The DiMenna Children’s History Museum at the New-York Historical Society transports children ages 8-12 into a world where the history of New York can be explored. The exhibits are created to help develop children’s research and exploration through objects from the N-YHS’s collection. Visitors become “history sleuths,” or detectives, to unlock information that makes objects, events and historical persons come to life through the context of a child’s life in New York. Visitors will use these new findings to continue discovery and meaning-making beyond the walls of the N-YHS as they experience New York City’s streets, parks, public places and infrastructure.
The space is designed as a library of wonderment, full of objects and displays that blur the line between past and present, and that upon closer examination, reveal hidden opportunities to delve deeper into the historical context. A bookshelf spins to reveal technology kiosks that allow discovery of historical documents; keyholes focus visitors attention on an historical event; various “decoders” translate handwriting from the past, or aid visitors in developing symbolism and meaning from historical objects and depictions. “Portraits Come to Life” uses peoples innate fascination with personal stories to immerse them in the lives of individuals from New York’s past through audio, scents, textures and other sensory elements. The DiMenna Children’s History Museum also includes the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library, where the New-York Historical Society makes its collection of children’s books easily accessible.