City awards $26.4 million to complete Queens Museum expansion project

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the allocation of more than $26 million in funding to finish the Queens Museum expansion project. (QNS file photo)

The city has allocated $26.4 million to complete the expansion of the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The project will create a dedicated children’s museum space focused on art and culture in Queens, expand the museum’s classrooms, provide secure artwork storage and improve the facility’s energy efficiency.

“As we begin to look past the economic, social and health crisis of COVID, perhaps no better investment can be made than investment in our local cultural infrastructure, to elevate spirits, support families, revitalize our economy and showcase our faith in the future of the city of New York and New Yorkers,” Queens Museum President and Executive Director Sally Tallant said. “We could not be more grateful to the de Blasio administration for sharing this vision with us; together, we will deliver a multilingual, intergenerational arts and culture learning center — a Queens Children’s Museum — as part of the completion of the Queens Museum.”

The mayor announced the funding Wednesday, Sept. 22, as part of his City Hall in Your Borough program in Queens.

He visited the Queens Museum in March to celebrate the community initiatives implemented to support the growth and recovery of art and cultural institutions across the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Queens Museum is a world-class institution, and this funding will help them grow and develop their footprint in Queens and throughout the city,” de Blasio said. “Arts and culture are not just the key to our recovery from COVID-19, they are the key to nurturing the talent, curiosity and creativity that will keep New York City the most vibrant city in the world.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the Queens Museum in March. (Photo courtesy of mayor’s office)

Throughout the pandemic, the Queens Museum remained connected and committed to some of the most impacted communities through a variety of hyperlocal initiatives. Since June 2020, the museum has been running a Cultural Food Pantry in partnership with La Jornada to fight food insecurity.

With the support of more than 70 volunteers, it has distributed fresh and nonperishable food items to more than 30,000 families in Corona. The museum also helped Queens artisans remain resilient by launching Hecho Local, a free product development workshop series geared toward Spanish-speaking craft-makers that helped them create a sustainable business model.

“For nearly 50 years, the Queens Museum has been an instrumental cultural institution in our borough, and with recent local initiatives like the Cultural Food Pantry and the Hecho Local product development workshop, maybe even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “With the addition of new classrooms and a multilingual Family Art Lab, among other improvements, this funding will ensure the Queens Museum remains an integral staple serving our diverse communities for generations to come.”

In 2013, the Queens Museum completed the first phase of its expansion project, bringing an additional 50,000 square feet of galleries, event spaces, educational areas and visitor amenities.

The second and final phase includes the new classrooms which will allow the museum to accommodate additional school trips and educational programming.

“As both the Queens borough president and the father of a young child, I could not be more excited to have worked with our partners to turn the Queens Museum’s longtime dream of a space dedicated to our borough’s kids into a reality,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “From its first-of-its-kind Queens museum for children to the many other improvements this critical funding will support, the Queens Museum will see its already tremendous legacy continue to grow in the years to come.”

More from Around New York