Timeout New York Kids

Make the most of your city

Five things to do at the Brooklyn Children's Museum show "Global Shoes"

Expose your family to the world's diverse cultures with a Brooklyn Children's Museum show all about shoes and the people who wear them.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum

Photograph: Marielle Solan

"Global Shoes" at Brooklyn Children's Museum


The Brooklyn Children's Museum is putting a literal spin on the famous expression that says you cannot know a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes with its new exhibition "Global Shoes," which aims to show kids just how much they can learn about people and cultures by looking at their footwear. Exhibits, stories filled with fun facts, workshops and investigative games—all presented in both English and Spanish—guide your crew through the surprisingly rich world behind shoes, one step at a time. Here are five things to do at the new Brooklyn Children's Museum exhibition.

Learn about shoes from around the world
As you approach the exhibition space, one of the first things you'll notice is a variety of colorful, weird-looking artifacts behind glass windows. These shoes, collected from all over the world, provide a fascinating glimpse at the logic and thought that go into traditional footwear. From waterproof Inuit sealskin boots from Alaska and unusually shaped Rajasthani chappal (slippers) from India, designed to prevent sand from bothering your feet, to easy-to-remove fabric shoes from Morocco that facilitate ritual prayer, your family will learn how each culture uses its own resources and circumstances when deciding how to cover their feet.

Play a role
After you've seen what a huge variety of footwear the world has to offer, let the kids transform themselves into someone new simply by walking in their shoes. You'll have hundreds of photo ops as little ones put their tiny feet into huge fireman boots or clown shoes, and the gallery of international shoes will allow them to find out just how comfortable those straw-woven sandals from Korea really are, what it feels like to walk in those famous Dutch clogs and whether those fur boots from Afghanistan are as warm as they seem.

Make footwear yourself
"Global Shoes" has assembled a full shoe production line for kids to explore. Kids can examine various materials and figure out an appropriate use for them—by determining which materials are strong, which are warm, which are appropriate for fancy shoes—at a research station; draw their ideal shoes by using "order forms" and premade molds (or simply their imagination) at a design station; explore a purchase center with a rolodex and an operator phone; and, perhaps most impressive, take in the wonders of the factory itself. Whether a fabric sneaker, a straw-woven sandal or a leather moccasin, the factory presents the elementary raw materials of various shoes and invites visitors to try constructing the footwear they've seen on the shelves from scratch. And if you're all wondering how the pros do it, drop by the TV station at the end and press "play."

Put shoes into their cultural context
If you're not yet convinced that shoes are windows to other cultures, maybe one of the three model rooms in the Family Showcase section will show you the full picture. Here, large-scale exhibits based on real families from Iceland, Mongolia and Kribit introduce little ones to the lives of people from different parts of the planet, shoes and all. After reading about the residents of each room, have the kids try on the boots and apron of the fish factory worker in Iceland as they stand in her living room; rest on the wooden bed of a boy from the small Pacific Ocean island of Kiribiti; and listen to Mongolian music while seated in an ornamented room full of traditional printed fabrics. Kids will begin to intuit the connection between the shoes on display and the rich lives of those who wear them.

Read stories
Take a break from all the walking and manufacturing by stopping by the book corner, where tons of children's books await. From photo books to Cinderella spinoffs, all involve shoes, something bound to make kids curious about how inspiring these seemingly mundane objects can be. Before you leave, take a look at the large catalogue of original stories and drawings by children from 16 countries, who tell firsthand what it is like to actually be in their shoes. Let your kid compare how his experience is different from that of a kid from Uganda, Austria or Moldova, then ponder the valuable lessons they've learned on the way home.

"Global Shoes" is on view at the Brooklyn Children's Museum through March 10, 2013.


Share your thoughts
  1. * mandatory fields

Events for kids by date

Americangirl.com for Events!

  1. Anne and Bernard...

    The former Human Biology and Evolution Hall has ev...

  2. Arthur Ross Hall of...

    This exhibit explores our 4.5-billion-year-old sol...

  3. Art Island Outpost...

    Hop on board the ferry to Governors Island, where ...

56 more events »