The Bronx is finally getting its own children’s museum!
NYC Parks, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and NYC Department of Design and Construction joined elected officials and community leaders in breaking ground for the long-awaited Bronx Children’s Museum on Wednesday, July 12.
Mill Pond Park will permanently house the organization providing a children’s museum in the only borough lacking such a cultural and educational institution.
The $10.3 million project includes 7,600-square-feet of exhibition and gallery spaces and 1,500-square-feet of studio, shared offices, restrooms, storage and performances spaces; a reception area and an artistic entry stairwell inside the 13,800-square-foot museum.
Its LEED-certified design emphasizes sustainability by allowing natural light to illuminate the building while minimizing energy consumption.
The eco-friendly design promotes healthy living by projecting a positive, active and open environment for children and their families to explore.
Design consultants are Manhattan-based O’Neill McVoy Architects and Work Architecture Company while Brooklyn-based A Quest Corporation serve as the contractor.
Anticipated to open in winter 2018, the museum will occupy the recently renovated second floor of the Bronx Terminal Market’s former powerhouse.
BCM’s ‘power’ theme will connect its exhibits exploring Bronx culture, arts and community resources.
These include Natural Science Areas: River, Beach/Wetlands and Treehouse; Community Arts and World Awareness: Urban Farm, Subway/Street Scene and Build the Bronx and Early Learner Area: Infant Zone, Discovery Zone, Challenge Zone and Parent Resource Center.
“Construction on our long-awaited museum facility will begin this summer under the supervision of the NYC Department of Design and Construction. This is our first major milestone and we are ecstatic,” said Carla Precht, BCM executive director.
Located south of Yankee Stadium and along the Harlem River, the 92-year-old castle-like building houses NYC Parks offices, Stadium Tennis Center facilities and a cafe on its first floor which will be accessible to visitors.
BCM is made possible through $16 million in capital funding allocated by the borough, city and state.
Approximately $3 million in private funds were provided by the Ford Foundation, the Louis and Anne Abrons Foundation, Con Edison and the Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Foundation for the exhibits.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the Bronx State Assembly Delegation and assembly members Jeffrey Dinowitz and Latoya Joyner allocated $4 million for the project.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said the City Council has allocated more than $5.3 million toward the museum over the last decade.
“When I, along with other community members, learned a decade ago that the Bronx was the only borough without a children’s museum, we were stunned,” expressed Hope Harley, BCM Board president.
BCM was founded in 2005 as a children’s museum without walls serving almost 18,000 Bronxites annually.
Through innovative, inquiry-based programming, BCM has engaged children and adults in the arts and sciences by utilizing its bus as a traveling learning environment for six years.
“This Bronx Children’s Museum facility was one of the first capital projects I supported when I began as borough president and I am ecstatic to see it is now getting off the ground,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.