The beautiful new Bronzeville Children's
Museum in Chicago makes black history interesting and
accessible. Founded 13 years ago in Evergreen Plaza, the museum is
the first and only African-American children's museum in the
country, says founder and President Peggy Montes. Some 18,000
children a year visit this South Side gem.
"Our primary mission is to educate and expose all
children, age 3 to 9, to the culture, history and contributions of
African Americans and Africans of the Diaspora through unique
programs, interactive exhibits and hands-on experiences," Montes
Little ones will love the teller windows and ATM, the
stethoscopes and the heart model they can take apart and put
together. They'll also learn about Dr. Daniel Hale, who did the
first successful open-heart operation.
In "It's Easy Being Green," there's a huge garbage can
full of trash that kids can put in recycling bins. Children learn
how to conserve energy in each room of a life-size house. They
learn about composting and can plant and play in the "garden." Be
sure to check out the Carbon Footprint game and hop on the
stationary bikes for a quick ride.
In "Selecting Foods for Healthy Living," children load
their carts with bakery goods, meats, fruits and vegetables from
the pretend grocery store.
Future Denzel Washingtons can pretend to their heart's
content in a room filled with dress-up gear and director's props.
There are films and great information here, too, about such
notables as African-American director Oscar Micheaux.
"You Are What You Eat" recently opened and features a
mini-gym area, a 60-second challenge, information on food groups,
Wii games and, of course, information about the contributions of
African Americans. A Juneteenth celebration is planned for summer,
while storytellers and performers entertain throughout the
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