What does history mean to your child? We have your guide to local museums that are hosting programs, events, and exhibits for children that are rooted in historical content, yet enjoyable and an excellent learning experience at the same time.
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West and 79 Street
• February 21, 1-5pm. Harlem Serenade: A Moment in Time. Celebrate African-American Heritage Month with a revisit of Harlem’s rich musical legacy through dance, poetry, and selected film clips. All ages. FREE with museum admission of $15; $8.50 ages 2-12; $11 student/senior with ID.
The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Avenue at 92 Street
• Second Sunday of each month through June 15, 12-3pm. Drop-In Dig Archaeology Zone: Discovering Treasures from Playgrounds to Palaces. Children become archaeologists as they search for clues about ancient and modern objects. They will discover what happens after archaeologists unearth artifacts and bring them back to their labs for in-depth analysis as they magnify, sketch, weigh objects, piece together clay fragments, interpret symbols, and dress in costume. Ages 3-10. FREE with museum admission of $12; $7.50 students; FREE under 12.
Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden
421 East 61 Street
• February 22, 1-3pm. Washington’s Birthday Ball. How did our founding fathers like to party? What kinds of snacks were served at a presidential birthday bash? Celebrate George Washington’s birthday just as New Yorkers would have in the early 19th century, with old New York-style refreshments and a period dance ensemble that will teach and perform traditional English country dances. Refreshments will be served. Reservations recommended. Ages 4 and up. $15; $8 under 12.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
108 Orchard Street
• February weekends, 12-3pm; February 16-20, 11am-3pm. Confino Family Living History Program. Visit the apartment of a Sephardic-Jewish family and meet a costumed interpreter playing 14-year-old Victoria Confino, who lived in the tenement in 1916. Visitors take on the roles of newly-arrived immigrants and ask Victoria questions about adjusting to life on the Lower East Side. All ages. $17; $13 students.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Tisch Building, 212 W 83rd Street
• February 7: 12, 2, 3 and 4pm; February 8, 12 and 2pm. Story Quilt Paintings. Celebrate Black History Month. Explore Faith Ringgold’s powerful painted quilts, which tell stories about her life and the African-American experience. Use fabric and paint to tell a story of your own. Ages 5 and older. $10; FREE under 1 year.
• February 16-18, hourly 11am-4pm. Lincoln’s Tall Black Hat. Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. Listen to Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner and discover true and amusing stories about Lincoln, including how he stored his office papers inside his hat! Make and decorate your own tall Lincoln-style hat. Ages 5 and older. $10; FREE under 1 year.
American Folk Art Museum
45 West 53rd Street
• February 7, 1-2:30pm. Home Sweet Home. Discover the world of folk art and see what homes looked like, how they were decorated, and how people may have lived in different time periods and places. After a discussion in the galleries, children will work with their accompanying adults to create their own artwork inspired by objects in the museum. Ages 4-12. FREE with museum admission of $9; $7 students; FREE under 12.
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
• Saturdays through March, 10am-5pm. Meet The Generals of the Civil War. What was life like as a soldier during the Civil War? Find out as re-enactors show what life was like for soldiers during the Civil War, as well as interact with them as they answer questions about life during the War, their uniforms, and their weaponry. All ages. FREE with museum admission of $10; $6 students; FREE under 12.
• February 14, 2pm. Don’t Know Much About History Quiz Show. American Presidents Quiz Show with Kenneth C. Davis, the author of many books for children. FREE with museum admission of $10; $6 students; FREE under 12.
65 Jumel Terrace (West 160th and West 162nd Streets)
• February 21,11am-4pm. Washington’s Birthday Celebration. Tour the mansion with a docent, join Rich Bala as he sings folk ballads about the Revolutionary War, and hear Jim Napoli discuss Washington and his troops, aides, soldiers and spies. All ages. FREE.
• March 7, 10am-12pm. Family Workshop - Colonial Puzzles. What did Colonial children do for fun? They created their own games and puzzles. Come create your own string and bead puzzle; it is harder to beat than you think! Advanced registration required. All ages. FREE.
Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street at Clinton Street
(718) 222-4111; http://www.brooklynhistory.org/
• March 7, 1-4pm.The Center for Architecture Foundation’s Family Day.Discover Brooklyn's most famous icon! The Brooklyn Bridge will be 126 years old in 2009. Learn some of the bridge's secrets and make a model of the Brooklyn Bridge to take home. All materials are provided. Ages 5-13. $6; $4 students; FREE under 12. $10 donation per family requested.
200 Eastern Pkwy
(718) 638-5000; www.brooklynmuseum.org
• February 7, 5-11pm. The Black List Project. A night of music, dance, art-making classes, and other family-friendly activities in celebration of Black History Month and the special exhibition, “The Black List Project.” All ages. FREE.
Lefferts Historic House
Prospect Park, Flatbush Avenue at Empire Boulevard/Ocean Avenue
(718) 789-2822; www.prospectpark.org
• Ongoing Saturdays and Sundays, 2:30-3:30pm. Early American Crafts & Games.Bring history to life! Using your hands and your skills, create arts and crafts the old-fashioned way and play games that were popular 150 years ago. All ages. FREE.
• April 4 and 5, 1–4pm. Spring Wash Day. The clothes are dirty and there's no electricity! Get out the washtubs, washboard and lye soap, heat water over an open fire, and get to work. Help wash and hang the 19th-century reproduction clothing to dry. Ages 8 and up. FREE.
King Manor Museum
King Park between 150th and 153rd Streets on Jamaica Avenue
• February 7, 12pm. Hands-on History: Valentine's at the Manor. Story time, activity, and craft based on the historical theme of love, family, and Valentine's Day. Ages 10 and under. FREE.
• March 21, 12pm. Hands-on History: Music, Mozart and the Manor. Story time, activity, and craft based on music and Rufus King's contemporaries, such as Mozart. Ages 10 and under. FREE.
• May 16, 12pm. Hands-on History: The Little House and the Manor. Story time, activity, and craft workshop centered on how Jamaica, Queens, and New York have changed in the time since King Manor was built over 200 years ago. Ages 10 and under. FREE.
Long Island Children's Museum
11 Davis Avenue, Garden City
• February 16, 1pm. Journey with Johnson: Celebrating Black History Month. Explore the life of artist William H. Johnson. Learn about his life, paintings, and the meanings behind them. Apply Johnson’s unique style and use of geometric shapes, lines and repeating patterns to create your own painting. Ages 5 and up. $3 with museum admission of $10; $1 under one year.
• February 19, 1pm; February 28, 3pm. Freedom Quilts: Celebrating Black History Month. Discover the stories that quilts told in the days of the Underground Railroad. Learn about the important symbols and shapes as you design your own quilt pattern to take with you. Ages 5 and up. $3 plus museum admission of $10; $1 under 1 year.