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MoMA 4 kids

The Museum of Modern Art comes home

2004 Timothy Hursley

Those of you who never got used to seeing Van Gogh's Starry Night hanging in a Queens staple factory will be happy to know that the Museum of Modern Art is returning to its midtown home base, which is scheduled to reopen November 20. Adults may find the $20 entry fee steep, but their kids (under 16) still get in free. And the newly renovated museum?redesigned by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi?is so expansive and chock-full of surprises that even the most easily distracted six-year-old will be kept busy for an entire day (a handy prospect on wintry weekends).

For folks who grew up visiting the museum, it will be a relief to find the old Bell-47D1 helicopter still hovering above the design galleries, which are now located on the top floor of the six-story museum. And masterpieces by Picasso, Mondrian, Matisse and Duchamp still dominate the permanent collection. But for the younger generation, lots of high-tech options are available, starting with the multiscreen video displays that greet visitors in the ground-floor lobby area. Kid-friendly audio tours enable the somewhat independent youngster to set out and explore MoMA's treasure trove of artwork on his own. The newly created video gallery, on the second floor, houses monumental sculptures, mural-size photographs and icons of contemporary art. Budding archaeologists will not want to miss the installation by contemporary artist Mark Dion, who excavated the building site during the construction and uncovered historical artifacts from the museum that date from its founding, in 1929.

Families will be welcomed to MoMA with weekend-morning tours and educational workshops. And family membership, which permits unlimited visits for a year, will remain at its current price of $150. Of course, with lunch and souvenirs, the cost of a day here may still seem steep. But as the ad might say, "Showing a Van Gogh to your child for the first time? Priceless."

Museum of Modern Art. 11 W 53rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-708-9400; www.moma.org). Subway: F, V to Fifth Ave?53rd St. Beginning Nov 20: Mon, Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun 10:30am?5:30pm; Fri 10:30am?8pm. $20, seniors $16, students $12, children free. Fri 4?8pm pay what you wish.

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