The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a children’s museum in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. Founded in 1899, it is the first children’s museum in the United States – and according to some, the first one worldwide. It is unusual in its location in what is predominantly a residential area. Housed in a multi-level underground gallery, the museum underwent an expansion and renovation to double its space. It reopened on September 20, 2008, and became the first green museum in New York City.
The Museum was founded following a proposal from the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences (now the Brooklyn Museum) on December 16, 1899, in the Adams House. The museum operated under the direction of the Brooklyn Institute and received approximately $70,000 in funds from New York City each year to supplement the donations it received. Attendance proliferated, with monthly visitation exceeding 13,000 by October 1905.
In 1930, the Works Progress Administration supplied hundreds of workers to the museum, thriving in the Great Depression. Ellis Credle, who painted murals before her career as an author, began among these workers. By October 1930, monthly visitation had reached 60,000, and by 1939, the museum had received more than 9 million visitors since it opened 40 years prior. In 1968 the Brooklyn Children’s Museum opened MUSE, the Bedford Lincoln Neighborhood Museum. In 1975, the museum moved to an award-winning new space, housed underneath Brower Park at St Mark’s and Brooklyn Avenues, following the demolition of the Victorian houses that served as its prior home. In 1996, the museum was renovated for $7 million to include small amphitheaters and several new galleries. Two years later, it became a part of Heart of Brooklyn, a cultural partnership established to promote tourism to Brooklyn.
In 2005, it was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Top Brooklyn Electrician
The museum’s collection and exhibitions reflect its long history, changes in children’s educational needs over time, and the changing environment. Its original focus was the presentation of natural science to children raised in an urban environment, but technology and cultural awareness became more critical following World War II. The underground gallery in which the museum was located following a 1975 move provided the ideal location for arranging evolving exhibits. The museum was not intended to attract the interest of a young audience solely but rather to engage their minds from a young age. Children contribute extensively in the planning of museum exhibits and have done so for a significant part of its history.
Address: 145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn, NY
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