Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Please, Bring Your Kids to the Brooklyn Museum!

The Brooklyn Museum

Last winter, on a trip to the Getty in Los Angeles with Charlie and Vivi, then aged four and two, I asked the docent at the information desk what exhibits she could recommend for young children.

“We don’t really have any art for children,” she replied stiffly.

At the time, I was seven and a half months pregnant and admittedly, perhaps, a little touchy, but… really? No art for children? Really? It’s not like this was a porn museum (which, yes, if you are wondering, does exist as “The Erotic Heritage Museum” in—where else?—Las Vegas).

Call me naïve, but I thought that most art can be for anyone, including children.

Some museums have no interest in actively courting families or cultivating the next generation of art lovers and patrons. Happily, the Brooklyn Museum is not one of them.

The Brooklyn Museum was actually the institution where museum education for children began at the end of the nineteenth century. Their programs for children have always been, and continue to be, one of their highest priorities, as evidenced by their family-friendly website chockfull of all sorts of fun on-line activities and their free, printed family guides at the front desk.

Brooklyn Museum: 1; Getty: 0.

"The Secret Happy End" by Jean-Michel Othomel (2008): A 19th century wooden covered wagon with panels of colored glass and oversize glass beads

"The Burghers of Calais" by Auguste Rodin (1889)--and Charlie

No lines to see this 30-foot replica of the Statute of Liberty

In the outdoor sculpture garden, which houses the museum's collection of architectural salvage pieces rescued from demolished New York City buildings

An Ionic capital and column base saved from Penn Station (R.I.P. 1910-1963)

An Art Nouveau plaque from the Mulcaster Building, formerly at 1297 Third Avenue (at 68th Street)

Stopping for a scoop before heading back to Manhattan

Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238-6052; 2/3 Train to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum (the station is right in front of the museum); (718) 638-5000,; Open Wednesday to Friday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Saturdays and Sundays 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM; Closed Mondays and Tuesdays; Admission: the suggested donation for adults is $10; Children under 12 are free.

Blue Marble Ice Cream, 186 Underhill Avenue, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn; (718) 399-6926;

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