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 says.
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 year.