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MoMA reopens October 21: Here's why you should take the kids

Written by
Oliver Strand

When MoMA reopens to the public on Oct 21 after a $450 million expansion, it won't just be a larger and sleeker, it will offer updated and upgraded activities for kids and families. Here's a preview of what you'll find at the Museum of Modern Art, and how to get the most out of a family visit to one of the greatest museums in the world.

If you have you have young children in tow, head straight to the Heyman Family Art Lab (all ages) on the first floor. The cheerful art studio overlooks the garden, and it has books and toys and a small play area in addition to activity stations stocked with amazing art supplies. Kids can jump into projects by responding to Idea Cards that provide a creative spark. For example: "Draw a silly line. Now draw an angry line or a lazy line." If you've enrolled the youngsters in NYC's coolest art classes for kids, they'll certainly love exploring this portion of the attraction. 

Photograph: Oliver Strand

After visiting the art lab, grab one of the newly reimagined family gallery guides that helps transform the museum into a playful and thought-provoking experience. New labels in the museum for children called For Kids not only identify art, they ask questions that will get your little gallery-goer chatting away. 

Older kids (10 and up) will want to go to brand-new Paula and James Crown Creativity Lab on the second floor. This studio is geared for children, teens and adults, with more sophisticated art projects. The opening program is called "The People’s Studio: Collective Imagination," and it draws on the collaborative and social nature of making art with weaving and mapmaking projects. Just like at the Art Lab, the supplies are top-notch.

Photograph: Oliver Strand

Starting Sat, Nov 2, MoMA will reintroduce free family visits to the galleries. There are Tours for Fours (Sat and Sun 10:20-11:15am), for 4-year-olds and their parents, and A Closer Look for Kids (Sat and Sun 10:20–11:30am, ages 5-10), for older children. These tours give your family free access to the entire museum, but space is limited and the places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 10 am at the Cullman Education and Research entrance located at 4 W 54 St. Note there's a limit of two adults per family, and that siblings are welcome.

Need a few more suggestions about things to do with kids in NYC?  Grab the older kids in your brood for Tours for Tweens (Sat and Sun 10:30am-noon, ages 11-14), which are also free, and which require advance registration: call 212-708-9805 or email

Photograph: Oliver Strand

The best suggestion? Make a day of it. Try to grab a spot on one of the tours, or simply go on your own. (Remember, children 16 and under are always free at MoMA.) Spend some time in the Art Lab, and the Creativity Lab, then visit the galleries and look for the Kid's Picks. Have some lunch and order from the children's menu—for $10 you get cheese pizza or maccheroni with butter and parmesan, plus a choice of a cookie or fruit. Starting in January, 2020, you can also catch one of the monthly Family Films that's also included in the cost of admission.

MoMA, it's good to have you back. 

Be sure to look out for cool new and upcoming exhibits that your young artists will love! 

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