TONIGHT – Tuesday, May 8, the Bronx Museum will hold their second annual gala that will honor Sonia Manzano of Sesame street, actor Chazz Palmentiri, and the family who donated the museum’s bus. The benefit co-chair is TV star Kerry Washington. The public is invited to attend and those who can’t make it are encouraged to donate.
by Gary Axelbank
May 4, 2018
On Wednesday, Bronx Children’s Museum Executive Director Carla Precht and Department of Design and Construction (DDC) officials toured thisistheBronX publisher Gary Axelbank through the historic building on Exterior Street in the south Bronx that will become the Bronx Children’s Museum. Completion of the building is slated for the spring of 2019. It will then be outfitted with art and numerous interactive exhibits prior to its official opening in 2020. But that one-of-a-kind facility will be only a portion of what the museum already is in the Bronx.
“This will be a new kind of museum, with and without walls,”Ms. Precht said as she pointed out different sections of the under-construction space. “When people think of a museum, they only think of a building. But because we had to start without one, we already have these amazing programs and we see thousands of people.”
Even without its physical space, the Bronx Children’s Museum currently serves 13,000 Bronx children in after school centers and outdoor festivals with Bronx-focused programs that are designed, Ms. Precht says, “to help families learn about all aspects of where they’re living. We see the entire borough of the Bronx as our museum.”
She said there are 250,000 Bronx children under nine years-old and that’s where the Museum’s focus is.
“One of our biggest inspirations for the children’s museum is the story of water. We will have exhibits and experiences for children where they will learn about water. We’ll examine where water comes from and how we as a community depend upon water and how we have to take care of our environment.”
Those kinds of directed programs need to be in appropriate spaces. While DDC is handling other vital Bronx projects like the Bronx Museum, Bronx River Art Center, and the Bronx River House, custom-building a Children’s Museum that has unique and specific objectives is no small task.
“It brings a level of complexity because it involves children,” said DDC Assistant Commissioner Oscar Gonzalez. “The fact that it’s in an historic building, the location, the logistics, all of it, adds to the complexity.”
The Commissioner, a father of three young boys, said he understands the impact of this particular project. “We have visited every children’s museum and the Bronx hasn’t had one. This is a big achievement.”
The Bronx Children’s Museum is on the second floor of the city-owned historic building that once was a power station and now houses the tennis center’s café and Parks Department offices. The first floor entranceway will include contributions from 40 local artists who will, as Ms. Precht put it, “make it a space that’s art-ful.”
With public budgets as they are, most all of the museum’s funding comes from private sources. So this Tuesday, May 8, they’ll hold their second annual gala that will honor Sonia Manzano of Sesame street, actor Chazz Palmentiri, and the family who donated the museum’s bus. The benefit co-chair is TV star Kerry Washington. The public is invited to attend and those who can’t make it are encouraged to donate. Ms. Precht emphasized that any size donation is welcome.
Click here for an exclusive sneak preview of the Bronx Children’s Museum video that will be shown at Tuesday night’s gala
“We will help children and their families feel a pride in the Bronx that maybe they didn’t have when they walked in the door,” Ms Precht said, “and then as they walk out they’ll feel like they’ll want to learn about things that they found out about here.”