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South Street Seaport Museum reopens

Nine things to check out at the revamped South Street Seaport Museum

  • Photograph: Andrew Hinderaker

    "Super Models" at the South Street Seaport Museum

  • Photograph: Andrew Hinderaker

    "Bottled Up: Miniature Vessels from the Collection" at the South Street Seaport...

  • Photograph: Andrew Hinderaker

    "Waterline" at the South Street Seaport Museum

Photograph: Andrew Hinderaker

"Super Models" at the South Street Seaport Museum

Families craving a dose of the city's nautical history should run—not walk—to the South Street Seaport Museum, which reopens on Thursday, January 26, under the direction of the Museum of the City of New York. There has never been a better time to introduce kids to some intriguing seafaring memorabilia: For the first time in its 45-year history, the museum will use all of its gallery space for exhibitions or school programming. Here are nine things you'll want to check out.

"Super Models"
Boat-loving tykes will be in awe of the exhibit, which includes two dozen magnificently crafted ship models selected from among the museum's collection of more than 2,500. Make sure to point out the model of the Thomas W. Lawson—the only seven-masted ship ever built. 

"Bottled Up: Miniature Vessels from the Collection"
Steer kids who've always wanted to learn the secret of how boats fit through the necks of those tiny bottles to the exhibit's special "spoiler" installation. Then point out the beautifully detailed miniature schooners, clippers and barks behind the glass.

"Ship Breaking: Photographs by Edward Burtynsky"
Every kid knows that taking something apart is just as much fun as building it. In this exhibit, they'll see how decommissioned ships are dismantled.

"Handheld Devices: Tools from the Collection"
See hundreds of hand tools that were used in boatbuilding, ship repair and other shoreside industries. Touch screens allow kids to learn how the tools were originally used.

"Mannahatta: Manhattan in 1609"
Large-scale digital renderings of seven locations on the island—including Times Square in 1609—enable little ones to see what Manhattan looked like centuries ago and learn about the Lenape, the island's first inhabitants.

Waterline
Direct kids' eyes to the cool overhead sculpture made of string and sinkers.

"Timescapes"
Kids can take a trip back in time with "Timescapes," an awe-inspiring 22-minute multimedia film that traces the growth of New York City from a settlement of a few hundred Europeans, Africans and American Indians into the thriving metropolis it is today.

Family Programs
Every other Saturday, families with children ages six to nine can visit a designated museum exhibition with a professional educator for a kid-friendly discussion and craft project on topics such as Manhattan's geography and ecology and what life was like in New Amsterdam. Call 212-748-8676 or e-mail reservations@seany.org to make a reservation.

Mini Mates
Parents who want to spark their tyke's interest in all things water-related should check out the museum's 90-minute Mini Mates classes for children 18 months to three years old. Each week, kids and their caregivers explore a different theme—water, boats, sea creatures—through songs, crafts, movement, and free play with toys and Play-Doh. Light snacks are provided. Thu 10am. $15, series of four $50. Call 212-748-8676 or e-mail reservations@seany.org to make a reservation.

The South Street Seaport Museum reopens on Thu Jan 26. $5, children under 9 free.

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