We're building a dream!
Founded in 2005, Bronx Children’s Museum (BxCM or Museum) is a new kind of multicultural, Bronx-inspired children’s museum operating “with and without walls” geared to those from infancy through fourth grade. Since programming began in 2010, it has engaged more than 130,000 children and families at 611 different community events and 103 educational institutions.
To complement existing outreach programs and provide the Bronx’s children with an interactive place to learn and play, BxCM, with the City, opened a 13,650 square feet of space in a City-owned former powerhouse in the South Bronx in December 2022. The Museum facility is located on park land just steps away from the Bronx Terminal Market, Yankee Stadium and near the 161st and 149th Street subway stations.
Historically the Museum was engaging 16,000 Bronx children and caregivers annually in 11 hands-on arts and science (STEAM) experiences and programs throughout the borough at community-based organizations, schools, shelters, libraries, parks, fairs and festivals. The iconic “Museum On the Go!” purple bus, a roving learning environment with complementary suitcase exhibits and curriculum, was the Museum’s most popular program. In school, after school and festival programs are now back in full swing.
Going forward, the Museum will always operate “with and without walls”. It anticipates engaging nearly 36,000 children and families in 2023–23,750 in the building and 12,000 through outreach programs.
The Bronx is almost the size of Philadelphia, has 190,000 children under the age of nine, and until now was the only borough in New York City without an educational and cultural facility geared solely to young children and their caregivers.
THE BUILDING IS OPEN!
On December 3, 2022, BxCM opened its doors to the public. The space is open three days per week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday), with this number increasing as additional funds are secured. Admission is initially free as a special introductory offer. Thereafter, prices will be nominal and in line with our constituencies’ economic capacity.
The space provides:
Bright, open theme-based areas with interactive activities exploring the arts, culture, science, community, natural resources, the environment and the richness of the Bronx
A 35-foot water exhibit, casita, “Nest” area for the youngest visitors, artist loft and classroom space
Eleven large fine art installations created by fourteen Bronx-connected artists throughout the space, all of which inform programming
The Cloud, a suspended multi-purpose performance area with a touchless interactive experience created by a local artist. To open in 2023.
Offices for BxCM educators and administrators
Mill Pond Park, on which the facility stands, which is undergoing a renovation, offers an excellent outdoor classroom space for the Museum to access and use as a further extension of our walls.
NEED: Most Bronx children lack access to affordable, modern arts and cultural museum programming and experiences geared specifically to them. Museum educators have seen time and again what research shows: access to arts and STEAM give children a freedom to express themselves, become better communicators, learn to problem solve, build confidence, and think creatively.
Arts education programs are in crisis. NYC’s recently passed budget cut $469 million in school funding. Principals are being forced to cut art and music programs, especially in underserved areas. It just reported that “In the first full-scale assessment since the pandemic, the [National Report Card] found a widening gap in achievement between students of color and their white counterparts, a chasm of 33 points that grew since the pandemic, and was nowhere near closing prior to 2020.” (Forbes, 9/2/2022)
Systemic income inequality, food deserts, poor healthcare, fewer hospitals and deteriorating housing has harmed the borough of predominantly Black and Brown residents. In fact, for the past decade the Bronx has ranked the lowest of all 62 New York State counties in quality of life, health behaviors, availability of clinical care, social/economic factors and physical environment, according to the NY County Health Rankings Annual Report.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION: The Museum is committed to reaching underserved and underrepresented populations in the South Bronx where the building is located and 94% of the population identifies as Black or Hispanic. It is of utmost importance to reflect and represent the community. BxCM is creating an institutional DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion) plan in line with the Museum’s statement of solidarity with Black Lives Matter. As the statement says, “Children instinctively know what is not fair. We inspire children to respect and love themselves, be kind to others who may not be like them and speak up against discrimination of any kind. We will continue to work to encourage all children to treat each other with the utmost respect, fairness and tolerance.”
In keeping with these efforts, all Museum programs focus on diversity and inclusion. The website, building signage and most printed materials are in both English and Spanish. (As of 2019, 48% of the Bronx population was native Spanish speakers versus 41% for whom English is the primary language.) The building space is designed to provide barrier-free access and there will be designated times/materials for children with special needs, including, but not limited to, those with autism spectrum disorder.
CURRENT FINANCIAL NEED: BxCM must raise $2 million by the end of 2024 to have a vibrant, fun-filled sustainable museum. These needs are above and beyond the funds required to support a general operating budget of $3.6 million in 2023, up from $1.4 million in 2021.