Digital e-museum for kids

The Brooklyn Paper
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Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the world’s first museum for kids, is also one of very few children’s museums internationally with a permanent collection of artifacts. Acquired over the past century, the museum’s collection now includes nearly 30,000 cultural objects and natural history specimens.

While these treasures are safely tucked away inside the Museum, awaiting display in new exhibitions, the whole family can explore the objects and specimens from the comfort of home by visiting “Collections Central Online” at

This digital “e-Museum” is a perfect way to enjoy Brooklyn Children’s Museum and learn about a variety of topics while the museum is currently closed for expansion.

From prehistoric fossils to contemporary action figures, every object in the museum’s collection has a unique story to tell. Cultural objects — both ancient and present-day — are pieces made by people. A cultural object can reveal a lot about its owner and the culture and time in which it was used. The e-Museum’s cultural objects include musical instruments, sculptures, masks, and dolls, as well as everyday household and personal items, such as baskets and combs, from different cultures around the world.

The collection also includes natural history specimens, including minerals, fossils, and mounted birds, mammals, and insects. These specimens help illustrate many natural phenomena, from how animals and insects use camouflage to the way volcanic lava cools.

Whether they’re looking for information on Africa for a homework assignment or satisfying a fascination with butterflies, the user-friendly e-Museum allows parents, children, and grandparents to easily search thousands of objects from the museum’s collection.

To get started, type in a keyword to find a specific object or browse through the categories menu to see all the e-Museum has to offer. Clicking on the category “Things People Wear on Their Feet” will take you on a global tour of 56 objects related to footwear, from platform shoes made in Western Europe to Chinese tiger shoes. Visitors interested in learning about a particular part of the world can search by country, continent, or region to find objects and specimens that share a common origin.

Families can also “tour” the e-Museum’s 10 virtual exhibitions. Created by Brooklyn Children’s Museum curators, these online exhibitions bring together a wide range of collection pieces to examine diverse themes, from “Feeling Clean, Looking Good” — a collection of objects used for personal hygiene around the world — to “Combat Ready” — a look at different kinds of armor and weapons.

In the exhibition “Once Upon a Trash Heap,” explore objects that underwent imaginative transformations from trash into useful and beautiful new treasures, such as a West African funnel made from an Esso motor oil can — you can still see part of the logo on its side. Or check out a colorful toy tank from Liberia, constructed entirely from old flip-flop sandals.

Click on any object or specimen image to find amazing facts and special interactive tools. The magnifying glass tool allows visitors to zoom in on an object for a closer look, revealing every ridge of a wooden mask or the delicate stitches of an embroidered blouse. Some objects also include alternate views. Click on the alternate view of a dull, rough abalone shell encrusted with barnacles to reveal the shell’s iridescent rainbow hues hidden inside.

Visitors can even add to the e-Museum’s collection by creating a drawing of their favorite object. Just select the “Draw It” button and use the digital notepad and drawing tools. Look closely at the image of the object or specimen to capture every detail. Then submit your picture and be sure to check the site again soon — your drawing may be selected for display in the e-Museum.

Don’t forget to bookmark The e-Museum is always changing to include more cultural objects and artifacts, as well as different online exhibitions.

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is located at 145 Brooklyn Avenue at St. Marks Avenue. For more, call 718-735-4400.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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