Timeout New York Kids

Make the most of your city

CMA's bird-themed show, Tweet, is all about seeing

You might think at first that "Tweet" embraces social media savvy but it actually extolls the rewards of turning personal gadgets off and observing life.

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    "Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

"Tweet" at the Children's Museum of the Arts


We know for a fact that CMA loves Twitter as much as the rest of us, but this exhibition spotlights not the social media instrument but the feathered creatures who make the old-fashioned kind of tweets. The show's works, all of which portray birds, are meant to inspire kids to stop and look at nature, which smartphones can sometimes get in the way of. Says the museum's executive director Barbara Hunt McLanahan, "What this show is all about is the same thing the museum is about: making and seeing." Families are bound to be inspired to do lots of both at this exhibition, which is by turns contemplative, funny and just plain beautiful. (Don't forget to click through our slide show, above.) Here are five things to look forward to doing at or after the show.

RECOMMENDED: 50 great things to do in fall 2013

Be inspired by birds in art

The works in "Tweet," curated by director of education Jil Weinstock, are incredibly diverse, encompassing everything from delightful vignettes (Amy Jean Porter's Birds of North Africa Speak French and English Both at Once) and hanging sculptures (two by Tamar Mogendorff) to sleek, semiabstract paintings (by Charlie Harper) and a monumental work that is not at all what it first appears to be (by Vic Munez—hint: He's a photographer). Take the time to study each one, as it's a great way to introduce kids to artistic materials and techniques. Don't miss the small video installation at the entrance, My Snowy Bird by Gail LeBoff, placed at the ideal height for kids. The work is a loop of a video the artist took of a blue jay on a snowy day in Vermont. It's impossible not to be intrigued by the fluffy bird, and therefore by the work, which more than any other captures the show's ethos of wonder.

Create an avian
Kids can hone their sculpting prowess at the clay bar, one of the most popular spots in the museum, by grabbing a stool and getting to work on an avian of their own. They may get a lesson in how to make a particular bird species (the workshops vary daily; check CMA's Twitter and Facebook feeds for updates), or they can craft a bird after their favorite work in the show. Kids are also invited to help populate a wall sculpture of a branch made of wire, by Amelie Brown, in the main art studio, or mark their calendars for one of the cool, bird-inspired art workshops offered in the months to come—among them Birds in a Blur (dry-brush painted 3-D sculptures; Oct 11), Wonky Wingspans (wing sculptures; Oct 2, 4) and Golden Eggs (metallic eggs; Oct 14).

Craft a bird-themed costume
On the first two weekends of October, young visitors are invited to create a bird-themed costume that will give them a major head start on Halloween. Participants can craft their own "robin hoods," head coverings that will deck them out as the sweet songbirds (Oct 5, 6 11am–5pm), or wait till the following weekend to fabricate an owl costume (Oct 12–13 11am–5pm), channeling the flat, forward-facing anatomy of those creatures of the night.

Sing like a bird
Young bird lovers wanting to learn the language of birds can sign up for a bird call workshop with naturalists from NYC Audubon at the museum (free with admission). The dates and times are Sept 28, Oct 20 noon–3pm; Nov 14 3–6pm; Dec 15, Jan 11 noon–3pm; Jan 23 3–6pm.

Head out on a scavenger-bingo hunt
On Columbus Day weekend, CMA is challenging all bird-loving children to a scavenger-bingo hunt on which they'll track down famous birds throughout the city, such as the wild green parrots of GreenWood Cemetery, and tweet images of themselves with the birds to CMA. Each time you tweet you'll get a bingo letter in return. The grand prize: a yearlong membership to the museum. Rules will be posted on the CMA "Tweet" exhibition page by Friday, October 4.


Share your thoughts
  1. * mandatory fields

Events for kids by date

Americangirl.com for Events!

  1. "The ABC of It: Why...

    The main branch of the NYPL is playing host to an ...

  2. Aladdin

    Charming street urchin Aladdin brings his exotic w...

  3. "Alice's...

    Curious kids can journey into Lewis Carroll's whim...

48 more events »