The Making of The Jewish Children's Museum
The creativity expressed in the exhibits at the Jewish Children’s Museum is the result of decades of experience and interaction with children, where an appreciation of their unquenchable desire for knowledge was attained. Acquiring this understanding of children began back in 1980 when the organization Tzivos Hashem-Jewish Children International, was founded.
The First Step - Jewish Children’s Expo …
In late fall 1986, the makers of the Jewish Children's Museum held its first Jewish Children's Expo, which started the journey that would lead to the Jewish Children's Museum. The Expo, turned 30,000 square feet of the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City into a wonderland of Jewish experiences. Over 30,000 people visited the first Jewish Children's Expo, a four day event.
The Expo, which was patterned after the World Exposition Fairs, portrayed a voyage through Jewish history both joyous and sober. visitors were guided through the six days of creation, the Mt. Sinai experience, the glory of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem to modern day Israel.
Over the next five years the Expo grew. The complete exhibition required 45,000 square feet. More than 75,000 visitors attended annually. It became clear that there is a great demand for a year round Expo … a museum … a museum for children …. The Jewish Children’s Museum.
Jewish Children’s Museum …
Children don’t find many “do not touch” or “keep off” signs at the Jewish Children's Museum. They are invited to climb on a giant challah loaf, split the “Red Sea” and “Shop” for kosher groceries in a scaled-down supermarket. Children are catapulted into the spotlight as they broadcast the story of Chanukah from a TV studio. In every corner of the museum's 50,000 square foot, $35 million facility, Jewish life and history come alive through creative and accessible multi-media activities designed to engage, entertain and educate.
Technology is employed to reach modern children through their favourite medium: absolute excitement. Jewish history, values and culture are woven into specially designed computer games and videos.
A child's insatiable curiosity is catered to as well. Exhibits beckon children to open secret doors, press buttons, touch, feel, smell, watch, listen, laugh and learn. Every exhibit has been designed to enable children – and their parents and teachers – to explore first-hand the varied textures of Jewish life.