The New-York Historical Society announced that it has received a $5 million donation from Joseph A. and Diana DiMenna for the creation of a new interactive museum for children to be built as part of the renovation of its landmark building. The gift will support the design and construction of the new facility, which will immerse children in American history by exploring and re-enacting the experiences of young New Yorkers throughout the centuries. In honor of the gift, the space will be named the DiMenna Children’s History Museum.
“On behalf of the New-York Historical Society, I would like to thank Joe and Diana for this extraordinarily generous gift. The Children’s History Museum is a vital component of our renovation, which is transforming the Historical Society into a more active and engaging place for all New Yorkers,” stated Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “With the creation of this museum, we will be able to offer a new cultural destination for the whole family – a place, outside of the classroom, where children can enjoy learning about history.”
Diana DiMenna stated, “Joe and I are thrilled to make this contribution to the New-York Historical Society, and to all children who will use the Children’s History Museum. We are incredibly excited to be part of something that will bring history to life, in Technicolor, so that kids see how important it is to know our country’s history, to consider it, question it, debate it, and find their own places in it. The Historical Society’s incredible collections, archives and historians, together with a brilliant design by Lee Skolnick, will make it exciting and fun for kids of any age to get how the history of our nation, and our city, makes us who we are.”
“Under Dr. Mirrer’s leadership, the New-York Historical Society continues to evolve as a place of learning, research and revelation for all of us,” Joseph DiMenna added. "We are delighted to help create the Children’s History Museum, an essential but long-missing piece of New York’s rich cultural landscape. We hope this gift will encourage others to support the organization and ensure the continued growth of such a vital New York institution.”
The new DiMenna Children’s History Museum will be located in a dramatic, vaulted space on the lower level of the New-York Historical Society’s Central Park West building. The museum will feature both permanent and special exhibits designed by Lee H. Skolnick Architecture & Design Partnership that will incorporate historical artifacts and replicas, objects and illustrations, three-dimensional pavilions, and interactive elements. The exhibits will encourage visitors, through their engagement with characters throughout the centuries, to explore different historic periods, enact key historic moments and make their own historical discoveries.
“Our vision for the Children’s History Museum is to create a world rich with discovery for young ’history investigators’ to follow their interests and explore at their own pace,” stated Lee Skolnick, principal in charge of the project. “Through their encounters with young New Yorkers throughout history, children will be able to uncover the city’s relationship with the United States and the world as it has evolved over the years.”
The creation of the DiMenna Children’s History Museum is part of the New-York Historical Society’s renovation designed by Platt Byard Dovell White Architects to bring a new level of openness and lightness to the building, while improving the Society’s ability to serve the public and showcase its collections and exhibitions.
For more information visit www.nyhistory.org.