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PR- 361-08
September 17, 2008


City Provided $48 Million for Expansion, Doubling Museum's Size

Environmental Design Creates First 'Green' Museum in NYC

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Kate D. Levin, and Commissioner of Design and Construction David J. Burney, FAIA, joined with public officials to celebrate the opening of the new Brooklyn Children's Museum. The City provided $48 million for the museum's expansion, which doubles its size and adds all-new arts, culture, science and environmental exhibits. Designed by renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, the new museum will be the first "green" museum in New York City, incorporating flooring and display cases made from renewable or recycled content, solar heating, geothermal wells, and photovoltaic panels to generate electricity. Also joining the Mayor at the museum's opening were State Assemblyman Karim Camara, City Council Member Albert Vann and Brooklyn Children's Museum President Carol Enseki, along with Fantasia, a 21-foot python, and Elizabeth, an energetic iguana.

"This is a great day for Brooklyn and for all of New York City's children and families," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The Brooklyn Children's Museum is an outstanding example of long-term, public-private investments benefiting our neighborhoods. The new design creates a dynamic experience for visitors and the technologies incorporated in the design will make this the City's first 'green' museum. Thanks to the leadership of Carol Enseki and her board, we are helping to bring the highest quality exhibitions and educational programs to families from New York and beyond."

Since the project's inception in 1997, the museum's Board of Directors has raised $32 million in additional funding for the project. The project was managed by the City's Department of Design and Construction.

"The Brooklyn Children's Museum has been a pioneer in teaching, engaging and exciting children for over a hundred years," said Speaker Quinn. "With the opening of this new space today, the museum will now be able to provide new exhibitions and collections in a building that is 'green,' helping to teach our children about the importance of maintaining our environment. The completion of this new expansion will now allow the museum to touch the lives of even more young people in Brooklyn and throughout the entire City."

"Cultural organizations are often on the leading edge of design and programming innovation, and there's no better example than the Brooklyn Children's Museum," said Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Kate D. Levin. "For more than a decade, despite two economic downturns, the City and the museum have persevered to introduce new building strategies and green technologies into an iconic design that will benefit children and families from Central Brooklyn and the five boroughs. It's an extraordinary example of the catalytic power of strong public-private partnerships. Congratulations to the museum's board and staff, who continue to set the standard for excellence through thoughtful, dynamic exhibitions and programs."

"DDC is very proud to have been a partner with the Brooklyn Children's Museum in this exciting project. This major expansion doubles the size of program space the museum has to serve the children of the neighborhood and the City," said Commissioner of Design and Construction David J. Burney, FAIA. "Visually stunning, energy efficient and sustainable, Rafael Viñoly's award-winning design brings the museum to the forefront as one of the City's great museums."

"When it comes to inspiring curiosity and instilling a love of learning in our young people, no institution has more energy and creativity than the Brooklyn Children's Museum," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "They were ahead of the pack in 1899, as the first children's museum in the world, and they still are, with this state-of-the-art vibrant yellow and proudly 'green' renovation by Rafael Viñoly. I am thrilled to have been able to join the Mayor in supporting this project and ensuring our beloved Brooklyn Children's Museum will remain a thrill for kids from Brooklyn and beyond far into our city's bright future."

"I feel fortunate as the New York State Assemblyman to represent the Children's Museum, in Brooklyn, New York. This museum is a huge part of my memories of growing up in Crown Heights," said Assemblyman Karim Camara. "We are privileged that this museum, which has doubled in size now, has new exhibits and programs and serves today as a beacon in our community. The Brooklyn Children's Museum has maintained its community roots and character for all to enjoy."

"I am especially pleased that for the foreseeable future the newly renovated Brooklyn Children's Museum will inspire, motivate and entertain untold numbers of children from our community, and visitors from around the world," said Council Member Albert Vann. "The Brooklyn Children's Museum is a beloved institution within our community of which we are very proud."

"Our new daffodil-yellow museum will be a beacon of inspiration and wonder for all who visit - children, parents, grandparents, educators, neighbors, tourists, and the world," said Carol Enseki, the museum's president. "We are so grateful to the City of New York for making this expansion possible, for providing a home to wonderful new exhibits and programs that serve as a gateway for children to discover the arts, culture, science and the environment."

The new museum will feature major improvements to visitor services and additional visitor services including:

  • New classrooms, workshops and the Children's Library and Education Resource Center;
  • An upgraded open-air plaza with stadium-style bleacher seats, which will become a meeting place for the community; and
  • A new Kids Café and gift shop.

All-new exhibits will be featured including:

  • Totally Tots, a place for visitors ages 5 and younger to transform into scientists and adventurers; 
  • Neighborhood Nature, a trek through the city's natural habitats; 
    Science Inquiry Center, a home to live animals;
  • World Brooklyn, a streetscape of kid-sized stores - each based on a real business and neighborhood; and
  • Living In Space, a temporary exhibit where kids can try sleeping, dressing, and working like astronauts.

The Museum will officially open to the public on Saturday, September 20, 2008.

The Brooklyn Children's Museum is a private nonprofit organization that occupies a City-owned facility.  The museum receives an annual subsidy for operating and energy costs from the Department of Cultural Affairs.


Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent   212) 788-295

Kate deRosset/Danai Pointer   (212) 513-9322

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