The Jewish Children's Museum is a $35 million project. It is the first and only institution of its kind in the entire world, presenting children with exciting lessons in Jewish history, values and tradition through hands on exhibits and programs using the latest technology and education methods.
A Celebration of Jewish Life Ė its History, Culture, and Traditions
The Jewish Childrenís Museum provides exhibitions and programs for all children in an educational and entertaining format. Through contemporary technology and hands-on approach to learning, visitors experience Jewish history, values and traditions in a manner that inspires and increased interest in Jewish culture. Primarily, the Museum serves elementary school-age children and their families, and is a resource and model, nationally and internationally, for interactive education on Jewish themes.
The Museum is a setting for children of all faiths and backgrounds to gain a positive perspective and awareness of the Jewish heritage, fostering tolerance and understanding
The Jewish Childrenís Museum was modeled after the highly popular Jewish Childrenís Expo in the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. The Expo drew more than 150,000 visitors over three consecutive annual appearances.
The Museum is dedicated to the memory of Ari Halberstam, the 16 year old Yeshiva student who was shot and killed by a terrorist on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1994.
Since opening in April 2005, the Museum has already welcomed over 500,000 visitors.
Architecture and Design
The Museum was designed by Gwathmey, Siegel & Associates Architects LLC, recipients of the American Institute of Architects' (AIA) "Firm Award" and the Medal of Honor from the New York chapter of AIA. The firm has completed more than 300 critically acclaimed projects worldwide including the Guggenheim Museum addition and the American Museum of the Moving Image.
The Museumís interactive exhibits were designed by Douglas|Gallagher. Their firm has completed work at world-renowned institutions including: The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York; Science City, at Union Station in Kansas City; The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
The JCM building recently won the Brooklyn Building Award in the Arts and Culture category.
With the forthcoming completion of the Museumís fourth floor, the JCM will include three-and-a-half fully-interactive floors of one-of-a-kind exhibits that depict the creation of the world, Jewish history from Abraham to the present-day, Jewish holidays, key Jewish observances and universal concepts emphasized in Jewish thought such as sharing, faith and visiting the sick.
The child-friendly signage and content explanations were developed by Paul Rosenthal. Paul is a writer and museum consultant with more than 18 years experience and has developed text for leading institutions including the National Maritime Center, The Liberty Museum at the Statue of Liberty, Sony Wonder, Children's Museum of Manhattan, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust/Museum of Jewish Heritage, The Creative Discovery Museum, The Barnum Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. He has won numerous awards, and is considered a leading expert in this field.
Rabbi Yerachmiel Benjaminson, is the JCMís executive director.
Devora Halberstam, mother of Ari Halberstam in whose memory the JCM was built, serves as the Director of Foundation and Government Services.
The Director of the Museum is Gershon Eichorn. As creator of the Jewish Childrenís Expo, Rabbi Eichorn was in a unique position to head up the creative team during the Museumís design, construction and continued development.
Rabbi Sholom Ber Baumgarten, the director of operations, heads the maintenance, customer service and guest relations departments.
As head of the JCMís education department, Rabbi Nissen Brenenson works closely with prominent educators and child-psychologists to develop stimulating and enriching lesson-plans to complement group tours. Rabbi Brenensonís staff of professional tour guides uses modern teaching methods and exciting activities to maximize the fun and education of each visit.
Also at the Museum
The Museum is home to a number of community and social organizations including but not limited to: the Joseph Papp Humanitarian Fund and the Friendship Circle, an organization run by volunteers who offer their friendship to children with special needs, affording relief for the families and enriching the lives of the children (and volunteers).
The seven-story Museum building includes a 100-seat video theater, professional game show studio, craft workshops, ballroom, gift shop and kosher restaurant.