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Seven museum exhibits debuting in spring 2012

Take your family to these ultra-kid-friendly exhibits, all of which open in March.

  • Photograph: Tsuneaki Hiramatsu

    "Creatures of Light: Natures Bioluminescence" at the American Museum of Natural...

  • Photograph: AMNH\J. Sparks

    "Creatures of Light: Natures Bioluminescence" at the American Museum of Natural...

  • Photograph: AMNH/Denis Finnin

    "Creatures of Light: Natures Bioluminescence" at the American Museum of Natural...

  • Photograph: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

    "Animation" at the New York Hall of Science

  • Photograph: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

    "Animation" at the New York Hall of Science

  • Photograph: Courtesy The Anne Frank Center USA

    "Anne Frank and Us" at the Anne Frank Center USA

  • "Keith Haring: 1978-1982" at the Brooklyn Museum

  • "Keith Haring: 1978-1982" at the Brooklyn Museum

  • Photograph: Kaitlyn Freewin/ Children's Museum of the Arts

    "Misaki Kawai-Love from Mt. Pom Pom" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Hannah Sawhney/ Children's Museum of the Arts

    "Misaki Kawai-Love from Mt. Pom Pom" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Hannah Sawhney/ Children's Museum of the Arts

    Misaki Dog at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Hannah Sawhney/ Children's Museum of the Arts

    "Misaki Kawai-Love from Mt. Pom Pom" at the Children's Museum of the Arts

  • Photograph: Courtesy the Morgan Library & Museum

    Hoefnagel Orpheus Charming the Animals

  • Photograph: Courtesy the Morgan Library & Museum

    Ballet Pour Enfants by Debussy

Photograph: Tsuneaki Hiramatsu

"Creatures of Light: Natures Bioluminescence" at the American Museum of Natural...


At this visiting exhibition at the New York Hall of Science, little cartoon lovers learn about the history of animation and explore its processes by developing storyboards, drawing characters and creating moving backgrounds. They'll also investigate the science and technology that make animation possible, and take in the principles of sound and phonetics by adding their voice to a silent animation and selecting background music for it. Since no animation exhibit would be complete without a screening room, kids can have a seat in the Cartoon Museum to take in a few animated flicks while learning more secrets of the trade. New York Hall of Science. Mar 31--Sept 2.

Anne Frank Center USA
Inaugurating the new Anne Frank Center USA downtown is the initial portion of its permanent exhibit, "Anne Frank and Us." In a space that re-creates Anne Frank's bedroom in the Secret Annex, kids can sit and reflect on the life of the brave diarist, who bore witness to life's wonder and her own fears even as she hid with her family in an attic during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. Audio loops of sounds she would hear there—church bells ringing, wind in the trees—and quotations of her diary let children connect to the young writer viscerally. Other kid-friendly offerings include a dollhouse-like model of the Secret Annex, facsimiles of her diary and family photo albums, and the 26-minute video "The Short Life of Anne Frank." Anne Frank Center USA. Opens Mar 15. Ongoing.


AMNH's latest blockbuster explores the natural phenomenon of light-producing organisms, from summer's fireflies to aquatic creatures that live in the depths of the ocean. Visitors walk through a series of re-created environments—such as A Summer's Night (with glowing fireflies), Mysterious Cave (with luminescent "fishing lines" strung by gloworms) and A Sparkling Sea (a look at Mosquito Bay on Puerto Rico's Vieques Island, where micro-organisms light up whenever the water is disturbed)—that introduce them to the world's glowing wonders. American Museum of Natural History. Mar 31--Jan 6, 2013. 

"Keith Haring: 1978--1982"
The pop-culture-loving Brooklyn Museum mounts the first large-scale exhibition of artist Keith Haring's early work: vibrant, starkly graphic drawings with power, humor and lots of kid appeal. The exhibit chronicles the development of Haring's visual language with 186 works on paper, a number of experimental videos and more than 150 archival items, such as sketchbooks, posters and documentary photographs. Be advised: Some images depict nudity, but we'll give you the scoop on how to avoid them if you wish in our roundup of best things to do at the show, coming Friday, March 16. Brooklyn Museum. Mar 16--July 8.


The Society of Illustrators on the Upper East Side shines a spotlight a popular art form found far more frequently on the silver screen than in a museum: the wonderful world of animation. Specifically, the show looks at the work of Blue Sky Studios, the outfit behind such kid-magnet films as the Ice Age series (think Sid the Sloth, Manny the Mammoth), Robots (Robot Rodney Copperbottom), Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! (the adorable Horton, of course) and Rio (Blu the Minnesota Macaw). The exhibit guides viewers through the entire process of animated film creation, from initial concepts, characters and storylines to 3-D and digital modeling. Young cineastes can also watch film clips in the museum's new screening room. Society of Illustrators. Through May 5.


If you've got an animal lover in the house, take her to see the menagerie on view at the Morgan Library & Museum. The institution's newest exhibit explores the ways in which animals have served as inspiration for a breadth of creative types, from composers (Prokofiev) and artists (David Hockney, Albrecht Drer) to poets (T. S. Eliot) and writers (Jean de Brunhoff, E.B. White). Chockful of prints and drawings, ancient seals, literary manuscripts and books, the show could be the ideal spot for a round of fauna-themed I Spy. Morgan Library & Museum. Through May 20.


Kids get an introduction to multidisciplinary art with Japanese artist Misaki Kawai's site-specific installation, which transforms the museum's main gallery into an imaginary world called Mt. Pom Pom. Using painting, drawing, sculpture, books and zines, video and animation, Kawai has populated the space with giant fuzzy creatures and other exuberant inhabitants, all of which embody her belief that the most important quality an artist can have is the ability to trust his instincts. Children's Museum of the Arts. Mar 14--June 10.

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