Before your Visit
- Ask your children what they think they might see at the New-York Historical Society. Discuss museum behavior with your children so they will understand that they are not allowed to touch the art, objects, or glass cases, but you will point out to them the things that they can touch.
- Check the calendar for events that may be taking place during your visit, the exhibition list to see what will be on view, and the DiMenna Children’s History Museum page for fun pre-visit interactive activities.
At the New-York Historical Society
- Pick up a floor plan and make a plan for the day. Map out what you and your children would like to see first, second, third, etc., but be ready to be flexible.
- Plan to take periodic breaks depending on the age of your children. Grab a book in the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s Library in the lower level to read a story together and recharge. Food and drink are not allowed in the galleries, but be sure to visit our restaurant on the first floor, which has a children’s option.
- Strollers are allowed in the galleries, but can also be checked at the coat check. Non-flash photography is allowed in the permanent collection galleries. Pencils are the only writing utensils allowed in the museum.
In the Galleries
Be sure to visit the DiMenna Children’s History Museum on the lower level, which includes a variety of interactive activities to engage children in the history that surrounds them. Encourage your children to become History Detectives as they explore each of the pavilions and make connections among them.
Ask them compare and contrast questions:
- How was this person’s life similar to the last person we saw?
- How were their lives different?
- How are they similar to/different from our lives today?
In the other galleries, direct your child’s attention to particular works of art and objects to make the visit more memorable. It may be helpful to focus your visit on a theme, such as people of New York (what they wore, what images of them tell us about their lives, etc.), or views of New York, depending on the age of your children. Bring paper and pencils to sketch together in the galleries.
Ask questions to help children pull out details:
- What do you see?
- What makes you say that?
- What colors/shapes/figures/objects do you see?
- What do you think is happening?
- What do you think will happen next?
- What do you think this scene sounds/smells like?
- Compare the object or image to your daily life.
Share your thoughts and ideas about the works with your child.
Back at Home
- After you’ve left the museum ask reflection questions: What was your favorite thing we did/saw today? What would you like to go back and do/see? What do you want to know more about? Plan your next trip together.
- Do more research about our collections and exhibitions online. Visit the History Games with your child to continue to engage in history together. Visit the Museum Shop to find books, games, and toys that bring New-York Historical in to your home.
- Create your own art and museum exhibition at home based on the things you saw during your trip to New-York Historical. Include photos you took at New-York Historical and objects from your home.