"The children's museum idea is Brooklyn's gift to the world."
- Anna Billings Gallup, museum pioneer, 1926
A pioneer in education, Brooklyn Children’s Museum was the first museum created expressly for children when it was founded in 1899. Its success has sparked the creation of 300 children’s museums around the world. With award-winning, hands-on exhibits and innovative use of its collections, the Museum engages children from pre-school to high school in learning adventures. It is the only children’s museum in New York City, and one of few in the country, to be accredited by the American Association of Museums.
The mission of Brooklyn Children’s Museum is to actively engage children in educational and entertaining experiences through innovation and excellence in exhibitions, programs, and use of its collection. The Museum encourages children to develop an understanding of and respect for themselves, others and the world around them by exploring cultures, the arts, science, and the environment.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum enriches children’s lives through inspiring, involving, and challenging them to learn about themselves, others, and the world around them. The Museum is a leader among cultural institutions, recognized for innovation in addressing the educational, cultural, and social concerns of youth and families in our diverse and dynamic urban environment.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum was founded in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, over a century ago, and has been proud to call that community its home ever since. As the neighborhood has changed and grown, so has the Museum—embracing the rich diversity of its surroundings.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum has an ongoing commitment to presenting programs, exhibits, and performances that welcome everyone and build understanding of the diverse cultures in New York City and around the world.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum has just completed an amazing, eco-friendly expansion project! The Museum is now equipped to provide 21st-century learning adventures for growing numbers of children from the neighborhoods of New York City, the greater metropolitan region, and beyond. The Museum has doubled in size and incorporates the latest innovations in high performance architecture. It is the first "green" museum in New York City, awarded a LEED-Silver certification by the U.S. Green Buildings Council.
The outside of the Museum’s new building is daffodil-yellow, but its inner workings are "green." In keeping with the Museum’s commitment to preserve and protect the world’s natural resources, it uses environmentally advanced, sustainable, renewable and/or recyclable materials and systems in the building’s design and construction.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum is one of the few children’s museums in the world with a permanent collection, including nearly 30,000 cultural objects and natural-history specimens. The cultural collection contains both ancient and present-day objects, including musical instruments, sculpture, masks, body adornments, and dolls, as well as everyday household and personal items. The natural-history collection contains rocks, minerals, and fossils, as well as mounted birds, mammals, insects, and skeletons (highlights include the complete skeleton of an Asian elephant, dinosaur footprints, and a whale rib).
For years, much of the collection has been inaccessible to the public simply because of space limitations. Now, an expanded collection study area allows the Museum to display more of the collection and to offer more hands-on activities—so children learn by touching as well as by looking.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a founding member of Heart of Brooklyn, a unique partnership among six of Brooklyn’s most treasured cultural institutions: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Park, and Prospect Park Zoo. To utilize their collective resources and better serve a diverse and multi-cultural community as well as the greater public, these organizations formed Heart of Brooklyn as a non-profit organization in July 2001. Heart of Brooklyn provides a forum for collaboration to achieve a shared vision of increased access to and awareness of our vast educational and cultural resources.
Stephanie Hill Wilchfort
President and Chief Executive Officer
Director of Facilities, Interim Director of Security
Chief Financial Officer/ Chief Operating Officer
Vice President of External Affairs
Marcos Stafne, Ph.D.
Vice President of Programs & Visitor Experience
Director of Government and Community Affairs
Stephanie Hill Wilchfort is President & CEO of Brooklyn
Children's Museum, one of the country’s largest informal educators and the
world's first museum built especially for kids. A Brooklyn native, Stephanie
has worked in arts and culture for nearly two decades.
Previously, Stephanie was Vice President of Development for the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. During her tenure, individual giving at the Tenement Museum nearly doubled; the Museum held its first $1 million Gala; and, more than $11 million was been raised towards the Museum’s capital campaign. Prior to the Tenement Museum, Stephanie was Assistant Vice President and Senior Project Director at Sesame Workshop, where she oversaw projects, revenue development, and marketing activities in the United States, Israel, and Latin America. She has also held senior roles at New York Public Radio/WNYC, New York Public Media/WNET, CARE USA, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Stephanie is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton, holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, and holds a master’s degree in public administration and economic policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. With her husband Benjamin, she is the parent to three boys ages 2, 5 and 8.
Follow Stephanie on Twitter @StephWilchfort and on Instagram @stephwilchfort.