How Brooklyn Children’s Museum Introduced Tools of Advocacy to its Youngest Visitors.

In the May meeting of Museum Mindshare, our community gathered to share creative engagement projects that we were proud to have created for museum audiences. You can read a summary of major themes we discussed here. This month, we will feature short reflections from some of our members about their favorite past projects. We hope they will serve as inspiration for museum professionals to continue doing amazing work for your communities.

Photo by Kristin Brown

Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Advocacy Lab

Written by Jordana Starkman

In 2018 and 2019, Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) ran Advocacy Lab, a program series geared at children aged 2 to 8. Designed to introduce the tools of advocacy including voice, written words, movement, music, and art, this series asked children and caregivers to identify issues in their communities and become creative problem solvers. While the series began as a means to unify the museum’s existing social justice events, it grew to include a host of new recurring and one time public programs.

Working with project partners including 826NYC, Drag Queen Story Hour, Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance, Willie Mae Rock Camp, and more, BCM hosted monthly programs that highlighted social justice issues in Brooklyn and worked with families to highlight solutions. Advocacy Lab programming was also woven into our robust festival schedule and guided events including our BCM Pride March and Kid’s March. The Advocacy Lab series ran daily programs in BCM’s Totally Tots Studio where sculpture and sensory exploration were combined to connect visitors under six to their communities and each other.

My personal favorite Advocacy Lab program took place when BCM brought over 100 museum members together at New York City’s March For Our Lives protest in Manhattan in 2018. Seeing our members come together to make signs, learn chants, and march in support of gun control laws throughout the country truly represented Advocacy Lab’s guiding principles and is a memory I will never forget.

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