*As a parent, you want your child to know and celebrate his or her rich history, and the best way to connect children to their heritage is through kid-friendly, interactive experiences.
New York City offers an abundance of fun activities related to African-American art, culture and history that can teach your children to celebrate their unique differences.
Help your little ones develop positive feelings about their racial and cultural identity with any of the following educational experiences.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is located inside the New York Public Library in Harlem, New York. This institution and research library represents African American, African Diaspora and African experiences, history and culture. The Schomburg offers a collection of preserved materials documenting black life from across the globe. The Schomburg is also a communal space that encourages learning with its programs, classes, seminars, workshops, film screenings and special events. Spend an afternoon engaging children with these historic documents to captivate them with the historic experiences of people of African descent. Visit the New York Public Library for more information on the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and upcoming events.
Educational Broadway Show
The theme of “The Phantom of the Opera” can teach children to accept others who look differently and find beauty is diversity. Although this legendary story isn’t based on African-American culture, “The Phantom of the Opera” encourages compassion. This world-famous play is the longest running show in Broadway, states Telecharge.com, and tells the story of a deformed phantom hiding in the Paris Opera who terrorizes its occupants. He falls in love with one of the young singers and devotes himself to her extraordinary talents. Keep in mind, this Broadway play is more appropriate for older children. Check out Telecharge to find tickets for this timeless musical.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum Event
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is named one of the best museum for kids by NewYork.com and commonly celebrates Black History Month with African American-inspired events in February. In 2014, the museum hosted “Telling Our Stories,” an event that featured African-American members of the community who shared personal stories about their heritage. Publishers Weekly described it as “a jubilant celebration of black culture.” Along with year-long themed and seasonal events, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum also offers permanent exhibits and hands-on activities designed for a child’s ever-learning mind. Take a look at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum online for exciting new exhibits, classes and performances.
The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts
The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn is dedicated to African-American visual arts. Its mission is to initiate dialogue on social and political issues facing the African Diaspora through exhibitions and programming, states the official website. The Artists-in-Schools program provides students K-12 with an exciting opportunity to learn and create original artwork with professional artists. Students engage in authentic hands-on art creating experiences while learning about the arts, cultures and histories of the African Diaspora. Learn more about MoCADA online and view upcoming events.
The Lewis H. Latimer House
The Lewis H. Latimer House honors Lewis Howard Latimer, an African-American inventor, electrical pioneer and son of fugitive slaves, describes HistoricHouseTrust.org. It’s recognized as a historical landmark showcasing the scientific and technological contributions by African Americans to American life. According to Mapping the African American Past (MAAP), Latimer was a self-taught expert mechanical draftsman who developed the patent drawings for Alexander Bell’s telephone. He also invented a long-lasting light bulb, toilet to be used on moving trains and air cleaner for hospitals. Since this scientist’s death in 1928, the house has been turned into a museum to exhibit his work. Visit the Historic House Trust of New York City for more information on public hours and events.