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Museum Mile Festival 2011

The culture-filled block party goes the distance.

  • Photograph: Nick Golebiewski

    Museum Mile at Cooper- Hewitt

  • Photograph: Carucha Meuse

    El Museo del Barrio Museum Mile

  • Photograph: Carucha Meuse

    El Museo del Barrio Museum Mile

  • Photograph: Carucha Meuse

    El Museo del Barrio Museum Mile

  • Photograph: Duncan Ball

    Museum Mile Festival at the Guggenheim

  • Photograph: Duncan Ball

    Museum Mile Festival at the Guggenheim

  • Photograph: Duncan Ball

    Museum Mile Festival at the Guggenheim

  • Photograph: Duncan Ball

    Museum Mile Festival at the Guggenheim

  • Museum Mile at National Academy Museum

Photograph: Nick Golebiewski

Museum Mile at Cooper- Hewitt

For the 33rd year in a row, cultural hubs along Fifth Avenue, including the Guggenheim and the Met, are opening their doors to visitors free of charge—and hosting an extravagant evening street party (Fifth Ave between 82nd and 105th Sts). As your family strolls through the closed-off street, be sure to hit these outdoor activities and performances.

1 Fifth Avenue's newest institution, the Museum for African Art, doesn't officially open until fall 2011. It will, however, have a presence at the festival, teaching kids African dance and Brazilian capoeira, a style that melds martial arts with music, at 105th Street.

2 Stop by El Museo del Barrio (1230 Fifth Ave between 104th and 105th Sts) for a performance of traditional Colombian and Hispanic-American dances by the Folkloric Ballet of New York Estampas Negras.

3 Kids might recognize popular clowns Sammie and Tudie from their summer residency at Central Park's Victorian Gardens. The duo sets up a portable stage at 93rd Street and regales little ones with their shenanigans.

4 Sway to the melting pot sounds of the Quarteto Rodriguez Cuban-Jewish All Stars—a fusion of Latin grooves and klezmer music—at the Jewish Museum (1109 Fifth Ave at 92nd St).

5 The traffic-free roadway is a perfect canvas for chalk-drawn murals. Supplies are provided along the route, and educators are standing by to assist kids in front of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (2 E 91st St at Fifth Ave).

6 Outfitted in his usual oversize plastic glasses and suspenders, Silly Billy the Very Funny Clown gets goofy on the corner of 90th Street.

7 The galleries at the National Academy Museum & School (1083 Fifth Ave at 89th St) are currently closed, but children can put pencil to easel in a figure drawing class. A live model (fully clothed, of course!) poses for the young Rembrandts.

8 On 88th Street, kids can watch Daisy Doodle make zany balloon animals, or have her whip up a work of art right on their faces.

9 Juggler Josh, a regular at city festivals, is stationed on 87th Street. He'll be easy to spot: He's the guy on a unicycle tossing flaming batons into the air.

10 Outside the Goethe-Institut New York (1014 Fifth Ave at 83rd St), kids can sample German delicacies like gummi bears, and chocolate, and learn fun facts about hamburgers and the world's longest bratwurst.

takes place on June 14 from 6 to 9pm.

 

Free exhibits on the Mile!

In between chalking up Fifth Avenue and taking in outdoor performances, families can view indoor exhibits at no cost. Here are our top picks for each museum.

At the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, mini fashion hounds will ooh and aah over the Jazz Age garments on view in "Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay" and the serious bling from "Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels."

The Jewish Museum offers two great options for families: the ongoing play exhibit "Archaeology Zone: Discovering Treasures from Playgrounds to Palaces" and a collection of works from children's book illustrator Maira Kalman, "Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World)."

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's stunning exhibit "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" showcases the late fashion designer's fantastical handiwork.

El Museo del Barrio's permanent exhibit "Voces y Visiones: Signs, Systems & the City" presents works with a visionary use of color and an urban sensibility—all of which are drawn from the museum's extensive holdings.

At the Museum of the City of New York, young Broadway enthusiasts discover the life of the Great White Way veteran in "Joel Grey/A New York Life."

Children can view paintings, sculptures, collages and architectural models made by New York City elementary schoolers at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's "A Year with Children 2011: Selected Works from Learning Through Art."

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