The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is a non-profit institution, founded in 1973, to engage children and families in a partnership of learning through interactive exhibits and educational programs.
It was founded by Bette Korman, under the name GAME (Growth Through Art and Museum Experience), in 1973. With New York City in a deep fiscal crisis, and school art, music, and cultural programs eliminated, a loosely organized, group of artists and educators set up a basement storefront to serve Harlem and the Upper West Side. With a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a city-owned courthouse was renovated into a small exhibition, studio, and workshop and renamed the Manhattan Laboratory Museum. The museum became the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in the 1980s and moved to its current location on West 83rd Street in 1989.
The museum expanded exhibit and programming space adding a media center, an outdoor environmental center and an early childhood center. CMOM’s visibility and audience grew with the World of Pooh exhibit, created through a partnership with Disney. Wordplay, the first exhibit designed specifically for children 4 and younger opened. CMOM’s Executive Director, Andy Ackerman, served as president of the Association of Children’s Museum’s and hosted the 1999 ACM annual conference. In 2000, The Children’s Museum of Manhattan completed construction to add a new entrance, lobby, and supplement exhibit space.
In 2005, it was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
This nearly 40,000-square-foot institution houses exhibits that make learning about culture, history and science a blast for kids ages six and under. Explore the benefits of good nutrition from “EatSleepPlay,” a Dora the Explorer play area, and immersive exhibits that rotate in and out of the five-story space. CMOM also hosts classes and workshops—from Gross Biology for kids who love burps and germs, to the Music in Me!, a toddlers’ program by Laurie Berkner—all designed with the latest child-development research in mind.
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan focuses on four priority areas to impact children in ways that will last a lifetime:
- Early childhood education prepares children for success in school.
- Creativity in the arts and sciences inspires creative and analytical thinking skills for lifelong learning.
- Healthy lifestyles programs provide a blueprint for a family’s physical, emotional and environmental well-being.
- Exploration of world cultures gives children awareness, understanding and context for the diverse society in which we all live.
Each year, Children’s Museum of Manhattan serves more than 350,000 people, including 65,000 children who visited the Museum as part of a school group or through one of the Museum’s community partners. CMOM is committed to making its exhibits and programs available to all, and with outreach programs at nearly 50 sites around New York City, we continually reach thousands of families who might not otherwise be able to benefit from our services.
More than 80 workshops, classes and performances are offered free with admission to the Museum every week, deepening the CMOM experience with related literacy-based activities, diverse cultural experiences and the performing arts. Every CMOM program is based on research, evaluation and testing.