U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Children From Baychester Neighborhood Get A Sneak Peek of the Museum
Bronx Children’s Museum hosts a special preview ahead of the official opening of its brand new space in the South Bronx
Children from PS 153 learn about the Waterways of the Bronx while playing with boats, locks and bridges during a special sneak peek visit of the soon-to-be open Bronx Children's Museum. Photo: Jennifer Altman
On Wednesday, October 19th, Bronx Children’s Museum welcomed 25 students from PS 153 for a preview of its brand new facility alongside Bronx-native and long-time friend of the Museum U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Justice Sotomayor, a special guest of the Museum’s annual Dream Big summer outreach program for more than ten years, explored the Bronx-inspired exhibits with the children as they played with animal puppets, launched boats down the Waterways table and experimented with musical instruments in The Casita. She then spoke to the third graders about dreaming big, the power of hard work and the significance of having a museum in the borough. When she asked the children about how they felt about the new space, they responded with a resounding “A-MAZ-ING!”
This visit marked the very first time children were in the Museum’s new space on the Harlem River, just blocks away from Yankee Stadium. With the official public opening set for December 3rd, the Museum is now putting the final touches on select key exhibit areas, kicking off several weeks of testing, and training a new group of educators and building staff — all of whom are from the Bronx.
Among the hands-on exhibits the Justice and third graders explored were The Waterways, The Block and The Casita. Bronx Children’s Museum also houses the artworks of eleven Bronx-connected fine artists participating in the Museum’s Arts Builds Community (ABC) Collection, curated by Deputy Director of Arts and Exhibits Natalie Collette Wood. Bronx-born, award-winning children’s book illustrator Charles George Esperanza, who designed the whimsical Casita and surrounding street scape, was also in attendance.
Founding Executive Director Carla Precht explained, “We promised Justice Sotomayor we would invite her to our new space when it was close to opening, and we knew she would insist on sharing her visit with children from the Bronx. We are beyond thrilled to welcome the children and the Justice to this special preview two months before our official opening. The delight on their faces was our sneak peek as to how impactful the Museum’s new space will be for the community.”
A true sneak peek: a child from PS 153 gets a first look at the interior of Bronx Children's Museum during a special preview visit. The Museum opens to the public on December 3, 2022. Photo: Jennifer Altman
Students from PS 153 play with a boat, exploring its movement through The Waterways, during their special visit to Bronx Children's Museum's new facility. Photo: Jennifer Altman
“Words cannot describe my experience and the faces of my students while being in the presence of our Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor,” exclaimed Kiana Washington, Principal of PS 153. “Bronx Children's Museum provided my students with a mirror; they were able to see themselves in our Supreme Court Justice and now they know they can achieve anything they put their minds and hearts into."
"Today was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” added Eileen Burnett, the students’ teacher. “The Museum was beautiful and engaging for both adults and children. Meeting the Justice was incredible. We are truly honored to be in this space.”
One student spreads her wings in Bronx Children's Museum's Turret Gallery, while another dressed up as a fellow garden critter. They even take a moment to read up on animals found in the Bronx. Photo: Jennifer Altman
During the special event, Bronx Children’s Museum also dedicated two areas of its space to supporters and members of the Museum family. The Cloud, a suspended multi-media space that overlooks the entire second-floor space, was dedicated to Bronx-born entrepreneur and long-time supporter Rafael Collado. A corner located in the Museum’s Wonder Room, which houses an array of children’s books and family-friendly resources, will now be known as Sonia’s Corner in honor of both Justice Sotomayor and fellow Bronx native, actor and writer Sonia Manzano.
First Deputy Commissioner of NYC Parks Iris Rodriguez-Rosa commented, ”Children are 25% of the census in the U.S. but they are 100% of our future.”
Bronx Children’s Museum will be officially open to the public on December 3rd, 2022. Timed-ticket reservations will be available on their website, www.bronxchildrensmuseum.org, as of November 4th, 2022.