The recent expansion of the Museum of the Moving Image (MMI) has allowed the education program “to just totally reinvent and grow our educational offerings in really amazing ways,” according Deputy Director for Education Chris Wisniewski.
Wisniewski explained that, previously, MMI was booked to capacity with schools kids, seeing about 30,000 a year, and even had to turn some away. However, he said that now, with the addition of the Ann R. and Andrew H. Tisch Education Center, they can see almost double the amount of children. Since the museum’s reopening, Wisniewski said that they have been seeing 350 to 400 kids a day.
In addition, MMI has a 68-seat room for educational screenings that is also used for family matinees on weekends. There also are more workshop spaces and a production studio.
On the weekends, the museum offers “a wide menu” of workings, ranging from special effects to stop motion animation, that families can attend. Wisniewski said that the goal is to have families be able to take part in activities where children can learn something while having fun.
During a recent workshop on pixilation, children were able to ask questions and participate in an activity to create their own stop motion animation film.
“I thought it was very fun and creative,” said 11-year-old Caitlin Laufer of New Jersey. She added that she likes the interactive nature of the activity.
Mom Evelyn Laufer explained that they found out about MMI through a friend so they recently made their first visit. She said she likes things that get her daughter interested and wanting to learn.
The Laufers were joined by Bonnie Goshin and 12-year-old daughter Sydnie. Sydnie also thought the workshop was fun and said she had never done anything like it before. She also said it makes her appreciate how movies are made even more.
Wisniewski said that the subject matter is something that is really relatable to children, since they watch TV or play videogames.
“As a result, this museum can be a place that sort of excites and engages young people who might find other museums intimidating,” he said.
Wisniewski added that he thinks MMI, which he described as an “interactive, fun, engaging place,” can help kids realize that museums can be relevant to them. He hopes that, by having a positive experience, they are assisting children in becoming life-long museum goers.
The museum has several upcoming hands-on educational workshops. On Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3 there will be workshops on flipbook drawing and animated flipbooks.
A workshop on moving pictures will be held on Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10. In addition, a session on pixilation will be at on April 10.
Also on Saturday, April 9, there will be the artist-led workshop “Animation with the Rauch Brothers.”
The Museum of the Moving Image, located at 36-01 35th Avenue in Astoria, is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.movingimage.us or call 718-777-6888.