Founded in 1899 as the world’s first children’s museum, Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) is New York City’s largest cultural institution designed especially for families. For decades, BCM has offered its collection of approximately 30,000 natural history and cultural objects to teachers for use in educational settings. Advised by their Educator Advisory Council, BCM gives schools Museum-on-the-Go suitcases composed of objects and lesson plans with themes that vary by age. Children in PreK, kindergarten, and 1st grade are served by open-ended topics such as “Movement & Motion”, “Same and Different”, or “Patterns”. Children in 2nd through 5th grades explore cases with more specific themes like “African Textiles”, “Fossils”, or “Adornments From Head to Toe.”
With a grant from the Revson Foundation, BCM will expand this work for the first time to libraries. In partnership with Brooklyn Public Library, BCM will re-imagine the Museum-on-the-Go model for use in 20 branch libraries throughout Brooklyn. This new initiative, Collections Connections, will leverage the Museum’s experience providing resources for facilitated object-based learning programs and the expertise of librarians and library educators. It will also create exhibits curated from BCM’s collection that can be experienced and enjoyed by children and caregivers in library branches, even if a librarian-led program is not in session.
BCM and Brooklyn Public Library staff will work to co-develop goals, themes, programs, and 20 sites for programs and mini-museums. They will create or refurbish up to 24 Museum-on-the-Go cases. Collections Connections will make BCM’s unique programming and collection more accessible, reaching at least 3,000 children through Brooklyn Public Library’s branches over the next two years.