Since 1899

Collections

Collections at BCM

Brooklyn Children’s Museum is the world’s oldest children’s museum and has acquired objects since its inception in 1899. Through private donations, and donations from Brooklyn Museum, we have approximately 30,000 natural history and cultural objects in our collection. Our cultural objects range from Lower Paleolithic, or commonly known as Stone Age, to modern day, making the collection an encyclopedia of cultures and geographic locations from across the globe.

Collection objects are used throughout the Museum in exhibits and programming, serving as the primary resource through which children engage with natural history and cultures. Our collection’s mission is use our objects as hands-on learning tools to support and deepen experiential, object inquiry-based learning. The Museum’s collection is maintained at the highest ethical practices and standards of preservation. We are constantly engaged in institutional self-critique focusing on why we have this collection, and most importantly, whom this collection should serve – the public.

Each object inherently embodies ideas. Those ideas foster entry points for children’s learning. Our science specimens tell the stories of evolution and of Earth’s geological changes. Our endangered species specimens tell a cautionary tale of why we need environmental protections. Our cultural objects speak of lives of past civilizations, and show how those people have formed the foundation for how we now live. The shapes, colors, forms, textures, patterns, and materials of our objects allow children to explore, fail, ask questions, and use their imagination.

We fundamentally believe that children’s engagement with objects from other cultures, places, and natural history is the key to an educational experience of understanding and respect. Hands-on learning cultivates empathy and helps prepare our young visitors to be thinking, critical, kind, and engaged citizens of the world.

 

Cultural and Natural History Collections

For more information about Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s Collections, contact Kate Calleri, Manager of Collections Interpretation, at kcalleri@brooklynkids.org.