Brooklyn Children’s Museum announces opening of "SPARK" in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Spark, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s first expansion, opens on October 15, 2016, at One John Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s DUMBO section.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum announces opening of "SPARK" in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Heights

Spark, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s first expansion outside of its flagship location in Crown Heights, opens on October 15, 2016, in a new 1,850-square foot annex space located in the One John Street project in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s DUMBO section.

The new space will deepen BCM’s century-long commitment to serving families in Brooklyn and allow the Museum to extend its early childhood programs to a new audience. As many as 50,000 visitors are expected to visit Spark in its first year. Spark marks the continuation of the educational and cultural focus of Brooklyn Bridge Park, which also houses St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s Environmental Education Center, and the forthcoming maritime-themed annex of the Brooklyn Historical Society, scheduled to open in the Empire Stores complex next spring. BBP has ensured that each cultural space includes an outdoor public space component.

“The opening of Spark represents an exciting moment in the Museum’s 117-year history," said Stephanie Wilchfort, President & CEO of Brooklyn Children’s Museum. "Forever committed to serving the families of Brooklyn, Brooklyn Children’s Museum will be able to reach tens of thousands of more children and caregivers. Partnerships like ours with Brooklyn Bridge Park exemplify the ways community groups can combine their strengths to further the missions of both organizations, to the benefit of both constituencies.”

“Brooklyn Bridge Park is a welcoming place for everyone, and we’re excited to provide another amenity for children and families – both indoors and out,” said Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park. “We’re proud that some of Brooklyn’s most venerable cultural institutions now call the Park home and look forward to welcoming visitors from across the borough and the city to Spark.”

“For us, this space provided an opportunity: not just to house a valuable amenity for park users and the public, but to provide an important Brooklyn cultural institution with a leg up,” said AJ Pires, President of Alloy Development. “This is a perfect example of how public-private partnerships can work to improve the city’s public realm and enrich its cultural mix.”

Spark’s opening exhibit will be a second location of Brooklyn Block Lab, BCM’s signature – and extremely popular – early childhood building-block play space that uses block play to support critical social and cognitive skills – from team-building and creative thinking to STEM concepts, including problem solving, math, spatial reasoning and pre-engineering concepts. Brooklyn Block Lab will consist of 1,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor space and will feature two areas of building blocks by Imagination Playground, Magna-Tiles, and Kapla Planks. In good weather, Brooklyn Block Lab will be held outside in the adjacent John Street section of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Spark will also feature an art studio for the Museum’s art-making, design, and architecture program. Additionally, there will be a soft crawl space for young children and a hands-on area called the Discovery Den, which will feature a changing selection of the Museum’s permanent collection of handle-able natural science specimens and cultural artifacts.

In 2015-2016, Brooklyn Children’s Museum piloted Brooklyn Block Lab for Schools with PS 54 in Bedford Stuyvesant. Brooklyn Block Lab for Schools engages elementary students in block workshops designed to strengthen math and spatial reasoning skills, while sparking children’s imagination and creativity. In 2016, the Museum will partner with PS 307, a STEM elementary school in Vinegar Hill, several blocks away from Spark. BCM Educators will work with Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade teachers to develop and teach programs over a series of sequential visits.

A joint venture of Alloy Development – the DUMBO-based developer and architect of One John Street – and Monadnock Development donated the annex space to Brooklyn Bridge Park, enabling the Museum to use it rent-free. The partnership also paid for the space’s fit-out, furniture and supplies, and provided donations to kickstart operations of the space. Alloy designed the annex’s interior pro bono. One John Street is one of five development sites the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park project that fund the park’s long-term maintenance and operations. BBP selected the Alloy-Monadnock joint venture in July 2013 to develop the site through a request for proposals process.

Spark will offer drop-in, open-play sessions on the following schedule:

·      1pm to 5pm on Tuesdays, $15 per child, adults are free

·      1pm to 3pm on Wednesdays, $15 per child, adults are free

·      1pm to 6pm on Thursdays, free

·      1pm to 5pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays $15 per child, adults are free

Spark will also feature pre-registered classes in the mornings for children and their caregivers. Fall classes include music and movement with Lavender Blues, Animal Adventures, and Little Artists. Semester-long sessions will cost $300.

Visit for more information or to sign-up for classes.

About Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Founded in 1899 as the world’s first museum designed expressly for children, Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) is New York City’s premiere cultural destination for families.

Located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the Museum serves over 250,000 people annually and is one of the borough’s most known and beloved institutions. Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s mission is to provide formative cultural experiences that spark curiosity, creativity and lifelong love of learning. With over 125,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, the Museum offers exhibits and programs that explore visual and performing arts; science and nature; and history and heritage. All exhibits and programs are rooted in play; hands-on, physical experiences; and, the Museum’s 30,000 object collection.

Spark, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s first expansion, opens on October 15, 2016, at One John Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s DUMBO section.
Spark, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s first expansion, opens on October 15, 2016, at One John Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s DUMBO section.