Interview with Jacqueline Langholtz from the South Street Seaport Museum and Giveaway

The next Kids Club Thirteen event is this Saturday at the South Street Seaport Museum. In lieu of the upcoming festivities, and since I will be the official “mayor” of the event as a Kids Club 13 ambassador, I sat down with Jacqueline Lanholtz,  Manager of Interpretation and Education at the South Street Seaport Museum, to find out about the museum’s history, as well as its future plans and all about its family programming.

Culture Mom: Tell us about the museum – how long has it been in existence? What kinds of programs are offered for kids? How do you make your programs accessible for kids of all different ages?
The mission of the South Street Seaport Museum is to preserve and interpret the history of New York City as a world port, a place where goods, labor and cultures are exchanged through work, commerce, and the interaction of diverse communities.

The South Street Seaport Museum, founded in 1967, is located in a 12 square-block historic district on the East River in Lower Manhattan, the site of the original port of New York City. The Museum is comprised of over 30,000 square feet of exhibition space and educational facilities in NYC’s largest concentration of restored early 19th-century commercial buildings. The Museum houses exhibition galleries, a working 19th-century print shop, an archaeology center, a maritime library, a craft center, a marine life conservation lab, and the largest privately-owned fleet of historic ships in the country.

We offer school, summer, public, and family programs that relate to the museum’s mission – there truly is something for everyone!  We provide exhibition-based programming as well as hands-on activities aboard the ships and out in the historic district.  On Saturday, as part of the PBS Kids Club event, we’ll be constructing wooden ship models with the kids and inviting them to decorate their completed ships.  Aboard the tall ship the Peking, we’ll be teaching about the life and work of a sailor and inviting our young crew to help us raise the sails and haul the lines!  The wet lab will be also be open, so be sure to stop in and meet some of the creatures that call the waters of New York Harbor home.
Culture Mom: Is there a membership program?
Yes – Museum members receive many wonderful benefits and special offers, including discounts on our harbor sails, a subscription to our quarterly magazine, and much more.  There will be a membership at PBS Kids Club day, so if you’re not already a member, be sure to stop by and learn more about the perks!

Culture Mom: What are your current exhibitions?

Currently on exhibition is DecoDence: Legendary Interiors and Illustrious Travelers Aboard the SS Normandie. The SS Normandie was unmatched in its day for luxury and design – a transatlantic passage aboard it was traveling in style!

I’m really excited about our upcoming show Alfred Stieglitz New York, opening September 14th.  It’s going to include some really fantastic snapshots of early 20th century New York.  Stieglitz captured these photos in ways that were truly innovative for their day, pioneering the use of early “portable” cameras, which are absolutely gigantic in comparison to today’s hand-held cameras.  We’re going to launch an online photo project to encourage individuals to post their own New York snapshots, inspired by Stieglitz’s approach to photographing life and work in the city.  Check the Museum’s facebook page for links to that this September – it should be a lot of fun.

The Culture Mom: What kinds of family programs do you have planned for the fall?

We have lots of family programs slated for the fall – please check our website for the upcoming calendar, soon to be unveiled.  Two I’m most excited about are the launch of the Stieglitz online photo project – we’re offering a tour of the exhibition followed by a workshop with materials to help you  help you participate in the project.  That’s during our September 17th Free Friday, from 6-8 PM.
On Saturday, October 9th from noon until 4PM we’ll explore the city’s skyline through the use of photography and collage – that workshop is free with Museum admission.  And of course throughout the fall we’ll be hosting our toddler playgroup, on Wednesdays from 11-12:30.  MiniMates is open to children aged 18 months to 3 years and their parents.  Call 212-748-8753 for information about monthly subscription discounts.
Harbor sails and historic walking tours are offered regularly; check the website for those dates and times, or email familyprograms@seany.org to join our family programs mailing list.

The Culture Mom: How long did it take to build the Imagination Playground?  Tell us about it the designer and how the plans started. What makes the playground unique? What has the response been since it opened?

We’re so excited to have Imagination Playground as our new neighbor!  The playground opened earlier this month, and was under construction starting in May of 2009.  It was years in the planning process, and the thoughtful design is evident in the result.  David Rockwell, the Designer, and the Rockwell Group recreated the look and feel of a seaport in the structure and activities available to the children using it.  They can haul cargo using pulley systems rigged to masts, move their building materials in barrels and wheelbarrows, and experiment with water as a means of transportation.  All of this encourages free play and creative collaborations among the children – I can see the playground from my office window and it’s always got a busy crew!  The neighborhood really seems to be enjoying the space.

The Culture Mom: Is there a cost to get in?

No – the playground is part of the NYC Parks Department, so it is free to all.

The Culture Mom: Are you using social media to get word out?

Our twitter account is @wavertreewire. You can find us on facebook by searching for “Seaport Museum New York” – there are also separate pages dedicated to two of our ships, the schooner Pioneer and our tugboat the Decker.  Our website is http://www.seany.org.

We are giving away a FREE one month (4 successive weeks) pass to the South Street Seaport Museum’s MiniMates toddler playgroup.  This offer is good for one child only and is valued at $50.  The winner can use the voucher anytime before February, 2011.

To enter, here’s what you have to do:
Comment in the section below and leave contact information (email or Twitter handle).
The winner will be chosen randomly on Friday, August 27th at 11:59pm. Good luck!

Disclosure: This certificate is being provided to this blog free of charge for the giveaway, with no requirement or agreement of review requested in turn.  To enter, you must live in the United States.

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  1. Hi Holly! I’ve been meaning to take my daughter to check out the Mini Mates playgroup, so this would be a great prize! You always find the best stuff!
    Monica @MacaroniKidNYC


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shannon White, holly fink. holly fink said: FREE one month (4 successive weeks) pass to the South Street Seaport Museum’s MiniMates toddler playgroup. http://bit.ly/aEsGyl #contest […]

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