department.

“The impact of this exhibition is slightly but importantly different from when we first began,” Mr. Ackerman added. “Obesity prevention is still the core, but now it’s a blueprint for a child’s entire development.”

EatSleepPlay™, which opens on Friday for an open-ended run, literally swallows its visitors: They walk into a smiling child’s mouth leading to a room representing the brain. Another chamber imitates the stomach, while a chain of brand-new septic tanks constitutes a crawl-through colon, a fitting marriage of material and idea. (“The Royal Flush,” not surprisingly, comes at the end.) The show’s designers, Carol May and Tim Watkins, the married principals of May & Watkins Design, a Brooklyn company, also created a gigantic human heart.

“The design is not realistic, but it’s not completely abstract,” Mr. Watkins said. Industrial hoses wind across the ceiling like arteries, whose “blood” consists of red light bulbs. A child turning a wheel attached to an anatomical display of a clogged artery finds it hard to set that overhead current flowing; at an open artery, it’s easy.

Strands of lights also represent neural pathways. In one exhibit they’re connected to panels consisting of fake advertisements for products like potato chips and cigarettes. When children lift the panels to read the hard facts behind the cheery packaging, the lights go out. “It shows that you can shut off the advertising messages to your brain,” Mr. Ackerman said.

Making such choices is central to the show’s message. In the brain chamber, labeled “Decision Center,” children can compete in a digital game to achieve the longest life span. Another game, Choices Change yOUR World!, developed with Linda Gottfried of the company Color, Light & Shadow, lets them navigate a Central Park landscape as a tiny avatar, a beating heart. Lizzy Martin, the museum’s exhibition developer, demonstrated how children playing the game at side-by-side video screens could earn points by touching healthy choices — a banana or apple as a snack — or lose them by selecting, say, soda or a cupcake. The heart and the Central Park scene visibly brightened as points accumulated.

“I’m going to ruin our world together now,” Ms. Martin said. “I’m going to choose cigarettes. And see what happens. We’re in a very dark place.” She was right. The screens went inky; Central Park plunged into what looked like nuclear winter; and the entire game paused.

While digital exhibits appeal to children 7 and older, other displays focus on preschoolers. “We really wanted to have humor,” Ms. May said. “These shows can get didactic.” Thus the digestive system has, well, sound effects, and the stomach also talks to young visitors, who feed it by pulling a lever and watching a screen fill with different foods. The stomach complains if it’s given junk or overstuffed. “We went for a Brooklyn taxi driver,” Mr. Quaranta said of the voice, “but friendly.”

The “Eat” section draws in the youngest children with a two-tiered space representing a New York City Green Cart. Here they meet the Super Sprowtz, Muppetlike vegetable superheroes whose powers relate to their nutritive value. Colby Carrot, for instance, has supersight. Appearing in videos and dioramas, the Super Sprowtz, created by Radha Agrawal, give the area a “Sesame Street” feel, complete with jokes for parents. (Erica Eggplant’s deep, dark secret: “I like to roll around in bread crumbs.”)

The “Sleep” section illustrates all the functions the body performs during nonwaking hours while zeroing in on more choices. Small children can press buttons for poor bedtime options like “video games” and “TV in bedroom” and see Sleep Stealers — green fabric monsters — inflate. Older children may challenge themselves at a foosball table; one side is labeled “sleep deprived” and the other “well rested.” It’s rigged. “We made it so the sleep-deprived team will usually lose,” Ms. Martin said.

Children also feel the effects of health decisions in the “Play” section. “A lot of kids don’t play sports,” Mr. Ackerman said. “This concentrates on everyday things,” like dancing at home. In a soundproof chamber filled with laser beams, children invent dance moves — stepping in the path of any beam results in an electronic sound — or maneuver ninja style under and around the rays.

Another exhibit offers a variation on the Whac-A-Mole arcade game, accompanied by an electronic bar that players grasp to measure their pulse rates before and after. Children can also press a food choice on a stationary Zike,  a combined electronic scooter and elliptical machine, and see how long it takes to pedal away that snack’s calories. The machine, which uses quantities comprehensible to youngsters — sips and bites — is calibrated for a 100-pound person, but the message is clear no matter who gets on: Burning the 44 calories in two bites of pizza doesn’t happen quickly.

The exhibition, with text in both English and Spanish, includes information that may stun parents: Orange juice has more calories than soda; sleep deprivation causes cravings for fat and sugar; and perhaps most surprising, it takes 8 to 15 tries to persuade a child to accept a new food. So be patient. Those superheroes Erica Eggplant and Colby Carrot haven’t lost the battle yet.

By LAUREL GRAEBER

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11/11/2011

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan Launches EatSleepPlay™: Building Health Every Day Interactive Exhibition, Focusing on Importance of Forming Healthy Habits at an Early Age

First-Rate Fun Meets First-Rate Science with Over 70 Unique Hands-on Experiences

NEW YORK, NY, November 11, 2011 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) announced today that its highly anticipated EatSleepPlay™: Building Health Every Day exhibition will open on Friday, November 11. This exciting, interactive experience allows children and their families to explore how and why food, sleep and physical activity work together to power the body and fuel the mind. The 3,500 square foot exhibit consists of a giant heart and such walk-through organs as the brain, stomach and intestines, making it a truly immersive environment.

Families are challenged to make lifestyle decisions in over 70 activity stations and experiences, ranging from innovative technology games in a 16-foot brain to a chattering stomach, intestines that need cleaning, calorie-burning contraptions and a giant produce cart complete with super-powered vegetables and fruit. By making the right decisions, kids can keep a 7-foot heart pumping, send energy to the brain and move through conveyor belts.

“The opening of EatSleepPlay™ is a testament to CMOM’s unique position to reach families from all backgrounds and provide them with the best information possible on making healthy choices for their children,” said Laurie M. Tisch, Honorary Chair of CMOM. “Our goal is for every family who visits the exhibit to make changes and decisions that lead to a healthy lifestyle.”

An advisory group of renowned public health officials and health professionals, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), guided the exhibit’s concepts and content. Such knowledge and medical insight has been interpreted and combined with CMOM’s proven arts-based educational techniques to provide an inspiring and engaging experience for families.

“Research shows that parents and caregivers are primary influences on children and youth. Delivering science-based information in unique, engaging, and fun ways, helps to reach and empower children and families to make healthy choices,” said Karen Donato, Acting Deputy Director, Division for the Application of Research Discoveries, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“In producing EatSleepPlay™, CMOM drew upon its long history of working with families and knowing how they learn together,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “By targeting both adults and young children, the exhibit’s activities allow for learning, creative play and family discussion about their health and the consequences of their choices.”

The exhibit is composed of five thematic areas:

• Decision Center – Climb up a tongue, through the mouth and into a giant brain – the body’s whirring epicenter. Brain neuroscience is at the center of the EatSleepPlay™ exhibition – with a focus on decision making. Experience an animated, digital game created specifically for the exhibit by CMOM and Linda Gottfried of Color, Light and Shadow. Choices Change yOUR World! is a multiplayer game in which children make choices on a series of touch screen panels, learning the impact of everyday choices on their health and on the well being of their entire community. Or try your best to make healthy choices at breakneck speed at the Snibbe Social Table™ Health Choices tabletop, an interactive digital game where players grab virtual icons, competing with other players for the longest lifespan. Flip oversized switches to reveal hidden ingredients in various foods and compete to stop slick marketing messages from reaching the brain.

• Building Health – Enter the stomach and explore what happens to the food we eat. Act as the gastric gatekeeper to prevent a rush of food into an already full stomach. Crawl with your kids through glowing red intestines and release nutrients from healthy foods, while seeing how fiber cleans the intestine walls. A giant beating heart allows kids to experience how much harder it must work to pump blood through clogged arteries as opposed to healthy arteries. Additionally, in what is sure to be a high-traffic area, The Royal Flush, a talking toilet expounds on the many lessons the body’s waste can teach us.

• Eat – Vegetables have never been this much fun! Sell the freshest produce at an official NYC Green Cart, while using buckets, conveyor belts and chutes to sort the local harvest. Here you’ll meet the Super Sprowtz, a team of super-powered vegetable heroes who fight the forces of unhealthy habits. Dioramas, short videos, books and a scavenger hunt introduce Sammy Spinach, Colby Carrot and Erica Eggplant to children and bring the wonders of vegetables to life.

• Sleep – What’s the connection between sleep deprivation and obesity and other health issues? Informed by the latest medical research, EatSleepPlay™ is the first health exhibit for children to demonstrate the critical importance of adequate sleep on maintaining a healthy mind and body. Uncover all the maintenance work that happens while we sleep: skin heals, blood is cleaned, memories are stored, and hormones regulating growth and appetite are released! Challenge your memory with an interactive bedtime routine game. Discover how it feels to play a game of foosball as a member of both a well rested and sleep deprived team.

• Play – Work off your energy by getting active! Experience how having fun through play impacts physical, cognitive and emotional development. Parents and kids can create music together in a soundproof laser dance chamber. Guests can test their muscles and core strength while competing to stay balanced the longest. Finally, hop on Zikes, a hybrid of a bike, scooter and stair-stepper, and see how long it takes to burn the calories from one brownie!

• Before leaving the EatSleepPlay™ exhibit, families will be encouraged to select a goal that improves one aspect of their health. CMOM will follow up by providing support and encouragement to families through its public programs, online resources and opportunities to share their real life accomplishments.

“With its new EatSleepPlay™health initiative, CMOM will help children and their parents to make more informed decisions about eating and physical activity. By making learning fun, CMOM brings up-to-date science to the people in order to allow families to better protect their children’s health,” said Dr. Nicholas Freudenberg, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health at Hunter College.

Visually dramatic, EatSleepPlay™: Building Health Every Day is designed by award winning artists May & Watkins Design, LLC in collaboration with CMOM staff.

The EatSleepPlay ™ exhibit is part of CMOM’s comprehensive national early childhood prevention obesity prevention initiative, created in concert with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and funded by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Institute for Museum and Library Services, a federal agency, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, the United Way of New York City and the Joan Ganz Cooney Fund at the New York Community Trust.

Other components of the initiative include an arts-based curriculum produced in partnership with the NIH, family programs, professional development with Head Start, and original research. CMOM’s early childhood curriculum will become a government publication in partnership with the NIH We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)® initiative and will be available to all registered We Can! sites in addition to stakeholders nationwide. In addition, CMOM recently announced it will replicate its programs and exhibitions in literacy and health inside public housing in East Harlem, thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

About the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

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09/27/2011

Museum Moves Beyond Its Walls

The Wall Street Journal

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan will open a permanent exhibition in an East Harlem public-housing project in what officials hope can become a national model.

A $565,000 federal grant, awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will fund a 2,000-square-foot installation in the James Weldon Johnson Houses that will focus on health and literacy and include 25 interactive stations, as well as ongoing programming. It’s slated to open in 2013.

Museum experts said the collaboration between the New York City Housing Authority and the Upper West Side institution signals a shift in the role of children’s museums from cultural destinations to centers of social outreach and even activism.

“I think the children’s museum is at the forefront of the changing role that museums are playing in the 21st century,” said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. She called the public-housing program “a really neat model that we hope can be replicated in other parts of the country.”

For decades, children’s museums have gone beyond mini-kitchens and Play-Doh stations to offer educational programming, free tickets to underprivileged visitors and even tutoring. But in recent years, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has cultivated relationships with federal and local governments to develop national curricula around health issues and worked on pilot programs from New Orleans to the South Bronx.

CMOM is absolutely at the cutting edge,” said Janet Rice Elman, executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums. The public-housing project “meets families where they are,” she said. “That is very different.”

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has sometimes been overshadowed in the minds of local parents by the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, which completed an $80 million renovation in 2008. That expansion, designed by Rafael Viñoly, doubled the museum’s size to more than 100,000 square feet.

And it will soon have more competition: On Saturday, the Children’s Museum of the Arts will open a new 10,000-square-foot space in SoHo that triples its previous size. In November, the New-York Historical Society will open the $5 million, 4,000-square-foot DiMenna Children’s History Museum in the basement of its current building.

Officials at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, which is about 38,000 square feet, said they, too, are looking to expand dramatically within the next four years. Despite the sometimes-cramped space, CMOM still boasts the largest crowds: In 2010, the museum welcomed 400,000 visitors, officials said—compared with 250,000 visitors reported by the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

Still, spurred in part by their space constraints, museum officials said they turned their eyes to the surrounding communities.

“Our strategic plan was to identify the most pressing needs for children and families in our city,” said the museum’s executive director, Andrew Ackerman.

Although outreach efforts have “flowered” in the past five to seven years, he said, the approach is consistent with the museum’s original mission, when the institution took up no more than half a floor and shared space with a downtown firehouse: to bring arts to public schools.

Today, visitors mainly “judge the museum just by what they see when they walk through the door, which is good—really good,” said honorary chairwoman Laurie Tisch, whose foundation has provided nearly $1.2 million in funding since 2008. “But that’s not even close to where all the funds are going.”

CMOM is working with the National Institutes of Health to adapt its obesity-prevention curriculum for young children and is testing it in the South Bronx and New Orleans; it’s working with the city Administration for Children’s Services and the United Way of New York City to develop nutrition policies and training at eight Head Start locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan and has joined with the City University of New York to train home-based child-care providers.

“We fill in these gaps for people in our society who are now being asked to do more than they’ve ever been asked to do but aren’t trained for it,” Mr. Ackerman said.

That kind of outreach attracted NYCHA Chairman John Rhea when he wanted to bring museum-quality exhibitions into public housing. “We felt strongly that this was an organization that had a long track record investing in New York and working with low-income families,” he said.

Forging partnerships with a network of government entities is a “unique opportunity for our field,” Ms. Elman said. “I think they’re really setting the stage and laying the groundwork for children’s museums to become even more deeply embedded into their communities.”

By SOPHIA HOLLANDER

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09/27/2011

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum of Manhattan and New York City Housing Authority Partner to Bring First-Ever Interactive Health and Literacy Exhibits and Education Programs to Public Housing

Built To Learn Project supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services Leadership Grant and Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Will Transform City Public Housing into Learning Hub.

New York, NY, September 27, 2011 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) announced today that it has partnered with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to create permanent interactive exhibits and hands-on educational programs inside of city public housing through its Built to Learn leadership project. By recreating the museum experience in public housing, CMOM and NYCHA will transform the Johnson Center in East Harlem into an epicenter of lifelong learning, healthy childhood development, community engagement and workforce readiness. Built to Learn is being funded by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and is also supported by the NYC Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

The James Weldon Johnson Houses in East Harlem will serve as the first Built to Learn demonstration site to integrate 2,000 square feet of CMOM interactive exhibits into its community center and day care classrooms. Built to Learn will adapt CMOM’s IMLS-funded PlayWorks™ early childhood exhibit and upcoming EatSleepPlay™: Building Health Every Day exhibition to provide families and children (ages birth through eight) living in and around Johnson Houses with the experiences and skills needed for lifelong success. In addition, the project will include parent and child engagement programs, professional development programs, workforce programs and community resource development.

“When developing exhibits, programming, research and outreach, CMOM’s focus is on communities and the best way to meet their needs,” said halley k harrisburg, Chairman of CMOM’s Board of Directors. “By working with NYCHA to recreate exhibitions and educational programming in public housing, we are taking the museum experience and its educational opportunities directly to communities that need it most.”

“Developing good reading habits and comprehension skills are absolutely invaluable in the life of a child,” said New York City Housing Authority Chairman John B. Rhea. “Creating partnerships like the CMOM/NYCHA Built to Learn initiative that foster an early appreciation for reading is one of the most important things we can do to give our youth a strong foundation. NYCHA is grateful to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan for joining us in this life-changing effort.”

Programming will begin as early as the beginning of 2012, following a period of community engagement. The East Harlem project, which will open in September 2013, is a pilot with the potential to expand within NYCHA beyond the Johnson Houses.

“Through our partnership with NYCHA, we will bring everyday learning experiences to families, as well as systematic instruction to young children to prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. We will also provide professional development in early childhood education for teachers and other local childcare workers,” said CMOM Executive Director Andrew Ackerman. “Our deep and extensive work with Head Start centers in Brooklyn and at East Side House Settlement in the South Bronx has informed and influenced our arts-based approach.”

Working with NYCHA staff and families at the Johnson Houses, CMOM will develop programming based on the EatSleepPlay health curriculum as well as arts and health related festivals. This programming will serve to strengthen the family and community as the center of lifelong learning, teaching adults how to prepare children for preschool and learn healthy habits. As a new community resource, the exhibit environment at Johnson Houses will be filled with up to 25 interactive stations and activity areas that will engage children through play, exploration and discovery. The carefully designed environment will provide a context to help parents understand this unique time of learning and their critical role in their child’s development. Open-ended activities invite in-depth exploration, and an array of learning stations will target core skills in math, literacy, science, health and art. In addition, graphic signage will provide ongoing “coaching” to parents, teachers and caregivers as they become active partners in the child’s learning.

“CMOM can help to inspire our children. Along with knowledge, there is no greater gift than inspiration,” said Johnson Houses Residents Association President Ethel Velez. “CMOM’s exhibit installations will also enhance educational programming for our entire community.”

About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
The New York City Housing Authority provides decent and affordable housing in a safe and secure living environment for low and moderate- income residents throughout the five boroughs. NYCHA has 334 public housing developments throughout the city and serves more than 600,000 New Yorkers through its Public Housing and Section 8 Leased Housing programs. The Authority works to enhance the quality of life of residents by offering them opportunities to participate in a multitude of community, educational and recreational programs, as well as job readiness and training initiatives.

About the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City
The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is a a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization designed to aid City programs and help develop innovative public- private partnerships such as the Built To Learn project. The Mayor’s Fund is committed to evaluating partnerships to determine feasibility of future funding and several current collaborations are informing the efforts of cities across the country and are helping to shape national policy. For more information, please visit www.nyc.gov/fund.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

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09/07/2011

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott Reads to Children at CMOM!

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08/10/2011

PRESS RELEASE: Children’s Museum Of Manhattan Announces New Grant From National Endowment For The Humanities To Plan Muslim Worlds Exhibition

Exhibit to Increase Understanding Among Children and Families of the Richness and Diversity of Muslim Culture

NEW YORK, NY, August 10, 2011 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) announced today it received a planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for Muslim Worlds, a major new exhibition that will expand Americans’ knowledge of the diversity of Muslim culture.  The new exhibition and an accompanying series of educational programs will combine extensive scholarly and pedagogical research.  Muslim Worlds will include hands-on activities, as well as examples of art, architecture, classic literature and everyday objects to bring to life the similarities and differences of Muslim cultures throughout with world.

With a tentative opening date of 2014, Muslim Worlds will be the first exhibit of its kind to explore the breadth and depth of Muslim cultures worldwide for a family audience in the United States.

“Given that today’s world is smaller, more diverse and more interconnected than that of previous generations, children will encounter people throughout their lives whose culture is very different from their own.  As a child’s attitudes and impressions of those from differing backgrounds are formed early in life, it is important to teach young children to understand and appreciate cultural differences,” said Andrew Ackerman, executive director of CMOM.  “In Muslim Worlds, children and their parents will explore the rich diversity of Muslim culture – the culture of a vast percentage of the world’s people.”

Muslim Worlds will be the third in a series of cultural exhibitions developed and presented by CMOM, utilizing its expertise in translating complex topics for family audiences. The exhibit will be developed with the same rigor as the Museum’s two previous cultural exhibitions – Monkey King: A Journey to China and Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece.

Muslim Worlds will also build upon CMOM’s arts programs in which leading cultural institutions and groups from across the New York City conduct workshops and performances, featuring traditions from Muslim countries.  Such programming includes dance performances and arts-based activities about traditional mosaics, calligraphy and architecture.

In planning for the exhibition, CMOM will engage an Advisory Committee comprised of educators, scholars, and community leaders to explore exhibit concepts, review research and make content recommendations.

In 2010, with funding from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and the Museum’s Board of Directors, CMOM initiated a pre-planning phase for Muslim Worlds.  This phase consisted of a preliminary needs assessment and engagement with leaders from the Muslim community, as well as scholars and educators from the Asia Society, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harvard University, Columbia University and the Open Society, among others.

About The National Endowment for the Humanities
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families.  CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions.  CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages.  Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds.  For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

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06/21/2011

Children’s Museum reports record attendance: The kid-centric institution said it expects to see 400,000 visitors this fiscal year.

Crain’s New York Business
Though the economic downturn has left many cultural institutions across the city financially strapped, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is thriving. The museum, which opened in 1973, announced Tuesday that it was on pace to see a record 400,000 visitors pass through its doors for the fiscal year, ending June 30.

The dramatic surge in demand for CMOM’s kid-centric programming—a 10% increase from the previous high of 365,000 in 2009 and a 20% increase over its average yearly visitorship of 330,000 for the past decade—has prompted the museum to open on Mondays and extend Saturday hours into the evening.

“Our record attendance is a testament to the strength of our exhibits and programming and is evidence of the public’s growing desire for a fun, safe, community environment for families to learn and grow together,” said Andrew Ackerman, executive director of the Children’s Museum, in a statement.

CMOM’s good news comes at an especially inauspicious time for cultural institutions throughout the five boroughs. Many of them, faced with shrinking government funding and donors who have scaled back their giving in light of the lackluster economy, are doing all they can to keep their heads above water.

“Museums are still experiencing a lot of economic stress,” said Philip Katz, assistant director for research for the Washington, D.C.-based American Association of Museums. “Nearly one in five museums say that they are experiencing ‘very severe economic stress.’”

Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the city’s most stalwart cultural institutions, announced that it would raise the suggested price of admission to the museum for the first time in five years, thanks to the challenging climate for cultural institutions.
Mr. Ackerman credits CMOM’s success at weathering the recession’s economic headwinds to a plan put in place in 2007 aimed at diversifying the museum’s funding sources and expanding its array of programs.

“We were very strategic and put in place a business plan based on an expanded mission,” he said. “This allowed us to attract both local and national funding from many more sources.”

Recognizing there was “limited funding in the pipeline for museums to do traditional work” locally, Mr. Ackerman said the museum made the decision to focus on a wider assortment of childrens’ needs. Partnerships with such agencies as the National Institutes of Health—which yielded the first national early childhood obesity prevention curriculum—according to Mr. Ackerman, were particularly critical to bringing increased local and national attention to CMOM’s ongoing activities.
The museum has also become “a vibrant center for professional development and research on early childhood and how families learn,” according to Mr. Ackerman.

Indeed, CMOM has developed strategic partnerships with the City University of New York, the United Way of New York City, the Administration for Children’s Services and public libraries, to offer training opportunities to childcare providers, nurse practitioners and others employed in the areas of early childhood education, health and the arts.

According to the Association of Museums’ Mr. Katz, institutions like CMOM are “holding the line in providing service to the American public, and especially to students.”

The museum, currently playing host to Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!, is already well underway with plans for its next major project: Eat Sleep Play: Building Health Every Day, a permanent exhibition aimed at encouraging young people to stay healthy, set to debut in November.

“We are literally bursting at the seams with activity and opportunity,” said Mr. Ackerman.

By JERMAINE TAYLOR

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06/16/2011

NEW YORK TIMES reviews 'Curious George™: Let's Get Curious'

The New York Times

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s ensured a long, fruitful life for an enterprising little monkey. That’s Curious George, hero of H. A. and Margret Rey’s picture book series, who first appeared on the printed page in 1941 and has gone on to star in films, a PBS Kids TV series, a world of toys and now a traveling museum exhibition for young fans.

The show, “Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!,” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, both celebrates the books and goes beyond them. Created by the Minnesota Children’s Museum, it portrays George’s exploratory enthusiasm as the very spirit of scientific inquiry. This may not be quite faithful to the cheerful anarchy of the Reys’ tales, but it works in a context that depicts George’s protector, the Man in the Yellow Hat, saying, “It’s all in a day’s play. … Children do science every day.”

And children do science here. One exhibit, inspired by “Curious George Takes a Job” (1947), lets them turn cranks to operate pulleys that send a window-washing cutout of George swinging across a building facade. At another station they can make a building, loading foam blocks onto a conveyor belt that sends the blocks traveling along a Rube Goldberg-type structure.

The show has exhibits on light and on wind energy, in which children can make simple pinwheels and wind socks and see more sophisticated examples in motion. H. A. Rey, who was interested in alternative power sources, was also prescient in sending George into space in 1957 in “Curious George Gets a Medal”; a year later the United States launched a rocket carrying a monkey. Here little visitors can climb inside a model of the Reys’ spacecraft.

Although the show’s developers aim at children under 10, I wish they had provided more text about, say, the physics of pulleys. Fortunately, they don’t stint on information about the Reys’ marriage and creative collaboration. (Jews living in France in 1940, they barely escaped the Nazis.) An exhibit includes their photos, sketches and letters, including a boy’s 1963 fan note saying he’d read one of their books “because Curious George is bad, and so am I.”
Well, not bad. Just curious.

(Through Sept. 25 at the Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd Street, 212-721-1223, cmom.org; daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; until 7 p.m. on Saturdays. Free with admission: $11; $7 for 65+; free for under 1 and members.)

MORE

By LAUREL GRAEBER

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05/31/2011

PRESS RELEASE: Children's Museum of Manhattan kicks off summer with Curious George™: Let's Get Curious! exhibit

Traveling Exhibit Introduces Children to Math, Science and Engineering Concepts Through Adventure, Exploration and Curiosity

NEW YORK, NY May 31– The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) announced today the opening of Curious George™: Let’s Get Curious! a traveling educational exhibit that introduces young children to the world of the beloved little monkey and leads families on an adventure filled with fun, interactive math, science and engineering-based adventures. Based on the familiar characters in H.A. and Margret Rey’s classic stories published by Houghton Mifflin, Curious George™: Let’s Get Curious! will be open from from June 11 – September 25.

“Many children lose ground academically over the summer months without adequate emphasis on learning,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “The Curious George™: Let’s Get Curious! exhibit is the perfect way to engage kids in reading, science and math concepts in a fun, hands-on learning environment.”

The interactive exhibit piques curiosity of young children as they explore early science, math and engineering through hands-on interactive play. The immersive exhibit environment takes place in the neighborhood where Curious George lives with his friend, The Man with the Yellow Hat. Families will recognize familiar characters and places featured in the classic stories and the television series produced by Imagine Entertainment, WGBH Boston and Universal Studios Family Productions that airs on PBS KIDS.

The exhibit’s content is based on educational standards developed by Minnesota Children’s Museum and an expert advisory panel to the PBS KIDS series, as well as national science and math standards for young children.

Designed, developed and built by Minnesota Children’s Museum in partnership with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group, Curious George™: Let’s Get Curious! began a five-year, 20-city tour of children’s museums across the country in September 2007. Minnesota Children’s Museum is a national leader in interactive learning and educational programming for children’s museums. The Museum has designed and built numerous exhibits including Adventures with Clifford The Big Red Dog™, The Amazing Castle™, Go Figure™ and Geo-Zoooom™ that travel to children’s museums and libraries throughout North America. The Curious George™: Let’s Get Curious! exhibit is sponsored by 3M.

Inside the Exhibit

Apartment Building
Operate wheels to move George on pulleys from window to window. Climb the fire escape and climb inside to play with color, light and shadow.

Sidewalk Produce Stand
Play customer or salesperson and explore shape, sorting, weighing and counting with fruit and vegetables.

Construction Site
Climb into the construction trailer and design a building, then make use of a bounty of building materials and get to work constructing different structures and using machines to move materials.

City Park
Enjoy the urban green space: rest or give a hug to a full-size George and take a picture!
Our youngest visitors will enjoy our busy wall activities for babies and toddlers.

Mini Golf
Use pipes, ramps, funnels, turntables, bumpers and force to experiment with physics and engineering as you putt through three holes of mini golf.

Space Rocket
Climb into the rocket Curious George took on his space adventure! Catch a glimpse of George in his space suit then take a picture from the control station and email it home.

Farm
Take a vacation to the country and visit the farm. Experience cause and effect and use wind power to move yard art like whirligigs, windmills, windsocks, and wind chimes. Build your own whirligig and care for the farm animals.

Museum Within the Museum
Learn new things about George when you visit the Museum within the Museum. Follow H.A. and Margaret Rey’s work, the escape from France to safety during World War II that saved the Curious George manuscript, and Curious George throughout the years.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

About Minnesota Children’s Museum
Minnesota Children’s Museum is a non-profit community organization committed to sparking children’s learning through play. Infants through children age 10 discover their world through hands-on exhibits in five permanent galleries and two special galleries that offer exciting traveling exhibits from around the world. Fun, interactive activities such as Story Time and Big Fun! take place daily. Minnesota Children’s Museum has been providing children and adults with a fun, educational environment for more than 25 years. The Museum is located at Seventh and Wabasha streets in downtown St. Paul. For 24-hour information, visit www.MCM.org or call 651-225-6000.

About Universal Studios Consumer Products Group
Universal Studios Consumer Products Group is responsible for global licensing and retail strategies as well as building brand recognition of the extensive catalogue of Universal properties. Universal Studios Consumer Products Group is a unit of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% owned by Vivendi.

About Houghton Mifflin Company
Boston-based Houghton Mifflin Company is one of the leading educational publishers in the United States, with more than $1 billion in sales. Houghton Mifflin publishes textbooks, instructional technology, assessments and other educational materials for elementary and secondary schools and colleges. The Company also publishes an extensive line of reference works and award-winning fiction and nonfiction for adults and young readers. With its origins dating back to 1832, Houghton Mifflin combines its tradition of excellence with a commitment to innovation. The company’s web site can be found at www.hmco.com.

About Houghton Mifflin Trade and Reference Division
Houghton Mifflin’s Trade and Reference Division publishes adult, juvenile, and reference books. Its adult titles encompass literary fiction and a broad spectrum of nonfiction. Houghton Mifflin’s children’s lists include numerous Newberry and Caldecott Medal winners and constitute one of the richest backlists of children’s literature in the industry.

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05/22/2012

PRESS RELEASE: Recording Artist Björk Partners with New York Public Library and Children’s Museum of Manhattan to Launch a New Educational Programming Series

Free Programs for Kids Inspired by Singer’s Latest Work Biophilia Uses Interactive App To Foster Learning Through Music

NEW YORK, NY – The New York Public Library and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan will announce today a partnership with Icelandic recording artist Björk to produce educational programming and a curriculum based on Biophilia, the musician’s latest work, which the New York Times described “among the most creative, innovative and important new projects in popular culture.” The NYPL and CMOM program is based on the innovative Biophilia iPad app designed by Björk and her team of leading developers, which iTunes named one of the top five music apps of 2011.

Working in cooperation with the Center for Arts Education, NYPL and CMOM will host a series of Biophiliainspired programs. Programs at NYPL and its select branches are aimed at middle school children and begin in July with additional dates in September and October. CMOM will offer daily drop-in programming school groups, summer camps and families with children ages 3-11, beginning July 6th and running through December 30th

“I’m so honored that The New York Public Library and Children’s Museum of Manhattan are up for this,” said Björk, a longtime advocate for education through the arts. “I’ve spent 4 years on Biophilia and these are dream homes for the project.”

Biophilia uses the track listing from Björk’s 2011 album of the same name to create 10 “in-app experiences” that explore the relationships between music and natural phenomena, teaching kids about science and music in an innovative way. The app includes an interactive game, musical animation for each song, an animated score, lyrics, and text that help students to learn about different musical features while exploring the ideas behind each song. Fast Company magazine included Björk in their list of “The 100 Most Creative People in Business” and the Webby Awards named her “Artist of the Year” for her work integrating science, art and technology.

“The world of education is changing, and I am so proud that the Library is involved in providing programming and supporting the tools that will allow young people – our future – to continue to learn in new, interactive, and exciting ways,” said NYPL President Anthony W. Marx. “The Biophilia app makes knowledge more accessible to children, and inspires them to learn more – both key missions of the Library, as well.”

Biophilia is at the forefront in the development of arts-based education and the development of a child’s creative thinking,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “Its portability allows for learning to take place anywhere – at school, the library and in a family setting at home. By leveraging the extensive network of the Center for Arts Education in combination with the NYPL, we will be able to reach thousands of children and teachers over the next six months.”

Biophilia creates new and exciting opportunities for arts integration adding depth and creativity to music and science studies,” added Eric Pryor, Executive Director of The Center for Arts Education.

For a complete list of NYPL’s Biophilia programming, please visit: nypl.org/teens

For a complete list of CMOM’s Biophilia programing, please visit: http://www.cmom.org/visit/calendar

CMOM thanks The Creators Project – an organization devoted to creativity, culture and technology – for their generous donation of over a dozen iPads to the Museum for the Biophilia workshops.

To donate first and second generation iPads, please contact: Tom Quaranta at tquaranta@cmom.org or 212-721-1223 x247.

New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Its renowned research collections are located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th Street and Madison Avenue. Eighty-seven branch libraries provide access to circulating collections and a wide range of other services in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. All in all The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org.

Contact: Angela Montefinise | 212.592.7506 | angelamontefinise@nypl.org

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds.

Contact: Todd McGovern | 212.721.1223 | tmcgovern@cmom.org

About The Center for Arts Education
The Center for Arts Education (CAE) is dedicated to ensuring that all New York City public school students have quality arts and creative learning as an essential part of their K-12 education. CAE was created in 1996 in response to the Annenberg Challenge to Education reform, and today is the only arts education organization in New York providing a combination of school-based residences in four art forms, professional development, and active public engagement and advocacy efforts.

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05/05/2011

PRESS RELEASE: Children's Museum of Manhattan Receives $250,000 Gift from Goldman Sachs Gives for its Eat Sleep Play Health Initiative

Donation to Help Fund Museum’s Comprehensive, National Effort Aimed at Prevention of Early Childhood Obesity

New York, NY, May 5, 2011 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) announced today a gift of $250,000 from Goldman Sachs Gives, a donor-advised fund, to help fund Eat Sleep Play: A CMOM Health Initiative which focuses on the prevention of obesity in early childhood. The contribution was made at the recommendation of Robin Vince, Head of Operations at Goldman Sachs and member of CMOM’s Board of Directors.

“The Eat Sleep Play initiative is making great strides in changing the way people think about making healthy lifestyle choices,” said Mr. Vince. “We hope this gift from Goldman Sachs Gives will allow CMOM to build healthy communities here in New York.”

Eat Sleep Play: A CMOM Health Initiative focuses on developing healthy lifestyles in early childhood – the time researchers have confirmed that habits (good or bad) are formed. The multifaceted initiative consists of a permanent exhibit (opening in November 2011), family programming and original research. In addition, CMOM is running family health outreach programs in the South Bronx and New Orleans, and professional development programs with Head Start, the City University of New York and other organizations. In conjunction with the NIH, CMOM has developed an arts and literacy-based curriculum that is under consideration by the NIH and USDA to be the first federally approved curriculum for the prevention of early childhood obesity. If approved, the NIH will make the curriculum available nationwide for use in schools, community centers and children’s museums. CMOM is also partnering with a major design firm to develop products, such as a portion control plate, which will be available through a national retailer.

“Creating sustainable change requires bringing together leaders from across government, education, foundations and the private sector with members of the community. CMOM is doing this in practical, imaginative and fun ways,” said Laurie M. Tisch, Chairman Emeritus of the CMOM and President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, provider of seed funds for the initiative. “Eat Sleep Play will change how families make choices around food, exercise and sleep, and will become a model for other cities throughout the country.”

In addition to funding from Goldman Sachs Gives, Eat Sleep Play is funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the United Way of New York City.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

About Goldman Sachs Gives
Goldman Sachs Gives is a donor-advised fund—a public charity that maintains individual accounts for donors who recommend grants to qualified non-profit organizations from their accounts. Established in 2007, Goldman Sachs Gives enables Goldman Sachs and its people to leverage their donations to charities in the communities where they live and work, or elsewhere around the globe. The focus of this organization is on those areas that have been proven to be fundamental to creating jobs and economic growth, building and stabilizing communities, honoring service and veterans and increasing educational opportunities.

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04/21/2011

PRESS RELEASE: United Way of NYC Partners with CMOM and Other Organizations to Fight Early Childhood Obesity in Low-Income Communities

Educators to Train Head Start Staff and Families in Establishing Healthy Habits at An Early Age

New York, NY, April 21, 2011 – United Way of New York City (UWNYC), the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), and The Children’s Aid Society (CAS), launched Healthy Eating for a Healthy Start, a pilot project to impact nutrition policies at eight Head Start centers throughout New York City. Working together, these organizations will build the capacity of Head Start centers to support staff and families in developing new knowledge, behaviors and policies that will result in healthier eating habits and more active lifestyles, wellness promotion and ultimately, policies within Head Start centers that encourage healthy eating and greater physical activity. Healthy Eating for a Healthy Start is generously supported by the Aetna Foundation.

The pilot project consists of training sessions run by CMOM educators during which Head Start staff and families are provided with activities, tools and resources that reinforce strategies for practicing good nutrition, promoting physical activity and addressing the role sleep plays in a child’s overall health. In addition, CAS staff trainers instruct Head Start food service staff on basic nutrition, menu planning and how to prepare healthy meals from scratch.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Start provides Head Start staff and parents with consistent and important obesity prevention information, reinforced by a curriculum that is adaptable for home. This integrated approach has the potential to create a stronger safety net for low-income children and families.

“One of United Way’s core tenets is our commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles, particularly in NYC’s underserved communities where children are especially at risk for obesity and its related illnesses,” said Gordon Campbell, CEO of United Way of New York City. “With more than 40% of NYC children in Head Start considered obese or overweight, it is essential that we promote healthier food consumption among these children. Healthy Eating for a Healthy Start is doing this by working to improve nutrition literacy among Head Start staff and families. By partnering with these organizations to address the root causes of child obesity, we can work to promote sustainable, healthy change.”

“Developing healthy habits is an important part of ACS’s efforts to prepare young children for success in school and beyond,” said Melanie Hartzog, Deputy Commissioner for Child Care and Head Start at ACS. “Thanks to this United Way partnership, families and staff in our Head Start programs have the opportunity to benefit from the unique experience of the educators at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan working with families in need.”

“As a pediatrician and a public health researcher, I have seen the obesity epidemic grow in our most vulnerable populations with serious long-term health ramifications,” said Anne C. Beal MD, MPH, president of the Aetna Foundation. “By taking a comprehensive approach, involving Head Start staff, the children and their families, the Healthy Eating for a Healthy Start program has the potential to reverse the obesity trend among young people in New York and be a model for Head Start programs across the country.”

“Establishing positive, healthy behaviors early in life provides children with a strong foundation to grow into healthy adults,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “We’re replicating our successful health programming outside the museum walls and into the communities where it is most needed. Our goal is nothing less than a reduction in the prevalence of childhood obesity in low-income communities.”

“Children’s Aid believes that in addition to providing wellness education to children and families, we must model healthy eating by serving nutritious meals to children in our care. Our trainings provide food service staff with the knowledge and cooking skills they need to prepare from-scratch meals based on whole and fresh foods. We aim to eliminate in children’s meals the processed, heat-and-serve foods that are high in fat, sugar and sodium, and to greatly increase children’s consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains,” said Richard Buery, CEO, Children’s Aid Society.
The pilot program culminates with the Healthy Eating for a Healthy Start Family Festival for all participants to be held at CMOM on June 4.

About United Way of New York City
United Way of New York City (UWNYC) brings together people, resources and ideas to achieve lasting systemic changes that improve the education, income stability and health of New Yorkers, and foster a more robust and effective nonprofit sector. We believe that everyone has a role in building a better future for all. We offer diverse opportunities for New Yorkers to give, advocate and volunteer to advance the common good. To learn more about our work and how to get involved, visit www.UnitedWayNYC.org.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

About the Administration for Children’s Services
The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) provides a broad range of programs that protect and advance the interests of children, including child welfare services, early childhood education services and juvenile detention services. ACS administers one of the largest publicly funded child care systems in the country, serving approximately 120,000 children. This includes the Head Start program, a federally funded, family-centered child development program for low-income pre-schoolers that promotes intellectual, social, emotional and physical growth in order to develop each child’s potential for success.

About the Children’s Aid Society
The Children’s Aid Society is an independent, not-for-profit organization established to serve the children of New York City. Our mission is to help children in poverty to succeed and thrive. We do this by providing comprehensive supports to children and their families in targeted high-needs New York City neighborhoods. Founded in 1853, it is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative non-sectarian agencies, serving New York’s neediest children. Services are provided in community schools, neighborhood centers, health clinics and camps. For additional information, please visit www.childrensaidsociety.org.

About the Aetna Foundation
The Aetna Foundation, Inc. is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed $394 million in grants and sponsorships, including $15.6 million in 2010. As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteered more than 2.3 million hours since 2003. Our current giving is focused on addressing the rising rate of adult and childhood obesity in the U.S.; promoting racial and ethnic equity in health and health care; and advancing integrated health care. For more information, visit www.AetnaFoundation.org.

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01/13/2011

PRESS RELEASE: Children's Museum of Manhattan Celebrates the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with Three Days of Programming Focused on Service to Others

New York, NY, January 13, 2011 – As part of its “Raising Citizens: Martin Luther King, Jr. Festival,” The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) will host its “Make a Difference Teen Awards” ceremony on Monday, January 17. The awards, which are given in partnership with DO Something and New York Cares, go to local students who best exemplify Dr. King’s commitment of service to others. The ceremony will be preceded by a performance by the Harlem Gospel Choir. The award-winning students will also speak to other children at CMOM about their service projects and encourage them to make a pledge to start their own.

MLK Day events kick off on at CMOM on Saturday and Sunday, January 15 – 16, with activities highlighting Dr. King’s legacy within the civil rights movement and also his commitment to service of mankind. Children can work with CMOM staff to design their own “Pledge Medal” with ideas of how they can affect change in their neighborhood, as well as make collages devoted to the concept of diversity. Saturday also includes a performance by PBS award-winning guitarist Aaron Nigel Smith. The Harlem Gospel Choir concert and the Raising Citizens: Make a Difference Teen Awards begins at 3:00pm, on Monday, January 17. At 4:00pm, the award winners will share their passion for service and their projects in an interactive presentation.

“These teens embody the hopes and dreams Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had for all people, no matter their race, creed, color or gender,” said Lee M. Hendler, Raising Citizens Program Consultant for CMOM. “Their work, both across the globe and in their own communities, is a testament to Dr. King’s belief that citizens of all ages can make a difference in creating a better, more just world.”

This year’s Raising Citizens: Make a Difference Teen Award recipients from Do Something are:
Ben Hirschfeld, 17
, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
Ben founded and runs Lit!, an organization that donates and distributes safe, no cost, and environmentally friendly solar lanterns to schools in Nairobi’s largest slum.

Myles Miller, 17, New York, NY
Myles runs Ed Race, a national project aimed at reforming education in America using social media.

Raising Citizens: Make a Difference Teen Award recipients from New York Cares are:

Jonathan Fernandez, 17, Bronx, New York
Jonathan is currently a Team Leader with the New York Cares Youth Service Club and volunteers at events such as New York Cares Winter Wishes, serving meals to people living with HIV, and working with seniors and children.

Andrea Rosero, 17, New York, NY
Born in Ecuador, Andrea has been a part of the New York Cares Youth Service Club at her school for the past three years. In this time, she has been trained as a Youth Team Leader and participated in over 25 projects.

Joshua Davis, 17, Brooklyn, NY
Joshua is a Team Leader for the New York Cares Youth Service Club and has played an essential role in recruiting other volunteers. He helped paint a mural with a crime prevention message at PS 135 and helped start a garden at his school. In addition, he has been the driving force in starting a mentorship program at his school.

“Martin Luther King Day is a time to reflect on his dream of equality for all people, and also a time to act on his call of service to others,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “Our activities during the three-day festival will show even young children that they can make a difference in their community.”

Raising Citizens focuses on six major American holidays and how each reflects the qualities of a healthy democracy. Engaging activities in museums and at home allow families to experience renewed meaning in our civic calendar and turn what is usually a day off into an opportunity to teach the next generation what it is to be good citizens. As part of Raising Citizens, CMOM created a series of public programs with experiences and hands-on activities to spark intergenerational conversation about civic responsibility and action. “Make a Difference” was made possible by the generous support from the Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds. The Freedom’s Feast web site (www.freedomsfeast.us) provides fun online ceremonies and other programs to extend the celebration, conversation and action beyond the museum walls.

For a complete list of the day’s events, please visit www.cmom.org or see below:

Raising Citizens: Martin Luther King, Jr. Festival

In Our Neighborhood Collage
Sat-Sun, January 15 – 16
10am & 1pm | 4 & younger | PlayWorks™Lab, 3rd Floor
Children celebrate diversity as they make a collage featuring the many different places and faces of New York City.

Make a Difference Medals*
Sat – Mon, January 15 – 17
12, 2 & 3 | 5 & older | Creativity Lab, 4th Floor
Explore Martin Luther King, Jr’s legacy and the role children can play in making a difference. Make your own pledge medal to improve your neighborhood or community.

Performance: Aaron Nigel Smith*
Saturday, January 15
2 & 3pm | all ages | Lower Level
Join pop musician Aaron Nigel Smith, member of the PBS award winning show, Between the Lions, in an upbeat energetic family show that will get you dancing and singing.

Performance: Harlem Gospel Choir*
Monday, January 17
2 & 3pm | all ages | Lower Level
Join this world famous choir as they perform inspirational gospel music to “bring people and nations together.”

Raising Citizens Make a Difference Teen Awards
Monday, January 17
3pm | all ages | Lower Level
Six New York City teens will be awarded CMOM’s Raising Citizens Make a Difference Award for their outstanding service work.

Service Presentations by Teens*
Monday, January 17
4pm | ages 5 & older  |  Discovery Classroom, 3rd Floor
New York City teens will share their passion for service and their amazing projects in an interactive presentation.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to kids and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

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01/06/2011

PRESS RELEASE: CMOM Teams Up with Equinox, Pure Yoga and Whole Foods Market: Columbus Circle for "Fitness Challenge"—A Day of Family Fun with Classes in Movement, Yoga and Dance as Well as Food Tasting.

New York, NY, January 6, 2011 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) will host a day-long “Fitness Challenge” on Sunday, January 9, as part of its Healthy Lifestyles programming. In partnership with Equinox, Pure Yoga and Whole Foods Market: Columbus Circle, CMOM invites children and their families to join in exercise classes, yoga, obstacle courses and food demonstrations and tastings – all aimed at the importance of making healthy choices at an early age. All activities are included in the cost of admission to the Museum, which is located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Funding for Sunday’s program comes from The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and The Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS), a federal agency.

As part of the day’s theme of “Fitness Challenge,” instructors from Equinox and Pure Yoga will lead classes for kids and their parents, focusing on stretching, movement, dance and family fitness. In addition, parents and children can experience the fun of eating healthfully, making fruit wraps with Healthy Eating Specialist, Ebeth Johnson from Whole Foods Market: Columbus Circle.

“The importance of physical activity and good nutrition are at the very foundation of the Equinox, Pure Yoga and Whole Foods Market brands, and the mission of The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. These partnerships help us raise public awareness about the importance of establishing good habits at a very early age,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director at CMOM. “The Fitness Challenge is an example of our family-based, creative, fun, approach to being healthy.”

In addition to providing classes during the event, Equinox will also be raffling off a 1-month gym membership and giving away 500 1-day passes and stress balls. Whole Foods Market: Columbus Circle will provide information, including The Whole Deal booklet and healthy eating tips and recipes.

For a complete list of the day’s events, please visit www.cmom.org or see below:

Children’s Museum of Manhattan Healthy Lifestyles Festival
Fitness Challenge
with Equinox, Pure Yoga, Whole Foods Market: Columbus Circle

Sunday, January 9
10 am – 5pm

Pump it Up Obstacle Course
10 – 12pm
Lower Level all ages
Crawl through tunnels, jump into hoops and test your balance skills on CMOM’s Pump it Up Obstacle
Course.

I Love My Veggies
10 & 1:30pm ages 4 & younger
PlayWorks Lab – 3rd Floor
Create a garden collage with paper cut-outs with your favorite veggies.

Whole Foods Market: Columbus Circle
1 – 4pm all ages
Discovery Classroom – 3rd Floor
Learn about the four pillars of nutrition as you make a healthy and delicious snack using whole foods
That are low in fat and high in nutrients. Instruction provided by Whole Foods Market’s Healthy Eating Specialist, Ebeth Johnson.

Fitness Fun with Equinox
2 & 3pm ages 4 & older*
Lower Level
Fitness Fun with Equinox
Join Equinox instructor, Amanda Young, and move to the beats with easy-to-learn Latin and internationally infused dance steps. The music is sure get your family fit and having fun with Zumba!
Enter to win a free one month Equinox membership.

Pure Kids Kula
4pm ages 4 & older*
Lower Level
Join Pure Yoga instructor, Lara Benusis, for a fun and interactive program for children (and parents) to explore the gifts of yoga.

*Tickets distributed one hour before each event at the Visitor Information Desk. Space limited.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to kids and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org.

About Equinox Fitness Clubs

Equinox Fitness Clubs operates 50 upscale, full-service facilities in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Boston, Dallas and DC. The company offers an integrated selection of Equinox-branded programs, services and products, including strength and cardio training, group fitness classes, personal training, spa services and products, apparel and food/juice bars. Since its inception in 1991, Equinox has developed a lifestyle brand that represents service, value, quality, expertise, innovation, attention to detail, market leadership and results.

About Pure Yoga

Americans first became acquainted with Pure Yoga, Asia’s premier yoga studios, when the company partnered with Equinox in 2008 to open its first U.S. location on New York City’s Upper East Side and a second location in 2009 on the Upper West Side. Pure Yoga is best known for its extensive schedule and for housing an incredible variety of both traditional and contemporary yoga practices in one 20,000 square foot modern minimalist space. Its more than 20 full-time certified instructors are dedicated and passionate. Workshops for all levels taught by internationally acclaimed guest yoga masters and world-respected teacher training programs round out Pure Yoga’s offerings to ensure students experience a deeply rewarding yoga journey. Visit pureyoga.com for more information.

About The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund
The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund is a New York City based foundation that strives to improve access and opportunity for all New Yorkers. Founded in 2007 by philanthropist Laurie M. Tisch, the Illumination Fund supports innovative solutions to long‐standing problems in the city through programs and initiatives such as the NYC Green Carts, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s Healthy Lifestyles Initiative, the Lincoln Center’s Illumination Lawn and the NYC Civic Corps. While the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund does not limit grant making to specific issues or organizations, the Illumination Fund consistently champions innovative solutions to long‐standing city problems in education, the arts, healthy lifestyles and service in order illuminate solutions that transform our urban landscape.

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04/25/2010

Fashions And Flowers

The New York Times

EVENING HOURS
Bill Cunningham
Fashions And Flowers

April 20: The Children’s Museum of Manhattan honored Andrew S. Ackerman, its longtime executive director, at a dinner at the Metropolitan Pavilion
20. LAURIE TISCH and ANDREW S. ACKERMAN.
21. JUDITH HANNAN, left, and HALLEY K HARRISBURG.
22. JENNIFER and MARK PEARLMAN.
23. STEPHEN MERINGOFF and KIM CHARLTON.

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04/23/2010

Andy Ackerman: Universal Practice of Jewish Tradition

Some of the best applications of Jewish wisdom are not necessarily found in our own community but rather in the broader secular community —from Jeffrey Sachs’ work on poverty to Eli Broad’s support of charities and the arts. A great example from the tri-state area is Andy Ackerman, who has made a major impact as executive director of the Children’s Museum in Manhattan (www.cmom.org). He was honored this week for his 20 years of service by the museum and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. We spoke with Ackerman about how he applies Jewish wisdom through his work.

Commitment to Community
It is all about giving time, money and expertise to provide assistance to people and to projects where my expertise has been important. After reading about the need for a Holocaust center in Rockland County in the 1980s, I volunteered to help develop professional museum practices. My family has worked at the same soup kitchen for almost 20 years, serving meals to those in need in our town. We have chosen our careers to help children and families, which are at the core of transmitting human values. Our commitment is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition and values about education and caring for the disadvantaged. In essence, it is part of the commandment of tikkun olam, even if we can only heal a small part of the world.

Childhood Obesity Initiative
In helping to fight the rise of childhood obesity, the Children’s Museum has launched a national project to develop activities and materials to help families change their diet and exercise regimen. Rooted in the ancient Jewish tradition of caring for the poor, an updated version is not only to feed the poor but also to feed them healthfully.

Passover: Particular and Universal
So many secular groups and leaders (the Founding Fathers, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc.) have embraced the Passover narrative and draw on it for inspiration and an understanding of freedom. In Judaism it works on many levels and is a paradigm for family interaction and the transmission of knowledge from generation to generation. The seder is brilliantly structured interactively and it is the parent’s responsibility to encourage and teach the children to ask questions. Inquisitiveness is a core value of Jewish identity.

Advice to Jewish Community
After many decades of solid innovation, the Jewish community needs to connect resources to maximize the effectiveness of each effort and to combine efforts to avoid costly duplication.

Andy’s Accolades
“I have had the great privilege and honor of working with Andy for over 20 years during which time our relationship has grown from board chair and executive director to include friend, confidante and huge admirer. There are many things that make Andy so excellent at his job: at the very top of the list are his empathy, deep regard and respect for children and their families from all walks of life, and the firm belief that we live in a democratic society where the arts, education and health care should and must be equally available to everyone.”
Laurie M. Tisch is one of New York City’s major philanthropists, best known for her founding role in the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and The Center for Arts Education. Laurie’s foundation, Illumination Fund, supports organizations like the American Jewish World Service and JCC in Manhattan.

“One of Andy’s most potent and endearing qualities is his ability to listen and his desire to learn. To me, Andy is the walking embodiment of the Pirke Avot teaching: ‘Who is wise? He who learns from everyone.’ His insatiable curiosity keeps him young, vibrant, empathic and the perfect leader for the Children’s Museum. He understands and models that our children are often our greatest teachers. Creating places and spaces where others may ‘learn from everyone’ is Andy’s special gift.”
Lee Hendler is founder/director of Freedom’s Feast and program consultant to CMOM on Raising Citizens, a new year-round public civics initiative. Lee and her family foundation, Joseph & Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds, support many Jewish initiatives and organizations.

Vital Stats
Favorite Jewish food: My wife’s chicken soup with kneidelach
Favorite Jewish or Yiddish phrase: The highest form of charity is anonymous.
Guilty pleasures: Chocolate, naps
Favorite movie: “The African Queen”
Favorite book: Book of Judges
Living hero: Jane Goodall
Hero of all time: Abraham Lincoln
Greatest accomplishment: A long career in education
11th commandment: Take the first 10 seriously.
Greatest regret? Not being fluent in Hebrew.

As Seen In The Jewish Week | April 23, 2010
By Mark Pearlman of JInsider

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04/20/2010

Children’s Museum of Manhattan Gala

On April 20th, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) held a gala to honor Executive Director Andrew S. Ackerman for his 20 years of leadership and service. Guests were warmly welcomed by Mr. Ackerman, along with CMOM Board Chair halley k harrisburg and Honorary Board Chair Laurie Tisch. Notable attendees included Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Giants’ defensive end Justin Tuck, New York Liberty legend Kym Hampton, Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Chairman of the NYC Housing Authority John Rhea, and NYC Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Kate Levin. (Shown right: halley k harrisburg, Andrew Ackerman, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Laurie Tisch)

The gala began with a festive cocktail reception featuring a Tombola Wall, a European-style raffle of luxury items donated by New York City arts and cultural organizations, sports teams, and entertainment concerns. The imaginative decor was created by 360 Design and DwellStudio. The dinner program included remarks from Andrew Ackerman, Halley Harrisburg, Laurie Tisch, Kate Levin, John Rhea, and Justin Tuck. The delicious healthy food was provided courtesy of Hudson Yards Catering .

Since the early 1980’s, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has been serving New York City families in the areas of early childhood education; creativity in the arts and sciences; healthy lifestyle programs; and exploration of world cultures. The Museum, located in The Tisch Building at 212 West 83rd Street, Manhattan, reaches more than 350,000 children and their families and school groups each year. CMOM accomplishes its mission through a combination of offerings including museum exhibitions, classes, workshops, performances, and festivals. Its outreach programs at nearly 50 sites throughout New York City, bring services to families who might not otherwise benefit.

 

Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, NY, NY | 04.20.2010 | by Merry Esparza

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04/15/2010

Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) Celebrates Family Health, Early Childhood Education and Creativity

Honors Andrew S. Ackerman, Executive Director, for 20 Years of Service

with Special Guest Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

What:
Gala to celebrate 20-year leadership of Andrew S. Ackerman as CMOM’s executive director, and his service to families throughout New York City in health, the arts, literacy and early childhood education.

Tombola Wall, a European-style raffle of nearly 200 luxury items, donated by 40 of the city’s arts and cultural organizations as well as major sports teams and entertainment businesses. 360 Design and DwellStudio designed the decor for the event. Hudson Yards Catering is providing healthy food.

Who:
Special Guests: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
New York Giants’ Justin Tuck, defensive end
New York Liberty legend Kym Hampton
Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch
Maria Cuomo Cole and Kenneth Cole, fashion designer

Dinner Chairs:
Laurie M. Tisch, honorary board chair
halley k harrisburg, CMOM board chair
Judith Hannan, former CMOM board chair
Mark B. Pearlman, former CMOM board chair

When:
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
6:30 p.m. Cocktails
7:30 p.m. Dinner

Where:
Metropolitan Pavilion
125 West 18th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues
New York City

Background:
Since the early 1980’s CMOM (www.cmom.org) has enriched the lives of more than 350,000 children and their families and school groups each year through visits to its West 83rd Street building in Manhattan and its off-site programs throughout the city and the country. Its programs and exhibits are designed to address the many ways children learn and help parents and caregivers foster their children’s development. CMOM also does outreach in literacy, health and the arts to the poorest families in New York and makes early learning a joyful experience!

Contacts:
Renee Edelman, Edelman: 212.704.8249; Jake Basden, Edelman: 212.704-8246;
Molly Peterson, DwellStudio: 646-442-5623

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03/31/2010

Children's Museum of Manhattan to Host Festivals Showcasing the Best of the Arts Thru 4/3

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is hosting the Best of the Arts Festival and the Best of the JAZZ Arts Festival showcasing New York City’s finest in dance, performance art and jazz. The festivals feature lively performances by New Victory Theater, Ballet Hispanico, Garth Fagan Dance, and Dance! Out Loud with Jennifer Muller/The Works and WeBop presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center. The festivals serve to make the arts accessible to children and help bring an appreciation for jazz music to a new generation. Best of the Arts Festival takes place March 27-28, 30-31 and Best of the JAZZ Arts Festival takes place April 2-3, 2010.

“Despite being in a city as culturally rich and diverse as New York, performing arts may not be readily accessible to children, especially given budget cuts and limited funding for art programs in schools,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director, Children’s Museum of Manhattan. “CMOM is responding to this need by bringing the best and the brightest of New York City music, dance, theater and visual arts to all children to enrich their lives, cultivate a love for the arts and prepare them with the creative tools to become innovative leaders of tomorrow.”

The Best of the JAZZ Arts Festival features performances by WeBop presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center and a reading of Jazz Baby by author/illustrator R. Gregory Christie while Danny Grissett and Patrizia Ferrara perform. Performers in the Best of the Arts Festival include Garth Fagan Dance, a world-renowned modern dance troupe led by distinguished choreographer Garth Fagan; Ballet Hispanico, the foremost dance company fusing Latin dance elements with classical and contemporary forms; Dance! Out Loud with Jennifer Muller/The Works, known for its energetic, organic movements; and the New Victory Theater (New Vic), New York City’s first and only full-time performing arts theater for kids, their families and classmates.

The Best of the Arts and Best of the JAZZ Arts Festivals continues CMOM’s commitment to creating innovative, arts-based programming for children. Late last
year, CMOM joined The New Victory Theater for a year-long program called Play’s the Thing to encourage families to integrate arts and creativity into their daily lives. CMOM is a leader in creating and implementing innovative and engaging programs that reach a wide audience of children and families. The museum presents exhibitions, workshops, performances and other learning opportunities created by a team of professionals and scholars to provide educational opportunities that help children from diverse ethnic, economic and cultural backgrounds develop their minds during their most formative years.

Best of the Arts Festival (Upcoming Performances)

Performance: Dance! Out Loud with Jennifer Muller/The Works
Wed, March 31
2 & 3pm | 3 & older
Energetic, inspired, electrifying! The Works happily returns to CMOM, bringing exciting dance moves to delight the hearts of children and adults alike!

Best of the JAZZ Arts Festival (Upcoming Performances)
Performance: Jazzy Reading
Fri, April 2
2 pm | all ages
Learn about melodies and jazz improvisation as author/illustrator R. Gregory Christie reads Jazz Baby while Danny Grissett and Patrizia Ferrara perform.

Performance: WeBop®
Sat, April 3
3 pm & 4 pm | all ages
Jump, jive, wiggle and giggle along with jazz favorites. Presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Best of the Arts Festival (Previous Performances)
Performance: Garth Fagan Dance
Sat, March 27
2 & 3pm | 3 & older
Enjoy this company, renowned for its pioneering Signature technique and the diversity and power of its dancers.

Performance: Play’s The Thing: Parallel Exit
Sun, March 28
2 & 3pm | 3 & older
Parallel Exit clowns around in advance of their spec-tap-cular show TIME STEP at the New Victory Theater in April! Presented by The New Victory Theater.

Performance: Ballet Hispanico
Tues, March 30
2 & 3pm | all ages
Ballet Hispanico thrills audiences with its magnetic energy and dynamic exploration of the Latino Diaspora. The Company performs a range of modern dance styles, always celebrating the rich heritage of Hispanic cultures.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to children and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org or call 212.721.1234.

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01/14/2010

Children's Museum Of Manhattan To Honor Teens' Service On MLK Jr. Day

To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is holding a “Make A Difference” program that includes arts and crafts, speakers and a special performance by the Harlem Gospel Choir. Six teenagers are also receiving the 2010 Raising Citizens Martin Luther King Jr. Service Award for their commitment to changing the world.

Make a Difference
January 16-18
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 West 83rd Street
1-212-721-1223
www.cmom.org
$10 Admission

By: Shelley Goldberg

 

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11/14/2009

Time Out New York Kids: Weekend Picks

WCBS

With not so great weather for at least part of the weekend, parents may be scrambling to find some stuff to do with the kids. Time Out New York Kids has some great suggestions. Roy Halperin, their managing editor, has more.

Time Out New York Kids: Weekend Picks

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11/05/2009

Museum & Sites Review: "Listen to the Wind: Artwork of Susan Roth" at the Children's Museum of Manhattan

Time Out New York Kids

Marvel at the breathtaking original collages from best-selling children’s book.

It’s necessary to begin with a disclosure: Unlike most of the installations at this Upper West Side tot spot, this exhibition is not interactive. But don’t take that to mean it’s not engaging. On our visit, even the lure of nearby blocks and Tinkertoys didn’t stop curious kids from running over to examine the show’s colorful collages. The attraction of Susan L. Roth’s work is undeniable. The collagist has created illustrations for 40 children’s books, including Listen to the Wind, the best-selling adaptation of the adult tome Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Journey to Change the World…One Child at a Time, Greg Mortenson’s award-winning memoir about building schools in Pakistan. All of the original collages made for the work are featured in this small but satisfying exhibit.

Although the illustrations pop off the printed page (a copy of the book is available to leaf through), when seen in their three-dimensional glory, they dazzle in their intricacy. Finely sliced paper looks like real-life hair; paper apricots somehow have the texture of fruit. Roth’s tools are also showcased, and there’s not a pen, pencil or paintbrush in sight. (She cuts and glues her collages by hand, eschewing preliminary sketching). Inspired by Pakistani artifacts made from recycled items (such as a hat beautifully ornamented with broken zippers and fractured computer chips, which is also on display), Roth primarily used found objects to create the pictures for Listen to the Wind.

In addition to the framed collages, you’ll see a bright yellow banner adorned with an array of paper dolls running atop the exhibition wall. These are self-portraits created by kids from all over the world. All of the figures in the multicultural mélange are holding hands, a moving representation of the book’s message about reaching across the divide to help one another.—Raven Snook

“Listen to the Wind: Artwork of Susan L. Roth” is on view at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan through Jan 11. The artist will lead collage workshops at the museum on Fri, Nov 6, Sun, Nov 8 and Sun, Dec 6.

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11/02/2009

Profiles in Caring: Bringing The Arts To The City's Littlest Museum-Goers

New York Family

HALLEY K. HARRISBURG, Board Chair of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan

halley k. harrisburg’s artistic savvy emerged early: As a child learning cursive, she so detested the look of a capital “H” she adopted the current all-lowercase spelling. “My parents were convinced when I was filling out college resume applications I would never get in,” she remembers. “It’s always been an aesthetic choice, and I stuck with it.”

Today, as board chair of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the font-sensitive little girl now works tirelessly as an adult to bring kids their own unique opportunities for self-expression at the nation’s largest children’s museum.

In a world of roped-off exhibits and Do-Not-Touch placards, CMOM’s kid-friendly, interactive programming is the antithesis of stuffiness. “It’s a magical building for parents and children to get together and discover the arts, sciences and themselves,” harrisburg says. With workshops, live performances, festivals–and even birthday parties–harrisburg thinks of the museum as more than just a play space, saying, “We are bringing the best of the arts alive.”

With two young daughters of her own, harrisburg appreciated the museum as most New York City parents do: as an enriching place children actually want to go back to. “I realized after several months of my first daughter using the museum that the museum was really losing money on my family–we were there a lot,” she laughs. Her art history background and experience co-running the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery with her husband led harrisburg to approach a board member about getting involved. Six years later, harrisburg has helped to expand CMOM’s fine arts programming by inviting notable artists to work with kids and, in the process, as she puts it, “reconnect with their inner child.”

The goal of making art more accessible has always been a personal one for harrisburg. Educational programming and partnerships with New York City public schools have been the mainstay of her and her husband’s gallery from the beginning. It’s part of the reason harrisburg is so proud of CMOM’s dedication to offering reduced or free admission to its diverse array of families. “To walk around and hear the different languages, to see every skin color,” harrisburg describes, “I just get great satisfaction in knowing that [the museum] has potentially connected a child to the world in a different way.”

From literacy programs in the Bronx to working with pediatric cancer patients, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s outreach is far and wide. And while harrisburg envisions moving to a bigger facility so the museum can do more of its work on an even larger scale, her girls, like kids around the city, are perfectly content with the 81st Street address for now. “My girls have a lot of memories in the building,” says harrisburg. “It’s an extension of our home.”

By Erika Thormahlen

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10/23/2009

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attends a news conference at the Children's Museum of Manhattan on childhood obesity

The Wall Street Journal

NEW YORK – OCTOBER 23: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebeliusattends a news conference at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on childhood obesity onOctober 23, 2009 in New York City. Sebelius, who attended the event with New York CityMayor Michael Bloomberg, spoke about the growing issues of obesity in school aged childrenin New York and the country. The museum is launching a pilot program in coordination withthe National Institutes of Health at the East Side House Settlement, a public housing facility in the Bronx, to educate children about nutrition. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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10/23/2009

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attends a news conference at the Children's Museum of Manhattan on childhood obesity on October 23, 2009 in New York City

Daily News

NEW YORK – OCTOBER 23: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attends a news conference at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on childhood obesity on October 23, 2009 in New York City. Bloomberg attended the event with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to highlight the growing issues of obesity in school aged children in New York and the country. The museum is launching a pilot program in coordination with the National Institutes of Health at the East Side House Settlement, a public housing facility in the Bronx, to educate children about nutrition. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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10/23/2009

NY, LA children's museums will use arts to fight childhood obesity

NEW YORK (AP) – Museums in New York and New Orleans will use the arts to fight childhood obesity.

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is launching a pilot program at the East Side House Settlement, a public housing facility in the Bronx. Then the Louisiana Children’s Museum will follow suit.

The National Institutes of Health is a partner.

The project will be geared toward children ages 2 to 5 and their families.

It will use art, music and storytelling to teach kids about good nutrition. Parents will receive handouts with recipes and tips about healthy eating.

If it’s successful, it could be used nationwide.

The announcement was made by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (seh-BEEL’-yuhs) and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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10/23/2009

Children's Museum Unveils Obesity Program

NY1

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was at the Children’s Museum in Manhattan on Thursday to unveil a program to combat childhood obesity.

The museum is a recipient of more than $1 million in grant money for a three-year program that is meant to serve as a national example. It will be in addition to the health and nutrition programs the museum already offers.

The funding will also go toward spearheading a national We Can initiative.

Childhood obesity is considered to be a major epidemic in the city and across the country.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he hopes putting an emphasis on education will have a large impact.

“Obesity is the only major public health problem in this country that is actually growing,” Bloomberg said at the unveiling of the program. “The others are either stable or reducing. But obesity is a politically-charged thing. It is a difficult thing. Everyone knows when you watch your waist line how difficult it is. And when you see 40 percent of the kids in our public schools being overweight, that is not good.”

The program, which is focused on serving high-risk communities, will be based out of a housing facility in the Bronx. A sister program has also been set up in New Orleans, Louisiana.

By: Kafi Drexel

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09/15/2009

Gotham sites team up for kid-legit series

Variety

Initiative to feature holiday specials, circus classes

Kid-centric Gotham venue New Victory Theater has partnered with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan on an initiative called “The Play’s the Thing,” a yearlong series of programs introducing kids to legit. Series kicks off Saturday with a “New Vic Studio Sampler,” featuring classes in circus basics by New Vic teachers.

Also Saturday, Children’s Museum teachers will lead a program called “Calder-inspired Circus Dioramas,” in which kids will build their own art projects. On Oct. 18, the theater/museum coalition will host the Halloween program “New Vic Family Ghoul Times.” At the end of the year, the orgs will feature a Dec. 29 holiday special starring troupe the Flaming Idiots, “Chestnuts Roasting on the Flaming Idiots.”

All “The Play’s the Thing” events will take place at the museum on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

By SAM THIELMAN

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07/03/2009

American Dream Quilt

The New York Times

The Declaration of Independence captured American ideals with words on paper. On Friday evening the artist Faith Ringgold will show children how to do the same with images on cloth.

“We’re going to make an American Dream Quilt,” said Ms. Ringgold, whose own vibrant story quilts are in museum collections, including the Metropolitan’s and the Modern’s. At the Children’s Museum of Manhattan she will lead visitors in honoring the Fourth of July by piecing together their own tales of liberation and renewal. “What images come to mind when they think of freedom in the United States?” asked Ms. Ringgold, best known to young readers for her quilt-theme picture book “Tar Beach.” (Above, Ms. Ringgold in front of the quilt “Tar Beach 2.”) “What other images can they cut out that bring to mind life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?”

Each family will decorate a 9-by-9-inch square, creating fabric figures and designs that the children will glue on. (A holiday singalong will be part of the fun.) While some may make squares to take home (they will also receive pamphlets on quilting), most will contribute their pieces to the group project. The quilt, consisting of selected squares — predominantly red, white and blue, like the one above — will later be sewn together and displayed in the museum.

But the patriotic spirit doesn’t end there. On Friday and Saturday the museum will hold other workshops (collages, painting, more quilts), and Ms. Ringgold’s will inaugurate Raising Citizens, a yearlong initiative. Revolving around significant holidays, Raising Citizens will encourage civic participation and introduce values like service, sacrifice and, at this workshop, vision.

By interesting young people in the United States’ heritage, “our aim is to celebrate how far we’ve gotten but also to understand how far we have to go,” said Andrew S. Ackerman, the museum’s executive director.

Even without the holiday symbolism, quilting is still an act of citizenship, Ms. Ringgold observed. “It helps to tell stories,” she said. “It helps to keep people connected with their past and with their struggles and triumphs.” And as children of different cultures gather, they too will be a joyful patchwork of American life. (Friday from 5 to 7:30 p.m., 212 West 83rd Street, 212-721-1223, cmom.org; free. Other workshops free with museum admission: $10; $7 for 65+; free for members.)

By LAUREL GRAEBER

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06/07/2009

Art & Museums: Wild rides

Time Out New York Kids

Two new exhibits tap into the joys of fun parks.

Before you empty your wallet at Playland or Six Flags this summer, teach your kids a thing or two about their stomach-churning amusements. Two local museums are featuring themepark exhibits, and both deliver head-spinning thrills along with subtly taught science lessons.

The straightfowardly named “Amusement Park Science” can be found in the lower level of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. A cartoon newt (chosen in honor of Sir Isaac Newton) greets visitors and appears on signs at 12 activity stations; each details how Newton’s Laws of Motion make a ride zoom, spin or loop-de-loop. Some attractions here are interactive: At Bump-O-Ramma, kids smash together rubber-rimmed disks (a la bumper cars) to foster understanding that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The Amazing Momentum Machine, a circular spinning platform that youngsters can jump aboard, reveals the behavior of rotating objects.

Coincidentally, the New York Hall of Science has a similar exhibit: “Rocket Park Mini Golf” is a real outdoor course designed to illustrate how the laws of motion that guide spaceships are the same ones that cause golf balls to soar. Located next to two historic NASA rockets, the nine holes are laid out to represent the trajectory of a complete space flight.

To “blast off,” children must swing with enough force to keep the ball from rolling back to them; similarly, a spaceship must reach a velocity high enough to escape Earth’s gravitational pull. The final hole, of “Splash Down,” requires tykes to putt toward a target on a rotating model Earth. It’s not the easiest course, so don’t be surprised if your children are eager to improve their scores–and tee off through the galaxy all over again.

Amusement Park Science” is on view through Sept 10. “Rocket Park Mini Golf” opens June 20. For venue information, see Museums & Sights.

By Leanne French

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04/30/2009

Kids' Musician Laurie Berkner Plays Along With NY1

NY1

 NY1 Parenting Correspondent Shelley Goldberg met up with children’s musical artist Laurie Berkner at a special appearance at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

Berkner will also play at a special benefit concert at the Children’s Museum on Saturday, May 2 at 1 p.m. Visit www.cmom.org for tickets.

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01/16/2009

'Dear Mr. President'

The New York Times

You’re never too young to have a political opinion.

Just ask the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, which recently initiated an unscientific study of the subject. In weekend workshops that began last Saturday, the museum has invited visitors to honor the presidential inauguration by writing to Barack Obama. The theme? Their hopes and concerns for the new administration.

”We designed it for kids 6 and above, but we don’t have an age limit,” said Andrew S. Ackerman, the museum’s executive director. Some small citizens have contributed drawings or messages transcribed by Mom. One 4-year-old exhibited youthful altruism: ”I want chocolate for all the kids in the world.”

The project, ”Dear Mr. President: NYC Children Write Letters About Their Future,” is more than an exercise in civics. Some messages will be put in a document and sent to Mr. Obama. ”One of our educators, Jamie Kim, came up with the idea of a mural in the shape of an American flag,” Mr. Ackerman said. The staff has attached selected letters to the flag, above, and there are so many — more than 500 as of press time — that the museum is starting a second mural. (Until the end of the month, children can also e-mail their messages to kidshopes@cmom.org.) In addition to exhibiting the mural in the museum and on its Web site, ”we’re trying to find a way to send it down to Washington for one of the inaugural parties,” Mr. Ackerman said.

Mr. Obama may want to take heed. One girl who described herself as ”a United States citizen” asked him to help all longstanding immigrant residents without green cards. Another worried about the environment: ”Help save the polar bears and the plants.” And Mr. Ackerman was struck by how many children referred to the poor economy, with requests for jobs for their parents and the plea ”Please get us out of this depression.”

One girl offered indisputably sage advice. ”Mr. President,” she wrote, ”take it one step at a time.” (Saturday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd Street, 212-721-1223, cmom.org. Free with admission: $10; $7 for 65+; free for members.)

By LAUREL GRAEBER

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12/14/2008

Chris Rock: My Girls Want a Playdate with Obama's Daughters

Chris Rock: My Girls Want a Playdate with Obama's Daughters

People

With Christmas around the corner, comic Chris Rock’s daughters have a tall order on their wish list – a visit to the White House.

“His girls are a little older than mine,” said Rock about President-elect Barack Obama’s daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7. “My girls want a playdate. They look at the youngest and they’re like, ‘We can play with her, Daddy.’ We’ll see.” While Rock works on making that happen, he made a wish come true for a group of tots from the East Side Settlement House Friday night when he took time out from his busy schedule to read Pinkalicious at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. And reading the tale, about a girl who eats so many pink cupcakes that she wakes up with pink skin and hair, was a piece of cake. “It’s my daughter’s Zahra’s favorite book,” the actor said of his four-year-old.

As for his holiday plans, Rock, who also has a daughter, Lola, 6, looks forward to spending Christmas at his mom’s home in South Carolina now that he’s a family man.

“Christmas (as an adult) before I had my kids was so uneventful,” said Rock. “They were basically like, ‘Argh, I wish this Christmas thing would be over so I can get back to work.’ But now I love the ritual of it. I love the ‘are they asleep yet?’ I love playing Santa.”

By Ivory Jeff Clinton

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11/27/2008

Parenting: Where to Go

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11/13/2008

NYC museum offers portion-size workshop

NEW YORK (AP) – A group of children attending a workshop on healthy portion sizes this week was given paper plates and art supplies and told to compose a meal of pretend food.

Half of each plate was supposed to be devoted to fruits and vegetables, one-quarter to protein and one-quarter to starch.

But it wasn’t easy — the kids had trouble thinking of a vegetable they liked.

“I’m used to eating potato chips and stuff like that,” said Cristina Carbonell, 10. “I want to stop but it’s so hard.”

The workshop was a project of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, which was recognized with an award last month from the U.S. surgeon general’s office for its work combating childhood obesity.

Previously the children’s museum has tackled health issues through interactive exhibits like “Body Odyssey,” which led kids on a tour through giant bowels and blood vessels.

Executive Director Andrew Ackerman said museum officials have been concerned about childhood obesity since before it was recognized as a public health crisis.

“We see families and kids every day,” Ackerman said. “In the late ’90s we began to notice that the kids who were coming into the museum were heavy. And it was noticeable.”

Another demonstration looked like movie night at the three bears’ house — a big bowl of popcorn, a medium-sized bowl of popcorn and a small bowl of popcorn. Which bowl had the most?

The children thought the small bowl had the most because it was full. But when workshop leader Zach Tutlane emptied each bowl into a measuring cup, they could see that all three had the same amount — four cups.

“The bowl or the container or the plate or whatever it is that we eat off of or eat from, it really affects the portion size of what we eat,” Tutlane said.

According to the surgeon general’s office, 12.5 million American children are overweight or obese. Overweight children are at greater risk for serious health problems including heart disease and diabetes.

Dr. Ileana Serrano, the pediatrician at the Downtown Health Center, where the workshop was held, said she invited museum staffers to present their nutrition workshop because she thought her patients needed it.

“My goal is to bring an obesity program to the clinic here because a large percentage of my patients are overweight or obese,” she said.

Serrano said that both kids and parents need instruction about portion sizes.

“Our concept of portion size has been completely distorted in recent years, in terms of how fast-food restaurants have things supersized, and just American culture in general,” she said.

“I think we just tend to have big plates, pile everything on the plates, try to get as much as we can for the money, and I think that message just permeates adults’ and children’s meals.”

By KAREN MATTHEWS

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11/03/2008

Preschoolers learning healthy lesson at East Side House Settlement

Preschoolers learning healthy lesson at East Side House Settlement

Daily News | Bronx

Students at East Side House Settlement early childhood education program will be learning the ABC’s of healthy eating habits.

Some Bronx preschoolers and their parents soon will be learning the ABCs of staying healthy.

The East Side House Settlement in Mott Haven has partnered with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan to add health education classes to the Bronx group’s early childhood literacy program.

“A sick child can’t learn and will not have the energy and attention span that children who are better fed and healthier have,” said John Sanchez, who heads the nonprofit, which provides education services to students and families. “This ties in neatly to our work.”

East Side House Settlement and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan have been working together for the last three years to offer the literacy program for preschool children.

Families voluntarily participate in three hour-long classes a week, where instructors use art, music and storytelling to help children learn. Families also receive a book each week to practice what they’ve learned.

The literacy program, which is offered at three Bronx housing sites, reaches about 55 to 60 families each year.

“The children learn that learning is fun, and the parents learn that teaching children is fun,” Sanchez said. Now the plan is to add fun lessons about healthy habits.

Organizers are fund-raising and working on a curriculum in hopes of rolling out the new program by spring. The goal is to make learning about healthy eating habits exciting, said Andrew Ackerman, who heads the Children’s Museum.

“No one wants to be lectured at,” he said. “We want to make this fun and embracing. People learn better when they’re happy and enjoying themselves.”

It is important to start these lessons early, said Leslie Bushara, deputy director of education at the Children’s Museum.

“We’ve learned that reaching children when they’re very young and parents with young children is really a critical step in changing any patterns in behavior,” Bushara said.

Organizers said this could be a positive step forward to reversing trends that plague the area.

According to city health statistics, the Bronx has the highest obesity rate of all the boroughs, with about 42% of elementary school students considered overweight or obese.

“If we can get families to choose fruit over dessert or even water over soda, we can make a real difference,” Bushara said.

Sanchez agreed, adding that these classes are especially needed in the South Bronx.

“The South Bronx is not a place where healthy eating options are very available, and preventative care and advice is even more scarce,” he said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for parents and children.”

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan was honored recently by acting Surgeon General Steven Galson for its work in preventing childhood obesity.

BY TANYANIKA SAMUELS

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11/02/2008

Admiral Steven Galson, Surgeon General and Laurie Tisch, Founder of the Children's Museum Launch Anti-Obesity Campaign

Admiral Steven Galson, Surgeon General and Laurie Tisch, Founder of the Children's Museum Launch Anti-Obesity Campaign

Education Update

When seeking information on childhood obesity, a museum rarely comes to mind as a helpful resource. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) and the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS) are changing that perception in a partnership with We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition) program. In recognition of their efforts to combat obesity, Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., presented CMOM and CHCANYS with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future Champion Award.

“By educating individuals and families about good nutrition, the value of healthy choices, the importance of preventive medicine and medical screening…ultimately the prevention of obesity is possible. What you are doing shows that you ‘get it’ here in New York City,” said Dr. Galson.

The 2007 New York City Youth Risk Survey found that 11.5 percent of students were overweight. Dr. Galson noted that overweight children are at far greater risk for developing numerous health complications from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

We Can! is an educational program designed by The National Institutes of Health to address the obesity epidemic by helping children between the ages of 8 to 13 maintain a healthy weight. The program focuses on educating parents and families on the importance of a healthy lifestyle in home and community settings. It is being implemented in more than 450 communities in 44 states.

In June 2008, CMOM and CHCANYS began creating We Can! programs specifically tailored for New York City families. The program includes health classes for parents in low-income communities and professional development for health educators. 19 community sites in New York City have committed to educating community members on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Executive Director of CMOM, Andew Ackerman, attributes the program’s success to an ideal partnership. “When we explain that we bring together great health professionals working in clinics with educators who know how to work with families, people get it quickly,” said Ackerman.

“To make a difference you need to work with partners,” said Honorary Museum Chair Laurie M. Tisch. “Together we are providing the tools our at risk population needs to maintain a healthy weight.”

In addition to its current programs, CMOM plans to add a health component to the training program it conducts for at-home care providers for disadvantaged children with the City University of New York. It also plans to launch a health component to the family-based programs it conducts at the East Side House Settlement in the Bronx; and install a permanent health exhibition.

By JUDITH AQUINO

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10/30/2008

Healthy affair at the Children's Museum of Manhattan

Healthy affair at the Children's Museum of Manhattan

New York Amsterdam News

Last Friday, the Acting Surgeon General, Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., presented the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future Champion Award to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) and the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS), for their efforts in helping to combat childhood obesity. Accepting the awards on behalf of their organizations were Andrew Ackerman, director of CMOM and Wanda Montalvo, R.N., M.S.N., A.N.P., chief clinical programs officer of CHCANYS.

A first for New York State, the award applauds CMOM and CHCANYS for their collaborative efforts on a comprehensive, new anti-obesity initiative that encourages physical activity through direct family interaction. In addition, the program also promotes the establishment of parent health ambassadors in low-income, at-risk communities, as well as offering professional development for health educators.

The CMOM/CHCANYS initiative is part of the National Institute of Health’s WE CAN! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition) program. The science-based WE CAN! program is a national education initiative designed to help children maintain a healthy weight through programs that promote an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits as well as (making) healthy choices.

Pooling with numerous partners in the community, CMOM/CHCANYS integrate CMOM’s creative educational methods with the medical and diagnostic expertise of community health centers. Through this viable program, CMOM/CHCANYS are able to reach into low-income communities and the relationships it has developed with families. All of this supports the idea that community-wide collaborations are necessary to provide and reinforce positive behavior.

In presenting the award, Galson, who was in New York on an ongoing “Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future” tour, which serves to bring attention promising, community-based programs such as CMOM/CHCANYS, said: “I am pleased to present the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future Champion Award to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the Community Health Association of New York State, and to highlight their efforts to address the critical needs of children who may be susceptible to obesity.”…

Prior to giving the awards, however, Dr. Galson share three staggering statistics: “In the U.S., 12.5 million children and adolescents—17.1 percent of people ages 2 to 19 years—are overweight. In addition, nearly half of all elementary school children (43 percent) and Head Start children (42 percent) in New York are overweight or obese. Among New York City high school students, about 12 percent are considered obese, as they are greater than the 95th percentile for BMI.”

Galson further revealed, “The obesity epidemic is real and its implications, especially for young people, are profound.” He then pointed out these facts:

1) Childhood overweight prevalence nearly tripled for children ages 6 to 11 since 1980. Today approximately 9 million children over the age of 6 are considered overweight in this county.

2) Overweight children are at a far greater risk for numerous health consequences, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

3) The federal government first identified childhood overweight and obesity prevention as a national health priority seven years ago.

Galson cautioned, “The stakes are higher today!” He then urged the collective participation of everyone in changing the eating and activity habits of American children. He also offered plausible solutions, saying “By educating individuals and families about their good nutrition, the value of healthy choices, the importance of preventive medicine, medical screening, the delay and, ultimately, prevention of overweight and obesity is possible.”

In commending CMOM/CHCANYS, Galson said, “The work and leadership of the Task Force membership is impressive.” In addition, he said: “Your outreach to schools, your efforts to encourage them to include lessons about physical activity and nutrition in their curriculum is especially important…what you are doing shows you ‘get it’ here in New York City!”

(Part 2 continues next week with the CMOM model, which the Surgeon General will promote for duplication in other communities.)

By MISANI

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07/13/2008

Dora y Diego llegan al CMOM

Dora y Diego llegan al CMOM

El Diario

La exposición de carácter interactiva atrae a pequeños de todos los idiomas

El mundo de Dora la Exploradora y su primo Diego, dos personajes infantiles hispanos de dibujos animados, se ha plasmado en una exposición inspirada en sus series televisivas que se puede visitar en el Museo de los Niños de Manhattan (CMOM) hasta el año 2010.

“Las aventuras de Dora y Diego” es la primera muestra bilingüe que se realiza en Estados Unidos basada en las series “Dora la exploradora” y “¡Vamos, Diego, vamos!”, y está destinada al público infantil de entre dos y seis años.

La muestra transporta a los niños neoyorquinos a los escenarios originales de las dos series del canal estadounidense Nickelodeon: por un lado, se recrea la casa de Dora; y, por otro, el centro de rescate de animales situado en la selva tropical en el que Diego colabora.

El personaje de Dora, una niña latina de siete años que habla en inglés pero necesita utilizar el español para cumplir sus misiones, apareció en la televisión estadounidense en 2000 y tuvo tanto éxito que la serie se ha retransmitido en veinte idiomas, y se creó también un programa independiente sobre las aventuras de su primo Diego, de ocho años.

A través de una serie de actividades interactivas, los personajes piden a los niños que les ayuden a resolver problemas utilizando el español, al igual que ocurre en la serie, y les enseñan a aplicar diferentes conocimientos a situaciones de la vida real, en lo que podría denominarse como un campo de juegos educativo.

“Se trata de que los más pequeños aprendan mediante la observación y la exploración, como Dora y Diego”, señaló a EFE Liliana Reyes, encargada del diseño de la exposición.

Hace tres años el Museo de los Niños de Manhattan incluyó en sus colecciones una primera exposición basada exclusivamente en las aventuras del personaje de Dora, y, según la diseñadora industrial, hubo una respuesta tan buena por parte del público que decidieron ampliarla y agregar el personaje de Diego.

La nueva muestra ampliada está teniendo también mucho éxito, según dijeron los organizadores, especialmente los programas complementarios que se realizan los fines de semana, en los que los niños hacen piñatas y collages, y aprenden sobre los animales de la selva y la naturaleza.

“La filosofía de esta exposición es inculcar a los niños la inquietud por explorar el mundo que los rodea, el deseo de cuidar de los animales y el de aprender cosas nuevas”, como sus personajes favoritos, explicó Reyes.

Sobre las preferencias del público, Reyes afirmó que “la serie ha sido un fenómeno muy importante tanto en la comunidad hispana como en los niños de aquí”.

“La muestra está gustando por igual a los niños estadounidenses y a los de origen latino”, porque, aunque los segundos “se identifican con los personajes”, los estadounidenses “están muy interesados en aprender palabras en español”, subrayó.

Aunque la exhibición está pensada para el entretenimiento infantil, el museo incluye algunas actividades en las que los niños necesitan la ayuda de sus progenitores.

“Tenemos una serie de textos para padres en los que se les explica las diferentes maneras en las que aprenden los niños en las áreas que cubrimos, que son matemáticas y relaciones sociales”, indicó Reyes.

Adriana Troncoso/EFE

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05/31/2008

A-DORA-BLE!

A-DORA-BLE!

New York Post

That’s the rallying cry these days at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, which recently revamped its “Dora the Explorer” exhibit, turning it into the bigger “Adventures with Dora and Diego.” In a word, it’s heaven – at least as far as my nearly 3-year-old daughter is concerned.

“I am an animal rescuer!” cried Lillian, returning a stuffed Capuchin monkey to its cubby, feeding it and then checking an X-ray of its skeleton.

Whether viewing Click the Camera’s slides of (real) animals, matching (stuffed) baby animals to their mommies or exploring a rainforest cave, she loved her visit to Diego’s Animal Rescue Center.

And when she tired of that, she crossed the rainbow bridge and went into Dora’s casa. She visited Dora’s room, bustled around the play kitchen and played conga drums along with the music for the party. In a word: Fantastico!

“The Adventures of Diego and Dora” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 W. 83rd St., (212) 721-1234. Admission: $9.

By LISA MARSH

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05/25/2008

Fiesta time

The Star-Ledger

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has opened “Adventures with Dora and Diego,” a new permanent exhibit replacing its former Dora the Explorer exhibit.

The bilingual exhibit uses various interactive elements to help educate young visitors about Latino culture, science and animal facts. Kids can visit Dora’s house, a fiesta and Diego’s animal rescue and care center. There is also a tropical rain forest. The multisensory exhibit is composed of two Dora and Diego environments.

The museum also will host special weekend workshops and activities to coincide with the exhibit. Kids will make rain forest animal puppets, decorate mini-piñatas and create fiesta birthday hats.

The museum is in the Tisch Building, 212 W. 83rd St., between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. (The museum is open tomorrow, Memorial Day.) Admission is $9; $6 for seniors. Call (212) 721-1223 or visit cmom.org.

— Allison Freeman

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04/11/2008

Press Release: Adventures with Dora and Diego Opening

Children’s Museum of Manhattan to Premiere New “Adventures with Dora and Diego” Interactive Exhibition on May 20 Inspired by Award-Winning Nickelodeon Preschool Series Go, Diego, Go! and Dora the Explorer

New Multi-Sensory Exhibit Transports Kids to Dora’s House and Diego’s Animal Habitats and Provides Learning Opportunities About Latino Culture, Preschool Science and Animal Facts

NEW YORK – April 11, 2008 – On May 20 the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) will open its “Adventures with Dora and Diego” exhibition, the nation’s only museum exhibition inspired by the popular characters from the award-winning Nickelodeon series Go, Diego, Go! and Dora the Explorer. CMOM, Nickelodeon and series’ creators Chris Gifford and Valerie Walsh have collaborated to create a multi-sensory environment that transports kids to the shows’ familiar settings like Dora’s house, Diego’s Animal Rescue Center and a tropical rainforest. The bilingual exhibition uses various interactive elements to help educate young visitors about Latino culture, science and animal facts.

“CMOM is thrilled to be the home of the country’s only museum exhibition inspired by Dora and Diego, two characters who motivate children every day to learn more about the world around them,” said Andrew Ackerman, Director, Children’s Museum of Manhattan. “This new exhibition echoes the character’s spirit of education and exploration with CMOM’s mission to prepare young children with the social and academic skills needed for school and lifelong learning.”

“This exhibition presents a wonderful opportunity for us to expand the lessons Diego and Dora teach, like problem solving skills, math, language and Latino culture, beyond the television screen and into real life,” said Brown Johnson, President, Animation, Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group. “Diego and Dora inspire kids around the world to learn through observation and exploration, and the CMOM exhibition will be a new playground where they can learn and play with their favorite preschool friends.”

Adventures with Dora and Diego” replaces CMOM’s “Dora the Explorer” exhibition which opened in December 2004. Following the launch of the original exhibition, CMOM experienced a substantial increase in attendance and membership. Over the past four years the original exhibition drew a diverse range of children and families. Throughout the halls of CMOM children can be heard saying “I want to go to Dora” in dozens of languages.

The new exhibition will also be a base for CMOM’s extensive outreach efforts, with exhibition-based programming in community centers, hospitals and after-school programs across the city. CMOM will host a regular series of workshops and activities to support the themes in “Adventures with Dora and Diego,” including weekend art programs beginning May 20 where kids will be able to decorate mini piñatas, make fiesta birthday hats and create rainforest animal puppets. On May 18, CMOM will host a special gala fundraiser which will include an exclusive preview of the exhibition to raise funds for the museum’s 48 community outreach programs in and around New York City.

The “Adventures with Dora and Diego” exhibition is comprised of two separate Diego and Dora environments. As visitors approach the exhibition, they are met by visual representations of Dora and Diego and their friends, Boots and Baby Jaguar, gathered around a yellow Rescue Truck. A mural that features Dora and Diego swinging along on vines creates an illusion of being up in the rainforest treetops. Additional features of the exhibition include:

  • Animal Habitats: This Diego-themed installation features a cut-out of the animal rescuer and Baby Jaguar. Kids can explore a cave, cloud forest, beach and rainforest that house various animals in need of rescue. The habitats include problem solving tasks like helping a Blue Morpho butterfly find its way out of a cave and helping to clean up a polluted beach so sea turtles can lay their eggs.
  • Diego’s Animal Rescue Center: At Diego’s Animal Rescue Center, kids can climb a set of stairs and are greeted by Alicia. Visitors can look through Click, Diego’s part locator, part telescopic camera friend, and see images of animals in the rainforest, peer through a spotting scope, and use the computer station to view photographs of animals and learn facts about Latin American animals.
  • Diego’s Animal Care Station: Kids learn how to feed and care for animals in this section of the exhibition which features a “stethoscope” to hear animal heartbeats and a light table where kids can examine the x-rays of various animals. Additionally, there is a “footprint rubbing station” where kids can use paper and crayons to create their own rubbings and use them to identify animal footprints in the exhibition.
  • Dora’s Fiesta: This exhibition helps kids learn problem solving skills while taking them on an adventure that requires them to cross the lake to get to a party at Dora’s house. Along the way, kids must build the walls of Rainbow Bridge while also helping Dora’s friends Boots, Tico, Benny, and Isa get to the party.
  • Dora’s House: Inside the house, visitors find Dora’s friends dressed for a fiesta. Kids can become a part of the festivities and learn different skills including: how to play musical instruments – drums and xylophone; how to cook Latin American foods, or the words to Spanish songs as they listen to the radio in Dora’s room.

CMOM is a leader in creating and implementing innovative and engaging programs that reach a wide audience of kids and families. The museum presents workshops, exhibitions and performances created by a team of professionals and scholars to provide educational opportunities that help kids from diverse ethnic, economic and cultural backgrounds develop their minds during their most formative years.

About the exhibition
The “Adventures with Dora and Diego” exhibition opens May 20, 2008 at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan located in The Tisch Building at 212 West 83rd Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam.

About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to kids and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibitions and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, please visit www.cmom.org or call 212.721.1234.

About Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go!
Dora the Explorer
is a play-along, animated adventure series starring Dora, a seven-year-old Latina heroine whose adventures take place in an imaginative, tropical world filled with jungles, beaches and rainforests. In every episode, Dora and Boots invite the audience to participate in an exciting adventure, where each step of their journey consists of a problem or puzzle that Dora and the audience must think their way through in order to solve the next problem. In Go, Diego, Go! Diego, with help from his friends, high-tech gadgets and viewers at home, identifies and locates animals in trouble and takes viewers on various adventures. Since its debut on Nick Jr.’s regular weekday line-up, Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go! quickly became the top preschool series on commercial television. Dora the Explorer is currently the number-one preschool show on all of television and Go, Diego, Go! draws approximately 5 million kids 2-5, almost 20 million total viewers (persons 2+), and 8 million adults 18+ each month.

About Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon now, in its 29th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 96 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for more than 13 consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B).

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05/26/2007

Greece is the word

Greece is the word

New York Post

A Poseidon adventure & more at museum journey to ancient times

If your kids’ idea of an odyssey is transferring from the 6 train to the F train, or if the name Homer has them channel-surfing for “The Simpsons,” the new, $2 million exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has a pantheon of ancient Greek gods to answer your prayers.

“Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece” – put together with help from present-day Greece itself – gives young museum-goers a hands-on look at what it might have been like to go on Odysseus’ ancient Homeric journey.

But the interactive trip isn’t just hands-on – it’s body- and feet-on, too. There’s a Cyclops’ Cave complete with fuzzy, “talking” sheep that give hints on how to escape, a Sirens Karaoke Cove that gives new meaning to the lyrics “I will survive,” and a game that has participants rocking and rolling their bodies to steer an animated ship to virtual safety.

Need to blow off a little excess energy? A 13-foot-tall wooden Trojan horse towers over the exhibit. Kids (and agile grown-ups) can crawl around the multiple levels inside and climb to the top for a bird’s-eye view of the 4,000-square-foot exhibit.

Elsewhere, a trio of Greek gods – Zeus (the chief god), Poseidon (god of the sea) and Athena (goddess of war) – hold forth in a temple, where they “discuss” their powers and responsibilities, and the accomplishments of the ancient Greek citizens who honored them.

If you wonder which Greek gods your children resemble – hopefully not the god of tantrums – give them a personality test at one of the computer stations and have them answer riddles about the gods of Olympus.

Just as the ancient Greeks focused on to developing their minds and bodies, so does this exhibit, especially in the “Growing Up Greek” area.

In the Home section – in ancient Greece, women and girls spent all of their time at home – children can don costumes or race Athena in a virtual step-by-step weaving contest.

Young athletes can get a workout in the “gymnasium,” where two mechanical arms on pedestals invite anyone (young or old) to compete in the ancient Olympic sport of arm wrestling.

For budding academic Olympians, an animatronic bust of Aristotle – complete with bobbing chin – is ready to test their mental limits with a game of 20 questions.

But it’s not all about ancient times. Displays also show how those glorious days of a pre-Play-Doh Plato & Co. affect our lives even today.

Whether it’s the democratic method of voting (back then they used black and white pebbles in a bowl, a counting method modern voting machines still haven’t improved upon) or the design from ancient Greek pottery that adorns the rim of a diner coffee cup, reminders of ancient Greece are everywhere.

The ancients even had their own version of the computer: a complex interlocking-gear-driven artifact from circa 150 B.C., called the Antikythera mechanism, which was used by ancient navigators to calculate astronomical positions. A replica of the device is on display.

CMOM, 212 W. 83rd St.; $9. For more information, visit cmom.org or call (212) 721-1223.

By ELLEN R. SHAPIRO

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05/23/2007

A Voyage to Olympus for Young Mortals

A Voyage to Olympus for Young Mortals

The New York Times

The Cyclops, hairy and forbidding, arrived last week. Aristotle, literally a talking head, took his place early this month. The Trojan horse, 13 feet tall, came in April. But Odysseus — the voyaging warrior and undisputed hero of this scene — won’t make his grand entrance until Friday.

That’s because Odysseus is your child, or your neighbor’s child, or any other mortal visiting an exhibition that opens that day at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

Called “Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece,” the 4,000-square-foot show presents an odyssey that is physical, historical, cultural and technological. It is also the Odyssey — that is, Homer’s — with a section that invites a young visitor to navigate a virtual ship on a floor-to-ceiling screen through a hailstorm of boulders, walk a curving balance beam between Scylla and Charybdis, and face other challenges on the journey home to Ithaca.

More than two years in the making, it is the most ambitious and expensive exhibition ($2 million, including programs) that the museum has ever produced, involving five universities, the Greek government, the History Channel (it produced three videos), a panel of some 15 scholars and intensive research with 8- to 11-year-olds.

“It’s our first major exhibition about antiquity,” Andrew S. Ackerman, the museum’s executive director, said in an interview, “and the first time we’ve displayed ancient archaeological artifacts.” Those antiquities, ranging from coins to a sixth-century-B.C. amphora, or vessel, with an image of Athena driving a chariot, were borrowed from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

It is pure serendipity, museum officials say, that the show is opening only a month after the renovated Greek and Roman galleries just across Central Park at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But while the two museum experiences are in some ways complementary, the Children’s Museum says it intends to provide a context to make visits to the Met more understandable. Mr. Ackerman recalled one child in his research group who asked, “Didn’t the Greeks do anything more than make statues?” He hopes the show will answer that question.
“Our goal was not to separate art from history from science from philosophy,” he said. “Traditionally, when you go to an art museum, you only see art. At a history museum, only history. But in ancient Greece, it was all of a piece. We wanted that holistic experience.”

The comprehensive approach is apparent in the four sections of the exhibition, which focuses on two main periods: the late Bronze Age (about 1500 to 1200 B.C.) and the Classical period (about 480 to 323 B.C.) The first area, “The Gods of Olympus,” includes a video introduction to Greek culture narrated by Zeus, Poseidon and Athena, whose tall painted figures preside.

The space also includes digital quizzes about the gods and a chance to play what is essentially a game of 20 questions with Aristotle, a talking bust. The second, “Growing Up Greek,” introduces the household and the gymnasium, or school, with stations that explain the importance of weaving (there is a real loom to try) and the society’s emphasis on physical fitness: two mechanical hands on pedestals invite children (and curious adults) to arm-wrestle.

The “Odyssey” section opens with the huge Trojan horse, whose multilevel interior is open for climbing. Some of the subsequent journey is then presented in physical form — like the cave of Polymephus (the Cyclops), with fuzzy animatronic sheep that bleat when children crawl under them, as Odysseus did to escape — and some in digital form, like a game that presents situations from the Odyssey and asks players to choose among strategies; the game then gives feedback on their responses.

“It’s the ideal of the examined life,” said Megan Cifarelli, an assistant professor of art history at Manhattanville College and the exhibition’s curator. “We want them to reflect on their decisions.”

The last section, “Discovering Greece,” underscores why the museum undertook the project: In addition to models and digitized explorations of Greek science and architecture, the display links Greek forms to contemporary buildings (the White House), Greek discoveries to modern research and ancient Greek to English words.

“There was the realization that this was all really needed,” said Karen Snider, the museum’s deputy director for exhibitions. “Children are no longer getting the exposure to the classics that would give them the grounding for understanding our culture.”

Never, it seems, has so much costly 21st-century technology gone into so many ancient recreations. As well as substantial financing from the city, the museum obtained $285,000 in grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. “This is a kind of model of in-depth, sophisticated humanities education,” Bruce Cole, the endowment’s chairman, said in a telephone interview.

One aspect that helped win the endowment’s support was the museum’s insistence on authenticity. The Greek government provided, at its own expense, replicas of objects — votive sculptures, wall reliefs, household items — that were too fragile to travel. The museum also contracted for a brand-new model of the reconstructed Antikythera Mechanism, a geared navigational device from 150 to 100 B.C. nicknamed the world’s first computer. Even the wall art is period style.

“Something that bothers me in children’s illustrations of the ancient world is that to make them appealing, they feel they have to make them not Greek,” Dr. Cifarelli said. Here, she explained, every image is actually based on, or inspired by, an ancient artwork.

But the desire for accuracy also raised thorny questions, which led the museum to navigate between its own Scylla and Charybdis: to present a watered-down version of ancient Greece or risk offending parents. It ultimately favored realism. There are no fig leaves on the illustrations of male athletes; the text notes that Greek households had slaves; and warfare is addressed, though bloodlessly.

“The history of humanity is the history of conflict,” Dr. Cifarelli said. “And we didn’t want to pretend that it was great to be a woman in fifth-century-B.C. Athens.” In “Growing Up Greek,” children learn that girls were not allowed an education, were confined to the home and were married around 13.

Still, the show, scheduled to travel to four cities after its Manhattan run, has many comic elements. Sometimes there is humor in the artifacts: the text explains that lead bullets (the Greeks shot them via a sling device) were often inscribed with the ancient Greek equivalent of “Ow.” And sometimes the comedy is invented: The “Odyssey” section has a Sirens’ Cove that is a karaoke stand. Here children imitate those bad guys (or rather girls) by singing familiar pop with mischievous new lyrics. For instance, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” becomes “He Will Survive” (a reference to Odysseus), with lines like these:

He should have run into those rocks
He should have slipped into that sea
If we’d known he’d make it this far
We’d have tried to sing on key.

While test groups of children have found the karaoke and the video technology irresistible, the museum is hoping that young visitors will also remember the myths and achievements they refer to. Or, as two of the gods put it in the video, sounding a bit like disdainful middle schoolers: “The Greeks did pretty well.”

“For puny mortals.”

“Gods, Myths and Mortals” runs through December 2008 at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd Street; (212) 721-1223. It then departs on a national tour, beginning in Chicago.

By LAUREL GRAEBER

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02/14/2007

Press Release: Gods, Myths and Mortals Opening

Press Release: Gods, Myths and Mortals Opening

Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) Launches National Interactive Exhibition, to Explore the Legacy of Ancient Greece

Hi-Tech Educational Exhibition Created by CMOM with an International Panel of Scholars and Scientists, Features Exclusive Presentation of the Antikythera Mechanism, Known as the “World’s First Computer”

New York, NY, February 14, 2007 – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated to kids and families, announced today that its groundbreaking Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece exhibition will open to the public on May 25, 2007. Highlights of this exhibition include an “Odyssey experience” that takes children on a journey such through immersive environments as a 13 foot tall Trojan Horse, a Cyclops Cave and the Sirens’ Cove; a gymnasium setting where visitors test their athletic prowess in arm wresting and leg strength; computer programs to reconstruct the Temple to Zeus; and a working replica of the Antikythera Mechanism, a unique archaeological find believed to be the world’s oldest computer (ca. 150 BC).

The exhibition is the culmination of more than two years of research by the CMOM staff, including research with 8-10 year olds about how they want to learn about the past, and collaboration with five universities and the Greek government. Supported and lauded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, a blue ribbon panel of scholars, and top Greek officials and researchers, Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece will provide families with a vivid understanding of how the great achievements of ancient Greek culture are imbued throughout society, and how an understanding of philosophy and history prepares us for the challenges we face in the contemporary world. The 4,000 square foot exhibit will remain at CMOM for 18 months, before traveling to the Hellenic Museum in Chicago and embarking on a four-year national tour.

“By familiarizing ourselves with the culture and democratic ideals of ancient Greece, we gain a deeper appreciation for the political systems, social structures, and cultural attributes of the world we live in today” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “Just as the ancient Greeks gave us some of the top intellectual, astronomical, and mathematical minds, CMOM’s exhibition gives children a profoundly transformative experience.”

“The City of New York is proud to support the Museum in their creation of innovative and interactive programming that gives children of all ages the opportunity to learn about and engage with ancient Greek culture and mythology, the cornerstone of modern civilization,” says Commissioner Kate Levin, Department of Cultural Affairs.

Nancy E. Rogers, Director of the Division of Public Programs National Endowment for the Humanities, believes this project “will offer an outstanding learning opportunity about a very important and fundamental component of western civilization. The humanities themes of Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece are wonderfully developed, and the creative formats show great promise for engaging young visitors in important ideas and concepts about ancient Greece.”

The major themes of the exhibition and educational project include the relationship between the human and divine; rational inquiry of self and the world; transmission of values and ideals in ancient Greece; understanding how we learn about the past; and ancient Greek contributions to modern society, including the arts, democracy, history, and scientific thought and process. Gods, Myths and Mortals is comprised of four main sections, each an interactive, educational immersion into a key aspect of ancient Greek society and mythology.

  • The Gods of Olympus: This section features a dramatic conversation among the great gods Zeus, Poseidon, and Athena, reminiscing about their powers and responsibilities, and speaking with pride about the accomplishments of the ancient Greeks who honored them. Images of ancient myths and the forces of nature flash across the screen. As these distinguished members of the Olympian family introduce ancient Greece, they reveal the many ways gods and mortals interacted. Visitors may take an on-screen personality quiz to discover which of the Olympian gods they are most like and are challenged to figure out the answers to riddles about the Olympian family of gods.
  • Growing Up Greek: In the gymnasium, children arm wrestle using mechanical arms and test the strength of their legs as they learn about ancient jumpers. Children become familiar with the ancient Greek alphabet as they write words in Greek letters or transliterate message from ancient Greek to English. An animatronic Aristotle challenges them to a game of “Twenty Questions.” In the home section, children may engage in a virtual weaving contest with the goddess Athena, create a “textile” on a fixed vertical loom, or explore the steps of textile production—from sheep shearing to weaving — as they turn a “spindle” to see a video.
  • The Odyssey: A Hero’s Journey: This third and largest section of the exhibition is based on Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. Children are challenged to become the greatest of all Greek heroes and seek their own solutions to the trials faced by the hero on his epic journey home from Troy to his palace in Ithaka. Children follow a game path that winds through an immersive environment of rocky caves and open seas. Activities in the environment, such as the Trojan Horse climbing structure, the crawl-through Cyclops Cave, the Sirens Karaoke Cove, and the Homecoming board game in Odysseus’ palace, provide information that helps children play the Odyssey Game. Five computerized “Hero Stations” along the path challenge children with on-screen dilemmas and track their choices. At the end of the journey, the final Hero Station reveals a personalized on-screen Hero Record that can be emailed home.
  • Discovering Greece: This final section of the exhibition brings visitors back to the present, and enables them to learn about ancient Greece and its impact on the modern world by investigating a mysterious object found on a shipwreck– the Antikythera Mechanism, a machine from approximately ca. 150 BC, that calculated planetary movements. It was the ancient Greek understanding of cause and effect (exemplified by the mechanism) that led to the development of the scientific method we use today. At a nearby interactive kiosk, visitors learn how modern technology is being used to unlock the mysteries of the Antikythera Mechanism – known in scientific circles as “the world’s first computer” – by operating a mechanical model (with 30 bronze dials and geared wheels) and learn how this Greek machine is altering our understanding of the history of science.

A 3-D version of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia offers another opportunity to introduce children to the processes involved in discovering, interpreting and reconstructing the past. A computer-based station allows visitors to assist a virtual archeologist through micro-games that teach about column construction, the pediment sculptures, or the giant statue of Zeus. Nearby, children can assemble a scale model of the Temple and learn about ancient construction techniques and the function of temples in ancient Greek society. Finally, a resource area encourages guests to explore how ancient Greece has influenced literature, entertainment, scientific thought and democratic decision-making.

Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece is an undertaking that draws upon an international roster of scholars, educators, filmmakers, and computer experts. The History Channel is producing three original short videos for the exhibition; the University of Cincinnati is creating a computer program to enable children to construct the Temple of Zeus at Olympia; the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is loaning original artifacts; and the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project (Greece, UK, USA) is creating a working replica of the Antikythera Mechanism. The exhibition draws upon Brandeis University’s “The Examined Life” teacher training program and extensive research with children conducted at CMOM. It will also be accompanied by a full array of educational programs for families, school children and educators.

Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece
is sponsored in New York by American Express and supported by major grants from the City of New York, the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Greek Government Ministry of Culture, the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation, the John P. Calamos Foundation, the Jaharis Family Foundation and the History Channel. Additional support is provided by Olympic Airlines and the New York Council for the Humanities.

About The Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to kids and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits, and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For more information, please visit www.cmom.org or call 212.721.1223.

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm.

 

 

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12/01/2006

Press Release: CMOM Collaborates To Exclusively Present New Model of “World’s First Computer”

Press Release: CMOM Collaborates To Exclusively Present New Model of “World’s First Computer”

Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) Collaborates with International Research Group To Exclusively Present New Model of “World’s First Computer” Antikythera Mechanism to American Children

CMOM Announces Plans for National Exhibition and Educational Project on Ancient Greece

New York, NY, December 1, 2006 – A team of top European scientists, collectively comprising the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, today announced its exclusive partnership with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) to reconstruct a new model of the Antikythera Mechanism, known in scientific circles as the “world’s first computer.” CMOM will be the first to showcase and interpret the Antikythera Mechanism for a family audience in the United States and the first to present the newest findings on this mysterious artifact in New York.

During a highly anticipated two-day conference in Athens, Greece, held on Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, researchers from the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project presented their latest research on the Antikythera Mechanism, a remarkable astrological and mathematical device that dates back to 80-100 BC. Employing technology developed by HP Labs (USA) to decipher hidden inscriptions on the Mechanism’s surface for the first time and computed tomography by X-Tek Systems (UK), this team of Greek and British scientists is among the first to study the functions and purpose of this often-analyzed ancient Greek device using the latest technology and by challenging previous research.

Collaborating with CMOM, the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project has agreed to provide exclusive images, insight, and information for CMOM’s Gods, Myths, and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece exhibit, which will open in May 2007. Through this artifact, CMOM will present the role of Ancient Greece as the birthplace of the scientific process to the thousands of future scientists, mathematicians, engineers and historians that will experience this interactive journey.

“My colleagues and I applaud CMOM for its work on behalf of children in America and we are very excited to help introduce the Mechanism to an American family audience. Astronomy is a great attractor to science and math and this will be a great attractor to children,” said Dr. Xenophon Moussas, Astrophysicist and Associate Professor in Space Physics and Director of Astrophysics Laboratory at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Considered the most sophisticated known device from the Greek classical world, the Antikythera Mechanism, whose fragments are housed at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, was recovered (from an ancient shipwreck) in 1901 by sponge divers near the island of Antikythera, Greece. Originally containing 30 bronze wheels and dials, the Antikythera Mechanism is now understood as an astronomical tool that operated as a complex mechanical “computer,” tracking the cycles of the Solar System. While many scientists have, over the years, offered revealing glimpses into the remarkable operation and movements of the few dozen gears, the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project represents a dramatic shift in understanding the functions of those movements.

“The Antikythera Mechanism may truly be seen as the very beginning of science as we know it,” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “Just as the Greeks gave us some of the top intellectual, astronomical, and mathematical minds, Dr. Moussas and his team are giving the children of New York a priceless scientific and educational gift. The Antikythera Mechanism will help make Gods, Myths, and Mortals a wholly unique and entirely unforgettable experience.”

The Antikythera Mechanism is but one component of CMOM’s ambitious project that will immerse children and families in the world of Ancient Greece. From a challenging journey along the path followed by Odysseus, from the walls of Troy to his home in Ithaca, to a gymnasium where children learned to write and develop Olympic skills – the exhibition and its series of public programs will be a one-of-a kind educational and interactive odyssey.

CMOM’s Gods, Myths, and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece exhibition will remain in New York City for eighteen months before beginning a four-year national tour.

About The Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to kids and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits, and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. www.cmom.org

About The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project
The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project’s mission is to organize, gather and present new data and research on the Mechanism by using the latest technologies while challenging the assumptions of previous research. The Project team consists of leading astronomer Mike Edmunds, mathematician Tony Freeth (University of Cardiff, UK); astronomer Dr. Xenophon Moussas and physicist Yannis Bitsakis (University of Athens); astronomer John Seiradakis (University of Thessalonica) and philologist and palaeographer Agamemnon Tselikas (National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation). www.antikythera-mechanism.gr.

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09/21/2006

Forget flashcards, let's play!

Forget flashcards, let's play!

PlayWorks, a new wing at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, emphasizes discovery over right answers.

NEW YORK – Behind the steering wheel of a boxy blue bus, 3-year-old Nova Robbins takes the lead: “Everyone – let’s go!” she shouts. Instead of passengers, she’ll have to settle for a few back-seat drivers: This bus was built with multiple steering wheels so toddlers wouldn’t have to wait to drive.

Nova was among the first to preview PlayWorks, a new wing for the 4-and-under set at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM). Opening to the public today, it highlights how learning happens naturally as children create, explore, and role-play.

The connection isn’t lost on Dave Robbins, watching his daughter at an air-tube exhibit. Nova takes a hose that gently blows air and inserts it into a hole on the side of a box. Inside, the wings of a toy bee begin to spin. Along the wall, objects made from plastic and foam react differently to the air. “That’s just really smart,” Mr. Robbins says. “It shows the kids cause and effect…. I’m an engineer at heart. I just love this stuff.”

The drive to keep American education competitive on the global stage has led some parents and preschools to drill toddlers with flashcards. But many early childhood experts, rebelling against that tactic, are on a mission to swing the pendulum back toward play. Play is more conducive, they say, to the flexible thinking and lifelong learning demanded by globalization.

“For preschoolers, learning has become ‘Learn the one right answer,’… So we have a lot of toys built for passive children,” says Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a Temple University psychology professor and an adviser to PlayWorks. Rather than see children as empty vessels, developmental psychology has for decades endorsed the idea that “children need to be active explorers in their environment,” adds the coauthor of the new book “Play = Learning.”

While many children’s museums dedicate a place for young children to learn through play and discovery, PlayWorks has taken innovations to the next level and incorporated research on child-development into every detail.

With trays of moldable sand, illuminated art tables, and areas for building towers and gadgets, siblings can play together and learn at their own levels. At the family kiosk, a parent and child can record a voice clip about what they did and e-mail it home with a photo, to keep a developmental log.

“A lot of the things we designed are open-ended,” says Andrew Ackerman, executive director of the nonprofit CMOM. “[With] young ones, every three months they’re really a different person … so as they grow, they go back to the same thing and do it differently.”

PlayWorks is also designed to nip achievement gaps in the bud. “In one part of the South Bronx that we’re working [to bring similar exhibits to], an estimated 40 to 50 percent of children arrive not ready for kindergarten, academically or socially,” Mr. Ackerman says. PlayWorks will enhance the programs for shelter residents and Head Start teachers. And low-income families can get a $5 yearly membership through various community groups.

Through handouts and signs in both English and Spanish, PlayWorks aims to illustrate for adults the important connection between play and learning. It’s something the designers hope parents and teachers will carry beyond the exhibit by pointing out geometric patterns on the sidewalk, for instance, or the mathematics of distributing snacks. It’s “the power of the ordinary,” says Ms. Hirsh-Pasek. “We can close the gap by recognizing more of those  opportunities…. You don’t need to buy the $50 toy.”

To build literacy skills, a centerpiece character is Alphie, the baby dragon. Children take a block from the “letter garden,” see a letter and a picture, and then feed it into the dragon’s mouth. In a gender-neutral, nasal voice, Alphie responds with the matching word: “A is for Apple.” Alphie is also climbable, which shows parents that children don’t always have to sit still in order to learn.

There’s a display of classic art images, placed low so tots can see and touch. Below a picture of the Mona Lisa, a child can feel her hair. Below a picture of a Degas sculpture, he can feel the fabric of the dancer’s skirt. “Kids who don’t have banks of visual images can’t scaffold new knowledge,” Ackerman explains. “One of the reasons kids have trouble reading is … they don’t know what the words mean because they haven’t had that type of experience.”

On preview day, the model firetruck is a hit. Indy Herrera discovers that when he points the hoses at three screens with fake flames, a laser makes the flames disappear, and reveals letters that spell rhyming words like “cat” and “hat.” “Let’s do it again and see what the letters are now!” he says excitedly to his mother, Ann Marie Prevost.

In the art area, Ms. Prevost watches Anna, one of her 2-year-old triplets, “paint” on a wallmounted screen that produces bright colors wherever she runs her fingers. It’s impressive, Prevost says, because Anna is visually impaired. “This is very cool – she is seeing the colors. Anything with lights is just great for her.”

Researchers advised the museum and will be able to use a classroom with a two-way mirror here to build a better understanding of how young children learn. With a $3 million investment to develop the 4,000-square-foot PlayWorks space – a combination of federal and local funds and private donations – Ackerman says the idea is to use it to foster educational collaborations throughout the country. In New York, talks are already under way to see if aspects of PlayWorks can be replicated in community centers and residential buildings. Such efforts are part of a movement to build better bridges between early childhood development and K-12 education.

“It’s important for early educators to be intentional in their play, so that while it may look like play, there’s content to it,” says Harold Leibovitz, a spokesman for the Foundation for Child Development in New York. At the same time, he says, teachers tend to focus more on content than on “the nature of how children learn.”

Some universities, for instance, teach child development in the psychology department rather than in the school of education. “You’ve got ‘silos’ there that inhibit cross-fertilization,” he says. But at a recent roundtable sponsored by the foundation, he was struck by the fact that a dean of an education school, a psychologist, a trainer of early educators, and an expert on learning disabilities all agreed on the need to blend the two worlds.

Among parents who are keenly aware of the learning potential of the early years, there may be a craving to slow down and remember that learning can be fun.

One sign is Wondertime, a new quarterly magazine. Editor Trisha Thompson says that rather than featuring articles on problem-solving (the top 10 ways to toilet train, perhaps), it aims to show parents how to tap into kids’ curiosity (as in, how does the toilet flush?). So far, she says, “what we’ve heard loud and clear from reader mail is the trend against the flashcard- parenting mentality….We’re not thinking about how to get our 2-year-olds into Harvard. The point is to let them explore.”

Just having museums where children are allowed to touch is a big relief for parents, Ms. Thompson says. That could explain why people would be willing to pay $9 each for a visit to CMOM. PlayWorks, with its sophisticated color palette and noise-absorbing ceiling panels, is supposed to be a place where parents can feel relaxed and inspired. There’s even an infant area featuring lullabies from around the world.

As her 18-month-old daughter dances to the sound of the Brahms Lullaby, Kathy Powell notes a parent-pleasing detail: “I like the way it’s set up so that the kids have to listen to the whole song before playing another one.”

• Maia Ridberg contributed to this story.

By Stacy A. Teicher | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

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08/06/2006

At Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Exploring the Serious Work That Is Play

At Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Exploring the Serious Work That Is Play

The New York Times

How old would you expect your children to be before you took them to a museum for a first look at the “Mona Lisa”?

The answer may soon be as young as 2 or 3. And it will not require flying to Paris.

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan plans to feature a reproduction of the “Mona Lisa” — along with a cave painting, an Egyptian painting, a Jackson Pollock and other significant artworks — on a wall in “PlayWorks,” its new 4,000-square-foot permanent exhibition for children under 5. But this will be far from a dry art history tutorial for toddlers.

Beneath each image will be a second canvas, a textural and three-dimensional rendering, which a child can touch. And this installation will be just one in a series of interactive exhibits: a huge transparent wall whose surface is for fingerpainting; a climbing structure with hidden dioramas; a sand laboratory with buried “treasures”; a construction area for building gadgets; and, among many other displays, a mechanical baby dragon that will say words when children drop letters into its mouth. The exhibition’s emphasis is not the old saw that learning is fun, but that fun is learning.

“The idea is that in moments of everyday play children are really getting a tremendous amount of education,” said Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University and an author of “Einstein Never Used Flashcards,” a book whose title sums up the exhibition’s philosophy. In a telephone interview Dr. Hirsh-Pasek, an adviser to the project, said that the significance of play as a foundation for learning was “a critically important cultural message.”

It is a message the museum intends to take far beyond Manhattan. The $3 million “PlayWorks,” to open Sept. 21 in the museum’s building at 212 West 83rd Street, represents the start of its National Family Play and Learning Initiative, a program spanning several years in which the museum hopes to provide models for similar exhibitions nationwide. In late 2007 it plans to open a satellite version of “PlayWorks” in the South Bronx, the first step toward establishing a children’s museum in that borough.

“The steps are that we open ‘PlayWorks’ here, and we study it,” said Andrew S. Ackerman, the executive director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, during a recent tour of the building’s third floor, which has been completely gutted for the project. “With an advisory group we’ll look at the different ways we can replicate it nationally. We may provide blueprints for a physical space, or just a curriculum if a community doesn’t want a physical space.”

The opportunity to study preschoolers is built into the exhibition, which includes a formal research laboratory. The lab, one of the first of its kind in the country, incorporates three cameras to record the activity of children and their parents. (All participating families will sign consent forms.) This fall Michael Cohen, a New York psychologist, will use the lab to inaugurate a series of national studies of how new forms of electronic media can benefit education.

Like much of the space, the laboratory has been established with government funds.“PlayWorks” has been entirely financed by federal, state and local grants, foundation grants and the private philanthropists Judith and John J. Hannan. “The exhibit itself will have no connection to any corporation,” Mr. Ackerman said.

The need for “PlayWorks,” he said, is underscored by research showing the importance of early learning in helping children get ready for school. One study has shown that by age 4 children reared in poverty have heard 32 million fewer spoken words than their peers with professional parents. “PlayWorks” is intended to help bridge that gap, and much of its design is based on the museum’s experiences in working with a Manhattan residence for homeless women and their children and in a free program it established last fall at a community organization in Mott Haven, in the Bronx.

That program has been successful, Adolfo Carrión Jr., the Bronx borough president, said in a telephone interview. Mr. Carrión, who approached the Manhattan museum with his own proposal for a Bronx children’s museum, sees “PlayWorks” as particularly important for children “not very advanced in their literacy.”

“What makes CMOM special as a model,” he said, using the museum’s acronym, pronounced SEE-mom, “is that if your literacy is not strong, you still understand what the exhibit is about.” “PlayWorks,” designed by Roto Studio, a firm in Dublin, Ohio, is devoted to fostering not only literacy, but also mathematical understanding and what Dr. Hirsh-Pasek calls “cultural literacy”: hence the “Mona Lisa.” And while the display is divided into spaces like an Exploratory Art and Science Area and a Practice Play Area (for infants), many elements will overlap.

Babies, for instance, will probably not paint on the transparent wall — which will be washed periodically when a museum staff member touches a switch, unleashing a ceiling-to-floor cascade of water — but they will be able to touch buttons that make colors appear on a screen. And while toddlers can place foam blocks of different shapes into a wall of geometric cutouts in the Constructive Play Area, children who are 3 or 4 can experiment with adding and subtracting groceries in the mock New York deli that is the part of the Imaginative Play Area, which also includes a model bus and a firetruck.

“We wanted the exhibition to show what’s extraordinary in the ordinary,” Dr. Hirsh-Pasek said. “Firetrucks and buses have patterns on them that can teach math.” Just pointing out that one ice cream cone has two scoops and that the other has one, she said, can be a far more effective route to discovering math than a flash card.

One element expected to be an enormous hit is the baby dragon, nicknamed Alphie (as in alphabet). Children can pluck small rectangles — they have a letter on one side and a word and a picture on the other — from a Letter Garden and “feed” them to the dragon. Inside Alphie is a sensor. After ingesting the D, for instance, the dragon, which has been given an androgynous, childlike voice, will say: “D is for dirt. Mmmmm, my favorite.” (It also spontaneously spouts chatter peppered with New Yorkisms, like “Fuggedaboudit.”)

All of this is intended to be welcoming to parents, particularly those who are not typical museumgoers.

“Parents from shelters feel very intimidated about teaching reading to their children: ‘Oh, I don’t like to,’ or ‘I don’t know how,’ ” said Leslie Bushara, the museum’s deputy director for education. “We wanted a place where looking at words and letters was fun and could build the foundation for sitting together and reading books.”

The exhibition will also have bilingual signs (in English and Spanish) and a place in the infant area where families can hear lullabies in different languages. The art wall of what Mr. Ackerman calls “iconic images” will include a painting like “The Banjo Lesson,” by Henry O. Tanner, which depicts African-Americans.

To make the experience more affordable, the museum is expanding a program in which it offers low-income families annual memberships for $5. (A family membership normally costs $145.) Another program provides free admission to families participating in Head Start.

If the exhibition is effective, it will give parents of all income levels ideas for playing creatively with their children. Of course, museum officials will know more once “PlayWorks” opens.

“We leave a part of the budget for remediation,” Mr. Ackerman said. “But there’s only one thing we can guarantee: However much we test and design, kids will find a different way to use things.”

By LAUREL GRAEBER

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07/01/2006

Press Release: PlayWorks™ Opening

Press Release: PlayWorks™ Opening

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan Launches First-Of-Its-Kind Interactive PlayWorks™ Exhibit Focused on Early Childhood Learning

PlayWorks™, a 4,000 Square Foot Exhibition for Children from Infancy to Four-Years-Old, Premieres in September 2006; Opening Marks Launch of National Family Play & Learning Initiative

New York (July 2006) The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated to kids and families, announced today that its highly anticipated PlayWorks™ exhibition will open to the public on September 21, 2006. Based on the concept that children’s learning and personal growth is rooted in play, PlayWorks™ combines innovative activities for children and tools for parents and caregivers to produce the largest public play and learning center for early childhood in Manhattan. The program provides an interactive experience that establishes a context for learning that reinforces the connection between education and enjoyment.

The opening of PlayWorks™ also marks the launch of CMOM’s National Family Play and Learning Initiative, a program that initiates educational alliances to further collaborative learning environments in diverse communities nationwide.

PlayWorks™, which fosters a fresh foundation through which children absorb new concepts, signifies CMOM’s commitment to providing educationally conducive surroundings that prove as effective as they are entertaining. In conjunction with a national roster of academic advisors and architectural designers, CMOM has developed an unprecedented learning location in both scope and size. Comprised of interactive, hands-on exhibits, the 4,000 square foot space combines the museum’s rich history of childhood expertise with up-to-date models for educational settings. In anticipation of the surge of interest in PlayWorks™, CMOM has also announced its extended hours of operation. As of June 2006, CMOM is now open Tuesday – Sunday from 10:00 am until 5:00pm.

PlayWorks™ is the embodiment of how children need to discover the world around them, and it enables us to become a partner in the education of new families at an even earlier stage. It is particularly exciting that PlayWorks™ will be the center for CMOM’s programs for low-income families at the museum and in the community.” said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of CMOM. “We have made PlayWorks™ the centerpiece of our long-range plan because family-based early childhood education is the single best educational investment we can make.”

According to CMOM Board Chairman Mark Pearlman, “PlayWorks™ is a lynchpin of CMOM’s strategic plan that combines a deep sense of mission with a professional business plan that will provide the resources to deliver quality programs to families throughout the New York region and nationally.” the centerpiece of our long-range plan because family-based early childhood education is the single best educational investment we can make.”

PlayWorks™ takes children on an interactive adventure that not only fosters increased knowledge of art, language, math, and science, but also encourages participants to consider the environment within which they are most likely to learn. For the parents or caregivers who watch carefully, PlayWorks™ is a laboratory where they can better understand their children’s intuitive strengths, as well as the environments that prove most amenable to increased knowledge.

The facility is also home to a state-of-the-art research center, created to conduct educational studies and designed specifically with accommodations for its young participants in mind. Among the initial research conducted will be contemporary analyses of the means through which young children interact with media and technology.

“Simply taking the time to enjoy their children – to play with them and discuss what’s going on in their world – is the best thing parents can do for their children’s minds, and emotional developments, to guarantee future success,” said Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Temple University Professor and CMOM PlayWorks™ Advisor.

“This initiative is at the forefront of progressive developmental education and will serve as an important foundation for programs in the Bronx and the future Bronx Children’s Museum,” said Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion.

The exhibition is composed of five learning areas, each an intimate setting made up of multiple levels of challenge. Each area features separate segments of activities that all look and feel different. Each has been designed by educators to maximize the connection between play and early childhood learning:

  • Play works to teach language: Children discover letters and sounds and develop a love of language and reading by feeding words and letters of the alphabet to a talking baby dragon.
  • Play works to teachmath and physics: Children learn the basics of forced energy as they connect air tubes to turn pinwheels. They learn cause and effect as they explore an assortment of building materials and develop pre-math skills by using geometric shapes to construct their own buildings.
  • Play works to develop a love of the arts and teach science: Children become aware of materials and their properties as they paint on a gigantic art wall, and become scientists (and mathematicians!) in a sand laboratory, and investigate colors and patterns formed by amazing light cylinders.
  • Play works to develop imagination: Children are able to try on many different roles as they climb aboard a fire truck, slide down a fire pole, “drive” a bus or delivery bike, and count and sort vegetables in a deli.
  • Play works to build physical and emotional strength: Infants and crawlers strengthen their emerging cognitive, physical, and emotional relationship with adults as they navigate through a baby crawling challenge course, and play baby ball and hoop games.

Dr. Edmund Gordon, preeminent research psychologist and CMOM PlayWorks™ Advisor, supports the idea that “Schools alone are not sufficient to ensure high levels of academic development – supplemental educational experiences are also needed. High academic achievement is closely associated with exposure to family, community-based activities, and learning experiences that occur out of school. CMOM provides that exposure. The highest achievers, it has been found, have rich out of school experiences. The most effective learning happens when you build on what you know. This is what CMOM and PlayWorks™ is all about.”

PlayWorks™ is made possible by the generous support of Judith and John J. Hannan; Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; New York City Council Member Gale Brewer; Former State Assemblyman Scott Stringer; Institute of Museum and Library Services; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; and the New York State Dormitory Authority.

Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is New York City’s leading cultural institutiondedicated solely to kids and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multidimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds.

CMOM is a private, not-for-profit institution located in The Tisch Building at 212 West 83rd Street between Broadway and Amsterdam on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. For details on all of CMOM’s programs, visitors should go to www.cmom.org or call 212.721.1223.

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11/15/2005

Andy is dandy - Pop goes the easel at a Warhol show for kids

Andy is dandy - Pop goes the easel at a Warhol show for kids

New York Post

As kids’ icons go, most of the ones on exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan are no-brainers.

Dr. Seuss: He’s got juice. Charlie Brown: We’re down. An aardvark named Arthur: Need we go farther?

But … Andy Warhol, that legendary New York night-life denizen, Studio 54 partygoer, avant-garde filmmaker?

Yep. The white-haired, pasty-faced one gets the CMoM treatment in “The Art of Andy Warhol,” which opens today.

“Andy would be thrilled. He wanted his art to be for everybody,” says Bob Colacello, Warhol’s longtime friend and the editor of Interview magazine.

“Andy was like a big kid. He was very childish in a lot of ways. He had the childlike ability to go into a room and notice one thing that was wrong – and say it,” Colacello says with a laugh.

In this colorful show, young museum visitors will notice something, too.

Budding artists don’t just get to look at the art – they can get down and dirty with paint, making their own silk-screened prints, just as Warhol did.

In keeping with the times, the museum calls it “an interactive exhibit.” But you can call it “painteractive.”

Want to make a Warhol-like silk-screen print? Here you’ll make a stencil and affix it to a frame stretched with silk (or the less expensive cotton organdy). Placing the frame over the paper, canvas or even a T-shirt, you’ll pour a little ink at the top of the frame and squeegee it across.

Lift the frame and, voila, you’re an artist!

Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh and moved to Manhattan after college, in 1949, when he was 21. At first he worked as a commercial artist. Eventually, he found his calling in the Pop Art movement. He’d take everyday objects – most famously, a Campbell’s Soup can – and enlarge them into a series of colorful silk-screen prints.

Some people were shocked. Others thought the works Warhol made, starting in the ’60s, were groovy.

Warhol also liked to use images of actors, singers, politicians, superheroes and other celebrities, real and fictional, in his prints. A series of these vividly colorful 40-by-40-inch prints, dubbed “Myths,” is on display, including Santa, Superman, Uncle Sam and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Enjoy your 15 minutes of Warhol fame by dressing up as one of them – there are costumes aplenty. A CMoM staffer can take your picture and send you home with a 4-by-6 glossy photo.

Besides the Myths, there are some other kid-friendly pieces on display – and they’re hung pretty low on the walls to make for easy viewing by pint-size critics.

Check out a series of prints drawn from vintage toys and the art on the toy packages, like the Clockwork Panda Drummer and a pair of pictures of Cabbage Patch Dolls, one with green eyes, one with gold. Then compare them against the original toys and boxes on display in a glass case.

Warhol’s friends and co-workers weren’t the only ones impressed with his work. His nephew, James Warhola – Andy’s original last name – wrote a book titled “Uncle Andy’s.” It’s one of the books about Warhol and art that kids can curl up with at the show wile waiting for their silk-screen prints to dry.

In the book, the wide-eyed Pittsburgh kid describes his visits to Andy’s place in New York:

“Uncle Andy was always making art. We loved watching him paint in his studio. He made regular stuff like soup cans, pop bottles and money look like real art.”

And that’s a real art.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 W. 83rd St.; (212) 721-1223, cmom.org. Admission, $8.

By BILLY HELLER

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11/25/2005

The World of Warhol (Children Are Welcome)

The World of Warhol (Children Are Welcome)

The New York Times

For children under 12, Andy Warhol may never have been famous – not even for 15 minutes. But young visitors to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan are likely to form a more lasting impression of him now, thanks to “The Art of Andy Warhol,” a new exhibition that allows them not only to explore Warhol’s work but also to imitate it.

“We’re interested in using technology in conjunction with creativity,” said Andrew S. Ackerman, the museum’s executive director, noting that this was also Warhol’s passion. He added, “The mixing of media and the combinations in Warhol’s art – kids just get it.”

The exhibition, organized by the Andy Warhol Museum and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, proves that Warhol meant them to. It partly recreates “Paintings for Children,” a 1983 Zurich show whose silkscreened images include mechanical toys like a parrot, a drumming panda and a “moon explorer robot.” A case displays Warhol’s inspirations: vintage toys from his collection. Children will also smile at the silkscreen portraits of pets, like a magenta cocker spaniel, both adorable and avant-garde.

Another wall features examples of Warhol’s 1981 “Myth” silkscreen series, in which he portrayed cultural symbols like Superman, Mickey Mouse and the Wicked Witch of the West. This is also a section where children can “become” the art. The museum provides costumes for them to dress up as a “Myth” subject, and an area, sponsored by Fujifilm, where they can make souvenir photographs and see digital images of themselves repeated several times, à la Warhol, on a video screen. Before leaving, they can each create a cut-paper design and take it to a museum staff member, who will immediately turn it into a silkscreen print.

The museum has also added a case of Warhol books for browsing visitors, including “Uncle Andy’s,” by James Warhola, Warhol’s nephew. (Warhol dropped the final “a” from his name.) It recalls the fun of childhood visits to Uncle Andy and hide-and-seek with his 25 cats, all named Sam. You walk away with an impression of Warhol as an irresistible figure, a kind of real-life Willy Wonka. And he even had his own factory.

“The Art of Andy Warhol,” through May 28 at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd Street, (212) 721-1223. Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: $8; 65+, $5.

Soaring Hopes From Afar

Among incendiary, subversive and revolutionary activities, kite flying doesn’t usually rank high. What could be more innocuous than this playful pastime? Yet kite flying was banned in Afghanistan under the Taliban, who considered it frivolous. Now it is back, and its return – and all that that joyful revival represents – will be celebrated tomorrow in an unexpected place: the Long Island Children’s Museum.

“A Kite’s Tale” represents an unusual collaboration between the Bond Street Theater of New York and the Exile Theater of Kabul. It is the first children’s project they have done together, and this will be its American premiere. Previously, the troupes had presented versions of the show in Afghan schools, where they discovered that clowning was a universal form of communication.

“We’ve kind of specialized in using masks, pantomime and choreography,” said Michael McGuigan, a member of Bond Street. “We haven’t needed to rely on language.” And Afghan children are amused by the same pratfalls as Americans, he added. “They like clowns falling down, chases, water spitting, that type of thing.” The play does have a little dialogue, in English and Dari, one of Afghanistan’s two main languages. (The Dari will be translated.)

The members of Bond Street and Exile first encountered one another in Pakistan, where both groups were offering cultural programs for Afghan refugee children. Their collaboration concerns two kites, Mahmoud and Salim, who notice a man trying to plant a new garden. The kites decide to give a party to celebrate, but humorous complications ensue.

“Kite flying is very big there,” Mr. McGuigan said of Afghanistan, noting that as soon as the Taliban were gone, kites reappeared. He sees their presence as a sign of renewal, much like the garden. “There was all this color,” he said. “It was not only a symbol of the plenty of the earth, but it was like seeding the sky as well.”

“A Kite’s Tale,” tomorrow at 1 and 3 p.m. at the Long Island Children’s Museum, 11 Davis Avenue, Garden City, N.Y., (516) 224-5800. Tickets: $5 (show only); $3 with museum admission ($8 and 65+, $7); members, $2.

Let There Be Light

A runner couldn’t speed through a tunnel if he kept colliding with the walls. The same can be said of light – if it’s directed through a tube, it loses its intensity through refraction, or bending. The beauty of fiber-optic cables, said Corinne Doron, program manager of the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, “is that they can bring light energy from one point to another without losing any of it.”

On Sunday, young scientists 8 and older are invited to explore this principle in Fiber Optic Forms, the lab’s latest Sci-Tech Workshop. Ms. Doron plans to show how different surfaces affect light, and she will demonstrate how specialists ranging from mechanics to doctors use fiber optics.

As for the workshop participants, “they’ll be able to touch fiber optics, cut them, play with them and make a picture using them,” Ms. Doron said. That last project will involve a black surface impregnated with light-emitting diodes. (With fiber optics, as with any trailblazing scientific technology, art isn’t far behind.)

Fiber Optic Forms, Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. (two sessions) at the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, 550 Madison Avenue Annex, at 56th Street, (212) 833-4875. Fee: $5. Free tickets for lab admission: available at noon, first come first served.

By LAUREL GRAEBER

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12/10/2004

Manhattan museum invites kids to share the adventures of Nickelodeon's Latina superstar

Manhattan museum invites kids to share the adventures of Nickelodeon's Latina superstar

NEWSDAY, PART 2

One modern, high-tech method to judge the extent of one’s fame is via eBay. Just the other day on the Web site, 4,841items were listed under “Dora the Explorer.”

Now, it’s nice that a Dora the Explorer Tooth Fairy pillow was available ($7.50), along with a Dora the Explorer Talking Dollhouse ($24.98) and a “We Did It!” singing-dancing doll (about $20).

But this week, the animated Latina star of her own kids’ cartoon series on Nickelodeon takes the fame thing one step beyond eBay: She’s the subject of her own exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, aimed at preschoolers and expected to run through 2005.

The three-dimensional adventure through Dora’s world is focused on inter-activity and multiple levels of learning, says Andrew Ackerman, the museum’s executive director. “Dora interacts, she asks the kids in her audience to solve problems,” he said. “She also treats them with respect…. She’s very real to kids.”

A bilingual experience

The exhibit, which occupies a mezzanine-like space on the museum’s second floor, also is designed to increase children’s awareness of Latin culture, with most signage in Spanish as well as English.

Splashes of colors decorate the murals around the floor – leafy green trees and aqua blue skies – and the exhibits themselves are decorated in vibrant oranges and yellows. A life-size rendition of 7-year-old Dora, complete with her trademark big eyes and accompanied by her friend Boots, greets visitors as they arrive on the second floor.

All the elements are designed to make education – even math – painless by reinforcing the adventures with entertainment, such as plush animals to touch, music to sing along with, even a “soundcatcher” to replay the noises of birds, animals and the wind as it rustles through a rain forest.

“Each area of the show is about how children learn,” says Leslie Bushara, deputy director of education for the museum. “We hope parents and children will journey though this exhibit together and develop a conversation about what they see and hear.”

The exhibit opens with a kid-sized “pyramid” that contains walls with numbers, puzzles and a stacking game. Inside are hidden shapes and surprises. As Dora would say, “Vamonos!”

Following the Map – a key character in the Dora series, who always seems to get her to where she needs to go – kids are led to a rain forest maze, along and around tree trunks and fallen logs, where slimy creatures hide in trees and kids can activate a wind machine.

At the Animal Rescue Center, visitors will meet Diego, Dora’s cousin, who speaks not only English and Spanish but Animal as well. Soft animals can be treated – the baby Jaguar, for example had injured his tail, and kids are encouraged to wrap him in a blanket and sing him a song to make him feel better.

At Dora’s house, with its red tile roof and Mediterranean-style trim, visitors can create a story by sequencing pictures and objects with words in Spanish and English. Dora also keeps a “happy box” in her room, where she stashes her favorite flute, bracelets and blanket.

Nickelodeon’s ‘Dora’

The “Dora” cartoon series debuted on Nickelodeon in 2000 after some time in development. Originally the heroine was ethnically undefined, but the creators decided further on to make her a multilingual Latina. The voice of Dora has been supplied since the show began by 13-year-old Kathleen Herles, who lives in Deer Park.

The series has spawned dozens of licensing deals: There are Dora coloring books, crafts, clothing, dozens of videos and, of course, the collectibles on eBay. The show has been nominated for several Emmys and has won the George Foster Peabody Award for achievement in television broadcasting.

WHEN&WHERE The first-ever “Dora the Explorer” exhibit, cosponsored by Nickelodeon and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, opens tomorrow at the Museum, 212 W. 83rd St. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; admission is $8, free for kids under a year old. Call 212-721-1223.

BY STEPHEN WILLIAMS

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07/05/2004

Dr. Seuss: Unshlumping in a City Near You

Dr. Seuss: Unshlumping in a City Near You

Newsweek

An electrical engineer, two industrial designers and a sculptor recently huddled around an odd-looking machine. A lot was riding on the success of this never-before-seen invention. The mood was tense as they pressed a series of buttons and the contraption sputtered to life. Each held his breath: Have we done it? they wondered. Have we unshlumped the shlumping Borfin?

This isn’t a scene from a movie–it was a real-life test at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. On July 2 the museum will premiere a touring exhibit, “Oh Seuss! Off to Great Places.” The exhibit’s showstoppers are two machines brought to life from Dr. Seuss’s “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” There’s the Throm-dim-bu-lator, which the book says has been taken apart and needs to be put back together, and the shlumping Borfin, a lethargic contraption that has to be unshlumped. The idea was simple–the museum would build models and kids could come and “fix” them–but making the illustrations 3-D was complex. “There were some moments where my heart sank,” says Karen Snider, deputy director for exhibitions. “I thought maybe we’d bitten off more than we could chew.”

To accomplish the feat, the museum enlisted more than 40 experts, including Richard Fontana, who has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and two masters from MIT; James Tu, an NYU electrical-engineering professor, and Dan Oakly, an architect and toy inventor. The challenge was to stay true to Seuss–they were being monitored by Dr. Seuss Enterprises–while keeping the machines portable and kid-friendly. There were obstacles from the start. Seuss’s Throm-dim-bu-lator, for example, defies gravity with a large unsupported overhang. The designers solved the problem with wood beams and foam up top, counterbalanced with weights on bottom.

And then there was the Borfin: Seuss never explained how it unshlumps. “We asked questions like, ‘Is a Borfin something you can fix or you can heal?’ ” says Rich Miller, manager of exhibitions and technical design. “And what the hell is a shlump?” So the museum created a backstory (“The Borfin is a tired and troubled machine. It is part machine, part animal”) and concocted an unshlumping formula: it works when kids press a series of buttons and stamp their feet. After three failed prototypes, they developed a working model: a massive mechanical puppet moved by linear activators and triggered by microsensors that are hooked up to a computer that counts the kids’ button presses and foot pumps. Almost as innovative as the good doctor himself.

By Elise Soukup

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07/02/2004

It's Dr. Seuss's Birthday, Kids, and He's Here to Celebrate

It's Dr. Seuss's Birthday, Kids, and He's Here to Celebrate

The New York Times

A bizarre-looking vehicle recently drew slack-jawed stares from the normally jaded Manhattanites on West 83rd Street. Occupying a flat-bed delivery truck, it looked like a white and neon-red locomotive, but with so many crumples and curves that it resembled melted marzipan.

This was part of a train, all right, but not one that had ever chugged into New York, except in young imaginations. It was the locomotive from Dr. Seuss’s ”Green Eggs and Ham,” and it has now found a station: the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, where it stars in ”Oh, Seuss! Off to Great Places,” a 4,000-square-foot exhibition that opens today.

Although the train doesn’t actually move, many other creations in the show do. ”The sophistication of interactive exhibitions has accelerated to such a degree that there’s so much more now that you can accomplish,” said Andrew S. Ackerman, the museum’s executive director.

This show relies much more on technology than its ancestor, ”Seuss!,” at the museum from 1997 to 1999. Remaining through August 2005, when it is to begin a three-year national tour, ”Oh, Seuss!” is also more ambitious: costing $600,000 (it’s supported by JetBlue Airlines), the show is a cornerstone of the Seussentennial, the yearlong celebration of the 100th birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), better known as Dr. Seuss.

Originally, the exhibition was to be based on just one book, ”Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” That 1990 Seuss tribute to newfound independence has become a favorite graduation gift. (In the film ”The Terminal,” it briefly appears in Tom Hanks’s hand in the airport bookstore.) But delightful as the book is, the show’s planners found the concept too restrictive. They soon included not only ”Green Eggs and Ham,” but also ”If I Ran the Circus,” ”Horton Hatches the Egg,” ”The Sneetches and Other Stories” and the intriguing but less–known ”Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” Diverse books, but they share certain themes.

”When we were approached two years ago by Dr. Seuss Enterprises,” Mr. Ackerman said, referring to the organization that handles the Seuss intellectual properties and proposed the show, ”we were still very much in the shadow of 9/11. And with all the things that kids are going through, getting out of slumps and overcoming obstacles became the central idea.”

But first the museum faced obstacles: not just turning two-dimensional illustrations into three-dimensional objects, but making real Dr. Seuss’s unreal creatures, contraptions and feats. How do you have children fly on a trapeze like circus pros? (The show does it with trick photography.) What sound is made by a creature that’s a cross between a lion and a fish? (Move its tail across a big poster and find out.) And how do you construct and deconstruct two weird Seussian inventions, a Throm-dim-bu-lator and a Borfin?

”We had this early idea of building a Seussian world,” said Karen Snider, the museum’s deputy director for exhibitions. But the staff didn’t want to do it from scratch. ”We had interns combing the Internet for Seuss-like products,” she said.

Oh, the places they went! One source was in San Francisco: Daniel R. Oakley, the architect who designed Öliblocks, amorphous magnetic construction toys. They seemed like possible components for the Throm-dim-bu-lator, the machine that ”poor Herbie Hart” has taken apart in ”Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” (Lucky not to be Herbie, among other things.) But the show’s planners wanted gears like the book’s ”gicks” and ”goors.” So Mr. Oakley designed some. Their place of manufacture? China.

The show lets children do what Herbie can’t: put the Throm-dim-bu-lator back together. Consisting of a hulking metal frame and the magnetic building elements, the machine can be assembled and disassembled. (There is no one correct method, although the museum offers whimsical directions by authors with a Seussian sensibility: children.)

The Borfin, from the same book, was a bigger problem: ”Every morning at six,/poor Mr. Bix has his Borfin to fix!” Resembling a Russian nesting doll of tubes and cylinders, the Borfin rises each day but ”shlumps in a heap” every night. The museum wanted one for children to shlump and unshlump.

”There are a lot of things we could have done to make the Borfin move, but it’s got to have the Seuss quality and be interactive,” said Rich Miller, the museum’s technical designer. ”It’s sort of a machine but it’s also sort of a character, so we had to make it seem alive.”

The team settled on a 10-foot-tall fabric Borfin, which includes linear actuators, motors that ”create push-pull kinds of forces,” Mr. Miller explained. Although the Borfin has been a bit slow in going off to great places, the museum plans to install it today. When it’s fully operational, children can pump pedals and push buttons at five stations to activate it, complete with sound effects.

The rest of the 25 activity areas range from playground simple — for preschoolers, a model of the nest that the loyal elephant Horton perches on — to examples of the most advanced digital technology. These include stations designed by Linda Gottfried of Color, Light & Shadow, where children can manipulate the images and text from the Sneetches’ story on a huge ”graffiti wall” or race the hot-air balloons from ”Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” on video monitors.

Perhaps the most complex is the interactive installation by Camille Utterback of Creative Nerve Inc.: as visitors watch themselves on a wall-size monitor, Seuss text rains down on them, and they can push, move or ”catch” the words. This is fun, but like everything else, it’s play with a purpose. ”You’re learning how to read without knowing you’re learning,” Ms. Snider said.

The museum struggled to make every element match the books. ”We’re Horton,” Mr. Ackerman said. ”We’re 100 percent faithful.”

But the real critics will be children. ”There’s a certain kind of laugh that’s almost a chuckle,” Mr. Ackerman said. ”It’s this little laugh of satisfaction that means the child understood something and accomplished it. When you hear that, you know you’ve been successful.”

”Oh, Seuss! Off to Great Places” is at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd Street, (212) 721-1223, through August 2005.

Photos: Illusions: visitors play in the circus exhibit at the Children’s Museum.; Children discover the ”Throm-dim-bu-lator” in the ”Oh, Seuss!” show. (Photographs by Ruby Washington/The New York Times)

By LAUREL GRAEBER

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10/01/2003

Please touch

Town & Country

Looking to attract new audiences and engage kids of all ages, museums are reinventing themselves in wonderfully creative ways.

Here’s what kids find boring about art museums: being dragged from picture to picture while their parents labor over everyone. Here’s what kids think would be fun: actually playing with objects. Children’s museums have long known this, and art museums are starting to wise up, too. In the face of decreasing tourism and government support, many museums are realizing the importance of nurturing a homegrown audience. Taking cue from the interactive approach pioneered by children’s museums–the fasted-growing cultural niche in the nations, with the number of institutions increasing 100 percent in the last decade–art museums are learning how to put their collections to work for the entire family so parents won’t leave their kids at home or, worse, stay home themselves.

The most successful examples of this curatorial practice allow visitors to handle art and artifacts that teach them something about culture rather than just make busywork from them. That’s what the smart people at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan have done in their groundbreaking show “Art Inside Out,” on view through December. Original work by three world-class contemporary artists – Elizabeth Murray, William Wegman and Fred Wilson – offers kids (and their parents) unlimited opportunities to manipulate the art on display in order to realize their own creative visions and to gain insight into the artists’ thought processes along the way.

Please touchThe walls of the room devoted to Elizabeth Murray, whose abstract paintings are collected by such major institutions as Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Art, are plastered with the vibrant color and biomorphic shapes of one her signature pieces, Plan 9, to give visitors the sensation of being inside that painting. Then they can experiment for themselves by virtually manipulating the “canvas” are computer projection stations to scramble the painting’s elements and to change its palette. In the area given over to William Wegman, who is famous for his photographs of his Weimaraners outfitted as people, children play their own dress-up with props supplied by the museum and then take digital snapshots of one another that materialize instantly on a screen. Fred Wilson, the third artist in the show, was the U.S. representative at last summer’s Venice Biennale. He’s made his name by taking such museum objects as busts or figurines and arranging the “characters” so that they appear to be engaged in dialogues, many of which deal with power relationships. In his section, children are asked to assemble a set of egg-shaped forms of various sizes in ways that express ideas like loneliness, competition or teamwork.

Deborah Schwartz, deputy director for education at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, was the guest curator of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan show. She says that when she began the work on the exhibition she was warned by some colleagues in the museum world –b instilled with the “don’t touch” mentality – against messing around with the art. “But once we were working closely with the artists,” she says, “it turned out that hey were more than happy not only to have kids experiment with their work but also to follow the process with us as we began creating interactives. They really wanted to hear what the kids had to say.”

Children’s museums, beginning with the Children’s Museum of Boston in the 1970’s, have been trailblazers in the field of learning by doing, which has since become standard practice at science and natural-history museums. Increasingly at art museums, interactivity has begun to trickle up. to better captivate adults, museums are incorporating such new-media tools as Web sites and computer terminals in their galleries. And as attendance has dropped, museums are committing more resources to cultivating the next generation of viewers. “If you don’t condition kids to think that the atmosphere of an art museum is something they should look forward to, it’s not realistic to ask them at the age of twenty to come back,” says David Levy, director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C.

To that end, the Corcoran is dedicating a significant portion of the gallery space in its yet-to-be-built Frank Gehry designed wing to family programming. It will have a large-scale model of a prehistoric cave, for instance, that will be the best place in Washington, D.C. to play hide-and-seek and will also expose kids to copies of cave paintings. In the meantime, families can enjoy a “please touch” policy in the Corcoran’s current show (through early January 2004) of sculptures by J. Seward Johnson, Jr., who has turned the greatest hits of Impressionism, like Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, into three dimensional tableaux through which visitors can roam.

(For its part, since 1998 the Metropolitan Museum of Art has happily sanction “touch tours” for sight-impaired visitors of all ages, who can sue their hands to appreciate the intricate relief carvings and sensuous form of six sculptures–some dating from the 15th century B.C.—in the Egyptian galleries.)

As museums renovate and expand, they are figuring out ways to go beyond the straight presentation of information and to use their collections to inspire creativity. At the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, families can pick up a kit that provides such self-guided activities as treasure hunts in the galleries. Instead of glazing over in a roomful of Old Master paintings kids can search for certain animals or shapes in the pictures. (My four year-old daughter recently pioneered her own version of this fame at New York’s Whitney by gleefully announcing “penis!” every time she spotted one in the paintings.) a program of instructor-led visits to galleries gives children the opportunity to return to a studio and make art based on what they’ve seen – Frank Stella, say, night provide the impetus fort a mixed-media collage. All such interactive activities will be consolidated in an expanded youth and family learning center that will be a part of the museum’s Norman Foster—designed addition (to be completed in 2008). Meanwhile, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco has initiated a daily drop-in program called AsiaAlive for families in its new downtown facility designed by Gae Aulenti. There you may find demonstrations involving Indonesian puppets that he children can then manipulate themselves, as well as a video corner and a reading area filled with what may be the city’s most comfortable couches.

Even simply providing an isolated spot where kids can be uninhibited can enhance the whole museum experience. One mother recently took her seven-year-old son to the Gilcrease Museum, in Tulsa, which has an outstanding collection of Western paintings.

While there, in a room set apart from galleries featuring an exhibition on Mexican culture, she chanced upon a display of musical instruments with which kids could “wreak havoc and not disturb anyone! My son was really intrigued by the use of natural materials—the skins of the drums, the gourds made into shakers—and we talked about how early Mexicans used found objects in inventive ways. Eh was much more interested in the paintings after our conversation.”

In terms of big-picture idea, the Los Angeles county Museum of Art is way ahead of the pack with its launch of LACMALab, a terrific hybrid of children’s and art museum, since 2000. LACMALab has asked such artist as John Baldessari and Jennifer Steinkamp to produce art specifically intended to be worked over by little hands as well as bug. A recent show called “Making” included a six-ton mountain of clay that visitors could climb on and pinch from to make their own sculptures. From December 14 through August 20040, the exhibition “NANO” will examine the intersection of art and nanotechnology (the science of the tiniest moleculed) through participatory environments that engage all the senses.

Going to a place like LACMALab’s Boone Children’s Gallery—which has brought in more than 200,000 children, many from the inner city—gives kids the sense that museums do indeed belong to them and that art can be a part of their daily lives. Just ask Amanda Parsons, who was accompanied countless groups of elementary-school children to Boone and always greets them with “Welcome to your museum!” On one visit to an exhibit in which an artist had filled a room with everyday objects that kids could beat on or blow into to create their own orchestra, Parsons noticed a teacher crying. “When I asked her what was the matter, she said, ‘I’ve spent the entire year trying to get this little girl, who has been diagnosed as autistic, to talk. This is the first time she’s ever spoken and interacted with other children,’” recalls Parsons, who say that more than anything this experience continues to motivate her even in the face of arts-funding cuts.

Because physical immersion is such an important component of so much contemporary art, even highly conceptual work often lends itself to a certain youthful activity. This is evident just up the Hudson river from New York City at Dia:Beacon, the vast new museum devoted to large-scale minimalist art. There, Richard Serra’s towering, indestructible steel ellipses invite the curious inside their spiraling paths. “I watch children looking at some if this so-called difficult work, and they often seem to get it right away,” says Leonard Riggio, Dia’s chairman of the board. “They move freely throughout these pieces, and there’s joy of discovery.”

Of course, children can step over the line (or on it, to be more exact), as was the case at Dia:Beacon recently when a young boy, jumping though a Fred Sandback sculpture—a geometric shape “drawn” from floor to ceiling with a single strand of yellow yarn – accidentally tripped, casing the artwork to crumple to the floor in a puddle. No permanent damage was done, but the incident does point to why art institutions would serve themselves and their audience best by offering structured kinds of family interaction.

“There may be many parents who say, ‘We’re going to a grown-up museum; we won’t take the kids.’ That is truly a barrier that we need to break down,” says Deborah Schwartz. “We need to provide the programming that signals to people that you don’t have to leave the kids at home.”

Not leaving the parents at home, though, is just as important, and because four-year-olds don’t trump off to the children’s museums by themselves, these institutions are uniquely position to affect the whole family. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has built an impressively diverse audience, and for some – kids as well as adults – it may be the first museum experience, let alone the first exposure to contemporary art. The museum has extensive programs for school children, as well as partnerships with fifty community organizations through the five boroughs that help bring low income families. Even veteran museum goers may feel out of their depth when I comes to contemporary art, and “Art Inside Out” does a superb job of demystifying it,

“Intimidation is a really big factor, especially in New York City, where larger museums may seem somewhat inaccessible and not always kid-friendly,” says Laurie Tisch Sussman, who is the chairperson of the Center for Arts Education and the honorary chairperson of the board at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Sussman’s private foundation provided funding for “Art Inside Out,” which, she says, “has really demonstrated that art is for everybody and does a lot to explain the decision-making process of creating art—especially contemporary work, which can be a little offputting. It’s a great stepping stone toward feeling comfortable in museums.

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08/01/2003

Drawing the Animals, two by two

Drawing the Animals, two by two

New York Daily News

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan at 212 West 83rd Street is presenting a special exhibit “Travels with Ted and Betsy Lewin”, that features ore than 60 illustrations from such well known children’s books as “Click, Clack Moo: Cows That Type” (with Betsy’s whimsical drawings, such as the one displayed below), “Dumpy La Rue,” “People the Lamplighter” and “What’s the Matter Habibi?” Illustrations from “Gorilla Walk” and “Elephant Quest” by the Lewin present some of the couple’s visual encounters with gorillas, elephants (see above), lions and other wild animals during African safaris. For more information on the exhibit, which runs through Nov. 17, call (212) 721-1234.

Mila Andre

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12/01/2002

Children's museum invites youngsters to step inside contemporary art

Associated Press

NEW YORK — It’s a museum guard’s worst nightmare: children plucking heads off sculptures, placing their palms on paintings and moving around the artists’ works.

But with a new exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, meant to introduce children to art and the creative process, such behavior is encouraged.

In “Art Inside Out,” children can “step into” 70 original works and 40 interactive stations by three contemporary artists— the playful art of Elizabeth Murray, the installations of Fred Wilson and the work of William Wegman, known especially for his photos of Weimaraner dogs.

It is symbolic of the new territories children’s museum are taking. Not content to just let kids romp around amid science exhibits, they are now tackling subjects such as contemporary art and cultural identity while positioning themselves as community gathering places.

At the Children’s Museum of Houston, visitors can explore a replica of a mountain village in Mexico. The Children’s Museum of Los Angeles has a traveling literacy project that blends theater, music and storytelling. And starting in 2004, 70 children’s museums across the country will host exhibits on east Asia as part of a coordinated effort stemming from a $7 million grant.

There are now up to 300 children’s museums in the United States, with more than 100 opening since 1990 and 80 more in the planning stages, according to the Association of Children’s Museums.

Last year, 31 million children and families visited children’s museums, more than triple the attendance figure in 1991, according to the group.

Despite the popularity of children’s museums, the yearlong “Art Inside Out” exhibit was a daring try.

It required the children’s museum to find three diverse artists willing to create works especially for the museum, ones that would allow children to play and relate while also encouraging learning.

The result “gives kids the skills to look at art — to decipher and decode art on their own,” said the museum’s executive director, Andrew S. Ackerman.

Visitors are able to enter a room-sized version of one of Murray’s paintings where they can move around huge magnetized versions of her colorful, warped shapes.

The Wegman exhibit is set up like a house, where visitors see an early video he made of talking lamps and can choose from various props, costumes and backdrops to take photos like he does of his dogs.

In Wilson’s “museum,” visitors discover display cases full of original historic artworks, such as three very different busts of George Washington, and can also change the heads of statues of animals and people.

In all three sections, visitors have a chance to use interactive displays to alter the artists’ works or try out their own artmaking methods.

Wilson said that although he regularly works with museums — taking objects from collections and rearranging them to suggest new meanings — a children’s museum was a unique challenge. One of the easiest things he had to do was lower all the statue’s pedestals.

He also wanted to focus on a subject to which children could relate. He chose bullies — as shown in an arrangement in which Napoleon is surrounded by an army of ferocious animals while facing a soldier.

One child asked if Napoleon was angry at himself or someone else — a question that delighted Wilson.

“What I like is the exhibit allows them a way to access their own feelings and ideas about things in an environment where their ideas and imagination are validated,” he said.

But he believes the exhibit has also given adults who accompany the children a way to experience art in a nonthreatening, hands-on way.

Ackerman said another goal of the exhibit was to show that creating art is full of hard work and redoing, which often frustrates children so much that they get turned off to the process.

“While all kids are creative, not all children are artists. To be an artist requires a level of expertise, knowledge and creativity combined,” Ackerman said. “We don’t say to kids, ‘You’re an artist.’ We say, ‘Be as creative as you want, and you can hope to become an artist, but you have to really work at it.’ “

Rebecca Celli, 9, spent a recent afternoon at the museum, pointing out some of her favorite parts of the exhibit.

She picked up a sculpture of a monkey and a figure of a mouse in Wilson’s section and took a digital picture of it, calling it “Best Friends.”

“It shows the different ways you can look at things, and I think that’s really cool,” she said. “It’s very your thing.”

“Art Inside Out” will be on exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan through December 2003. A version will probably tour to other children’s museums elsewhere in the United States.

On the net:

Association of Children’s Museums: www.childrensmuseums.org/

Children’s Museum of Manhattan: www.cmom.org/

By TARA BURGHART

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11/08/2002

A Journey Into Art

The New York Times

It’s not unusual to see a guard at the entrance to a museum show. It is unusual, though, for that guard to be a Weimaraner in uniform.
Then again, nothing is ordinary about “Art Inside Out” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. The canine official, a lifesize photo cutout by William Wegman, is one element of this huge new show, whose installations by Elizabeth Murray, Fred Wilson and Mr. Wegman were designed to take children inside the creative process.

By asking prominent artists to participate, the museum is not only presenting art inside out, but also turning the children’s museum world upside down. A typical youth museum offers science experiments, cultural artifacts, even live creatures — everything but an abundance of the original works in which adult museums specialize.

The museum deliberately chose artists with a sense of humor. “That’s a very significant part of what artists are doing: reflecting on the world in a humorous way,” said Deborah F. Schwartz, the show’s curator. “That tendency is sometimes sarcastic, sometimes cynical, but sometimes very playful.”

These installations are certainly playful. Ms. Murray’s is essentially an invitation to step inside “Plan 9,” her vibrant abstract rendering of a table setting in which the utensils seem to bend and melt like Salvador Dalí’s timepieces. In addition to the painting, the space features large cutouts of its elements. The tiniest children can rearrange these shapes on a huge surface or drop others into the patterned openings on the surface of a big cup. Older children can use computers to make their own collages of Murray’s designs, elongating them with their fingers and adding colorful brushstrokes; as they work, their paintings in progress appear on a large video screen.

The components also include other Murray artworks and clues to her imagination. Children can swish a big brush over a canvas to hear the Prokofiev and Chopin works she listens to while she paints. “They show how paintings suggest sound and involve mood,” Ms. Schwartz said.
Fred Wilson, recently selected to participate in the Venice Biennale, takes existing objects from museum collections and juxtaposes them to reveal new meanings. His installation, titled “Power Games,” is about a resonant childhood subject: bullying. “I arrange things in ways museums never would,” he said.

In one case, a white marble bust of Napoleon faces an ebony bust of a Senegalese soldier; in between are small sculptures depicting animals and prey. “In shifting these objects, you can create dialogues as well as metaphors,” Mr. Wilson said. The tableaus’ symbolic overtones — of racism, of colonialism, of cultural dominance — are not lost on young visitors. They’re invited to participate in several activities, including creating their own tableaus, mixing and matching heads and bodies on sculptures and inventing conversations for a pair of facing busts.

Mr. Wegman’s installation is a fantasy house. With dog videos in the living room, dog magnets on the refrigerator and an ancestor portrait that is a soulful canine face, it’s like a Goldilocks tale redone with Weimaraners. But his space also includes his paintings and opportunities to learn about his quirky methods.

What children may appreciate most, though, is imitating Mr. Wegman. They can create their own images with his work as inspiration, use computers to “dress up Batty” (a dog), make and watch their own videos and invent Wegmanesque scenes in a photo studio.

The results make up a show that the museum says is the first of its kind, combining original contemporary works with an invitation that children (and even some adults) find irresistible: to come in and play.

By LAUREL GRAEBER

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11/06/2002

Art Gets Canine For Kids

Clare Henry talks to the team behind the children’s exhibition ‘Art Inside Out’

Children and animals are always a winning combination and the re are plenty of both at New York’s groundbreaking Dollars 750,000 exhibition, Art Inside Out. The dogs are by photographer William Wegman, one of three artists who have accepted the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s invitation not only to exhibit but be closely involved in a show.

Wegman is famous for his photographs of his Weimaraner dogs dressed up as people. His first dog Man Ray, was bought for Dollars 35 in 1970. “He loved games and he absolutely knew about the camera,” says Wegman. His four-legged character actors now include Man Ray’s offspring, Chundo, Batty, Crooky and Chip, who feature in his complex tableaux vivants dressed in ridiculous wigs and jeans, high heels or ballgowns.

The second artist, Fred Wilson, has just been selected to represent the US at next year’s Venice Bienniale. He uses found objects and ready-mades to tell stories about the past, about slavery, racism, power and black politics.

While both artists show how art can be created from unconventional materials, painter Elizabeth Murray uses traditional oils. However, her jazzy and joyfully shaped canvases and wacky cartoon-style works are far removed from dark Old Masters.

“We wanted diverse artists tackling different styles in different media so that children could see art isn’t only one thing,” says curator Deborah Schwartz, deputy education director at MoMA. “We also wanted to convey the relationship between process and inspiration, how artists come up with ideas. People should feel comfortable with art. It plays a big role in life.” Director Andrew Ackerman adds that research shows that children who lack a rich bank of early images, both verbal and visual, find it harder to learn.”

Before the experts got started on this show, a group of children met Wegman and Murray in their studios and Wilson at his gallery. “As far as my section is concerned most of the ideas for the exhibition came out of what the kids said in the studio,” says Murray. “I had several works out but somehow they all gravitated to ‘Plan Nine’, a large oil I did last year showing table -top, spoons, forks. It was not what I expected them to choose.”

Murray, who has also done lots of teaching, adds: “The idea – demystifying art, making it more accessible – appealed to me. It’s great for kids to get the feeling art is about play and you can play with it. However, exposing your work in this kind of way can be tricky.”

Murray’s work is known for its buoyancy, colour and cartoonish shapes derived from domestic objects – cups, tables, doorknobs, shoes, pillows – which take on a life of their own. Murray says: “Cartoons were the first art I saw. I loved them. I had favourite artists – the Disney artist who drew Donald Duck with lots of detail, Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy, Superman.” Since 1975 she has used unusually shaped canvases, “first, simple trapezoids, elongated diamonds, but they gradually became more complex and three-dimensional. Five years ago they ballooned so far off the wall that they were more like reliefs and were harder and harder to paint. The thing I’m into is painting. So now the shapes are flat.”

Murray believes that Wilson’s work is the most successful for this show: “It’s intellectual, but not beyond the kids’ grasp.” One example, “Childhood”, is a simple small arrangement of white porcelain figures in front of a single isolated black boy. Other Wilson works are installations of actual 19th-century bronzes and sculptures – including a bust of Napoleon, borrowed from the Brooklyn Museum. One interpretation using wooden egg-shapes encouraged kids children to evoke concepts like loneliness or a bad day at school.

However, overall, the children favour Wegman. The artist invited children to a photo session, to see how he achieves his images. Says Schwartz: “In the exhibition we created a stage-set style ‘home’, peopled by Wegman’s dogs, where visitors can go from kitchen to studio to bedroom and not only see his canine friends in bed, but make their own digital pictures.”

Schwartz also included some early Wegman black-and-white videos, which she says the children didn’t like. “Kids should know they don’t have to like everything in an exhibition, nor should they expect to. As long as it makes you think, it’s OK.” But, to the organisers’ surprise the children loved Wegman’s abstract work.

In an age when “Don’t touch” signs proliferate in galleries and museums, it’s a delight to find a show that cries out for hands-on involvement.

ART INSIDE OUT, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, until December 2003.
Tel: +1-212-721 1223. www.cmom.org
Copyright 2002 The Financial Times Limited; Financial Times (London); November 6, 2002, Wednesday USA Edition 1

By CLARE HENRY

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