Mayor de Blasio, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, City Council, and Queens Borough President’s Office have announced that New York City has allocated $26.4 million to complete the Queens Museum’s expansion project. The expansion 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. Together, the improvements will cement Queens Museum’s role as a world class museum and community anchor in the heart of New York’s most diverse borough.
“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,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “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.”
“Queens Museum is one of the crown jewels of New York City’s arts and culture. Now, it will be more accessible to everyone – including the next generation of artists and creators across the city,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “New York City is proud to invest in the arts in Queens, and we look forward to enjoying the completed facility for years to come.”
“Queens Museum is an integral part of the communities it serves, a home for amazing arts programming, education, and important civic services – relationships they used to support their neighbors throughout the pandemic,” said NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals. “We are thrilled to make a major investment in this exciting project, which will expand Queens Museum’s ability to connect with and serve audiences, with new space for children’s programming, storage, and energy sustainability upgrades.”
In November 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, as well as site work and facilities systems upgrades. The second and final phase consists of five distinct elements:
- The creation of first floor and second floor educational classroom/workshop areas;
- A 5,500 square foot intergenerational, multilingual Family Art Lab;
- A 2,600 square foot art storage vault;
- A reconstruction of the southern wall and window system; and
- Construction of back of house spaces including offices, exhibition prep spaces, an artwork conservation/study area.
Additionally, the project includes the installation of a full-height glass wall system on the mezzanine level and the upgrade of HVAC system.
“New York City’s most diverse borough deserves a world class museum, and the New York City Council is proud to support this expansion with $3 million in FY2022 to make that a reality. This expansion will allow the Queens Museum to make wise investments so it can best serve the community for decades to come: expanding its ability to engage kids and students, allowing it to secure and safely store its growing collections, and improving the energy efficiency of its facilities,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“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,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Jr. “From this 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.”
“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. That os why I am excited to announce that the City has allocated $26.4 million to complete the second phase of the museum expansion that was started eight years ago. 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,” said City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.
“As we begin to look past the economic, social and health crisis of CoViD-19, 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 in New Yorkers,” said Sally Tallant, President and Executive Director of the Queens Museum. “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 a part of the completion of the Queens Museum.”
The classrooms will allow the museum to accommodate additional school trips and educational programming. Climate controlled and secure storage space will protect the museum’s 15,000 objects and accommodate future gifts. The addition of the full height glass will allow for acoustic separation between front of house gallery areas and back of house office and facility spaces while contributing to a more energy efficient usage of the climate control system. The upgrade to the HVAC system will allow for a fully functional climate-controlled environment while also allowing for energy conservation and cost savings.
Throughout the CoViD-19 pandemic, the Queens Museum has remained connected and committed to its communities through a variety of local and 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 over 70 volunteers, it has distributed fresh and nonperishable food items to more than 30,000 families living in Corona, Queens.
The museum has also helped Queens makers remain resilient by launching “Hecho Local,” a free product development workshop series geared towards Spanish-speaking artisans looking to transform their craft into a sustainable business model.