Scholastic Kids Press Corps
The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.
DiMenna Children's History Museum opening Diana DiMenna and a group of kids at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the DiMenna Children's History Museum at the New-York Historical Society. (Credit: New-York Historical Society/Don Pollard)

New York Takes a Trip Through Time

New York Historical Society unveils new children's museum

By Cecilia Gault | December 2 , 2011

The New-York Historical Society, a pioneer institution, is New York's oldest museum. And now it has a section dedicated to hands-on learning for kids.

On November 11, the museum reopened after a three-year, $65 million renovation. A new addition to the museum is the DiMenna Children's History Museum. The kids' area was created thanks to a $5 million grant by Joseph A. and Diana DiMenna.

"This is one of a kind. This is the only history museum dedicated for children in the United States," Diana DiMenna told the Kids Press Corps.

Exhibits in the children's museum are built around six thematic pavilions. Each of the pavilions tells the life story of a child living in New York City in early America. The exhibits focus on the lives of six children and span 300 years.

DiMenna said the focus of the children's museum is to teach kids that "you're a part of American history, and a lot of kids think that history is boring and history is about other people long ago. But it is not. We are making history right now while we sit here and talk to each other. And your history is not different from the history of all the great people of United States. They were all once kids."

The New-York Historical Society Children's Museum is a certainly fun place for kids to explore history interactively. Kids learn New York's history from the perspective of New Yorkers of the past.

Tommy, an 8-year-old from New Jersey, had the honor of cutting the ribbon for opening of the children's museum. When asked by the Kids Press Corps what his favorite part was, he said the "newspaper thingy." This is a section of the museum displaying historic newspaper clippings.

Enthusiastic 11-year-old Jaliel told the Kids Press Corps that he was interested in learning more about Native Americans. On opening day, Jaliel learned that "Native Americans were living in different places and built housings with natural resources."

Ebbonasia a 6-year-old girl came to see the museum with her after-school friends. She was seated in the library section reading a picture book called I STINK. She said that she enjoyed all the pictures, books, and interactive displays at the museum. She said she wants to come back again "soon."

"This museum is for kids in New York," Lee H. Skolnick, the designer of the center, said. "It's about their own stories."

At the opening of the children's museum, the New-York Historical Society unveiled the "Disery Sampler" created by a girl in the 19th century named Rosana Disery.

Disery's art is one of only two known needlework samplers made at the New York African Free School around 1820. The needlework was unveiled by Adam Whiting, who is a descendent of Rosana Disery.

Until recently, Whiting had no idea he was related to Rosana. "She is my great, great, great, great, grandmother," he said.

"This is [my] first time to see the actual piece in person," Whiting told this Kid Reporter.

"I think it is good that kids are exposed to the aspect of the history that they wouldn't have known about. Up until a few months ago, I didn't know this existed."

Historical exploration is a major theme of the new New-York Historical Society. And the new children's museum gives kids a kind of time machine that allows them to explore history through stories about real kids from the past.


Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.

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