Brand-New Brooklyn Museum Education Center Invites Families to Get Hands-on with Art

Creative kids can add to the artwork at the Brooklyn Museum's brand new education center.
Creative kids can add to the artwork at the Brooklyn Museum's brand new education center.
2/12/24 - By Yuliya Geikhman

At the newly opened Brooklyn Museum education center, kids don't just look at art—they actually become the artists. Named the Toby Devan Lewis Education Center, this large welcoming space invites kids of all ages—and their adults—to get hands-on and contribute to the museum's exhibit.

Guided by friendly museum workers, kids can try their little hands at everything from crafting with clay to making their own zines. Check out what the Brooklyn Museum's new education center has to offer visitors, and start planning your trip to the Brooklyn Museum to explore this newly renovated space.


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Brooklyn Museum's new education center: Kids coloring on the wall
Everyone is an artist and contributes to the installations in the new Toby Devan Lewis Education Center.

Exploring Brooklyn Museum's New Education Center

The recently opened Toby Devan Lewis Education Center is a 9,500-square-foot space where visitors can explore different art mediums. The family-oriented space has three large rooms open to the public, as well the central Norman M. Feinberg Gallery, plus offices, and meeting rooms.

Admission to the space is included with museum admission, and families are invited to explore the new space, "where everyone's an artist."

Besides the general appeal of a brand-new space, the education center hosts tons of activities, including supervised artmaking, stroller tours, studio art programs, camps, workshops, and more activities for every age.

RELATED: Best Family-Friendly Museums for Kids in NYC

Brooklyn Museum's new education center: Artland installation
The first installation in the new education center gallery consists of colorful, kid-made clay figurines.

The Norman M. Feinberg Gallery

The main room of the new education center houses the Norman M. Feinberg Gallery. A brightly lit space with several round, white tables, it hosts a rotating array of exhibitions. The opening display is dubbed Artland: An Installation by Do Ho Suh and Children. Running through May 5, 2024, it's a whimsical display that literally spills over the sides of tables and works its way up the walls.

Tubs of clay of all colors and textures are available in the corner of the room, and visitors are encouraged to make their own additions to the exhibit and place them wherever they want. Laminated cards around the room include descriptions and drawings of the "residents" of this clay world, in case little artists need inspiration, but everyone has free reign with what they contribute to the display.

The splashes of vibrant colors really stand out among all the white and green walls, filling the room with whimsy. Kids entering the center are immediately drawn to the vivid colors, and I watched many little ones become absorbed in making new creations to add on.

When I asked what happens to the clay sculptures when they outgrow their tables, one of the center's staffers reassured me that the exhibit was designed to expand upward. Art made every day will be kept and affixed to cardboard and other structures, so everyone's hard work will continue to be on display throughout the exhibit's run. Expect more interactive elements in forthcoming exhibitions as well.

RELATED: New Art-and-Play Space Opens at Metropolitan Museum of Art

Newly Opened Brooklyn Museum Education Center
The supplies are as endless as the creativity of the visitors at the Brooklyn Museum's new education center.

Hands-on Artmaking in the Brooklyn Museum's Education Center

Making and interacting with art is central to the new education center and each room is fully equipped with tons of art supplies perfect for artists of every size.

There are all the art supplies you expect—markers, crayons, glue, air-dry clay for the current main exhibit—but also cool (kid-safe) pattern-making scissors, solid acrylic paint sticks, which felt super smooth to apply, fun stickers, and more. There's also a seemingly unending supply with staff refilling them as needed.

Museum workers are present in each room to help little artists, and they're extremely friendly and welcoming. We watched a few circle around to kids to check on the progress of their work, and offer encouragement.

On opening day, there was a photo-op wall, complete with a photographer snapping Polaroid pics for an instant keepsake. In another room, staffers guided kids through making zines using colorful objects on a photocopier then cutting, folding, and decorating their creations with drawings and collages.

There are washing stations in every room, with step stools to help the littles reach the sink. This is so important because art-making can be a messy endeavor—and because the air-dry clay from the main exhibit stains hands quite a bit (though it washed out with some scrubbing).

Know Before You Go

The Brooklyn Museum is on the northeastern side of Prospect Park. To get to the new education center, walk straight from the entrance, just past the cafe.

You can find bathrooms just outside the main education center entrance, as well as throughout the rest of the museum, of course.

It's worth noting that while strollers are allowed in the museum and there's plenty of space for them in the education center, large bags must be checked at the free coat check before you enter the museum.

Check the website for the latest admissions information.

Photos by the author

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