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City Delivers New, Permanent Space for Bronx Children’s Museum
NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC), and Bronx Children’s Museum joined elected officials and members of the community today to celebrate the completion of a $14 million project to create a new and permanent home for the Museum. The project was managed by DDC for NYC Parks, DCLA, and the Museum.
“Until this project, the Bronx was the only borough without a children’s museum, which makes this day so special. Through this newly renovated building, we’re advancing equity and education, giving kids in the Bronx the museum space they deserve,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “This milestone ribbon cutting is the culmination of years of hard work, and I’d like to thank all of our partners and sister agencies for delivering on this brand new museum. I know that the Bronx Children’s Museum has many great exhibits about nature, the natural world, and our city, and I urge everyone, from every corner of the city, to come out and enjoy this new place for learning.”
“Art uplifts and empowers our young people, grow their imaginations, and boosts their confidence like nothing else can,” said NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “That’s why every child deserves the opportunity to experience first-rate cultural programming, and why we’re so proud of our investment in the Bronx Children’s Museum’s new home in Mill Pond Park. We encourage families from across the Bronx and beyond to visit this exciting new addition to NYC’s family-friendly cultural offerings. I will be among the first in line with my own son Prince, who already toured the museum space while it was under construction and can’t wait to come back to see the newest children’s museum on the block. The children of the Bronx deserve this museum, and I’m proud to be the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs as we cut the ribbon on this amazing new space.”
“The Bronx has gone far too long as the only borough without a permanent Children’s Museum and now that ends. Today’s ribbon cutting signifies the delivery of a much-needed investment for children in the Bronx,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Thomas Foley. “We’re very pleased to be able to provide this great facility and we look forward to it being used and enjoyed for decades to come.”
“Architects O’Neill McVoy understood just what we envisioned from the beginning – a combination of a fine arts museum space and a children’s museum that emulates a natural landscape with all its beauty, twists and turns, surprises and diversity,” said Bronx Children’s Museum Founding Executive Director, Carla Precht. “The space reflects the fluidity of water which is an overarching theme throughout the Museum exhibits, space, experiences, and programming. The children of the Bronx only deserve the best and we think we have achieved just that: an unforgettable, beautiful space they will be proud of and will enjoy for years to come.”
“Today’s opening of the Bronx Children’s Museum is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication to bringing much-needed resources to our residents and families,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “I was an avid supporter of this project in the City Council and I am proud to see it come to fruition in my role as Borough President. This project will give The Bronx a cultural resource center dedicated to providing our children an opportunity to dream big, express themselves, and aspire to be whatever they want to be. I am grateful for the incredible commitment and partnership of all our stakeholders, elected officials, public partners, private partners, the Board of Directors, Board Chair Hope Harley, and especially our Executive Director, Carla Precht, for their tireless efforts, consistency, and belief in the mission and vision of the Bronx Children’s Museum.”
“The completion of this project marks the beginning of an era dedicated to fostering the educational prospects of all our children throughout the Bronx,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “I am proud of the work that has been done to make this museum a reality and I am excited about all the laughs, smiles, and everlasting joy that will echo through these halls.”
“With this ribbon cutting we are adding another jewel to the crown of our Borough as we celebrate the opening of the Bronx Children’s Museum,” said Assembly Member Latoya Joyner. “The public money invested in this wonderful Museum will be paid back many times over as this Museum inspires countless children and youth to reach for the stars and truly achieve their dreams.”
“The Bronx Children’s Museum will be a beacon of learning and opportunity for children from the Bronx and across New York City,” said State Senator José M. Serrano. “This multi-cultural, interactive museum will inspire ideas while educating children about the arts, music, science, and nature. My sincere thanks to all who helped make this possible.”
“Today is a great day for all of our children of The Bronx. We have given them an early Christmas present which they dearly deserve,” said Bronx Community Board 4 Chair Robert Garméndiz. “With the opening of their ‘Children’s Museum,’ they will be able to expand their imagination and create a better future for our society. All that’s left to say to them is ‘enjoy’ the museum and life.”
The Bronx Children’s Museum now has a permanent home at the Bronx Terminal Market at 725 Exterior Street in Mill Pond Park. The new, 13,800-square-foot Museum allows children to play, learn and connect through art, dramatic role-play, and scientific exploration. The design catalyzes the site’s position between the city grid and the tidal river with an architecture of organic flow inside the rectangular frame of a 1925 historic powerhouse.
The design is inspired by Jean Piaget’s Child’s Conception of Space. The design’s spatial flow creates space that connects children to the experience of the natural landscape and the Harlem River and all spaces were designed in perspective from a child’s eye height. Visitors to the Museum are greeted with a tall, light-filled open space with views of the Harlem River and the City. The welcome area opens directly into the main exhibition space, composed of three primary areas including Early Learner, Community Arts, and Natural Sciences.
The space remains open and accessible throughout, while the movement up and through the space by ramps, delineated by partial height exhibit walls, creates focused areas of interest. The low partitions maximize visibility for caregivers while creating a rich and diverse spatial experience for the children. Curved wooden and translucent acrylic partitions diverge, reconnect and spiral to create both continuity and separation between the exhibition spaces. A “cloud” mezzanine with interactive projections, and an artist loft, are raised up to expand the exhibition space and a studio serves as a classroom and community room. The Museum was designed according to the NYC Active Design Guidelines to promote physical activity. Built-in benches offer rest areas for children and caregivers along the way.
Natural materials are used throughout the Museum including wood, stone, cork, linoleum, and glass. Soft blue and green colors create a natural palette for the Museum’s exhibitions. The sky-blue acoustical plaster ceiling compliments the grounded warm wood. Translucent guardrails are made of recycled acrylic molded into curved panels. The walls, partitions, and elevated floors are made of cross-laminated timber (CLT), fabricated with advanced digital technology allowing for varying radii arcs to form organic space.
Work also included the installation of new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. The Museum is slated to achieve LEED Silver Certification.
The project was designed by O’Neill McVoy Architects and the design was carried out by A Quest Corporation.
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