Cool Culture Has a New Blog!


2014 is here and we have a new year, a new office space and now a NEW BLOG!

We have a new interactive design and we will be sharing articles, quotes, photos and interesting posts from a few of our Cultural Instituton Partners.

Visit our new blog and don't forget to share with your schools, friends and families!

Cool Culture is Moving!

This time of year is typically one of transition – wrapping up the past year and looking forward to a New Year full of possibilities.

Here at Cool Culture we have been transitioning by launching our Laboratory for New Audiences, which teaches museum educators Design Thinking, as well as launching a new school year filled with programs and events for our Cool Culture Pass families. Our staff has grown with all of our programming needs, and it was time for a bigger space for our office.

As many of you may know we are located at the 80 Arts building at 80 Hanson Place in Brooklyn. This building also houses one of our Cultural Institution Partners, The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) as well as StoryCorps and Witness. We have not left the building, but have moved to a new, larger space a few floors below. Our New Address is:

Cool Culture
80 Hanson Place
Suite #303
Brooklyn, New York 11217

Here are some photos of our previous office and our new space.

Our space in the 6th floor as it existed while we were there

The space after we moved out!

New Space


It is a work in progress…

Stay tuned for updated photos on out Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Cool Culture Featured on The New York Amsterdam News

Cool Culture was featured on The New York Amsterdam News.  The focus of the article is our ground breaking program The Laboratory for New Audiences and the Director’s Launch event. The Laboratory for New Audiences is a program that brings together museum educators and asks them to create prototypes for programs that will expand and diversify the audiences coming through their doors.

To read more about the program and the event visit The New York Amsterdam News

Cool Culture Featured on Nationswell

Cool Culture was featured on a new news site Nationswell. This online publication focuses on stories about companies and organizations working to make the United States a better place.

Journalist Will Doig interviewed our Executive Director, Candice Anderson, and visited with our Cultural Liaisons at our Cool Culture Fair this fall.

Read the full article at NationSwell

Visit NYC’s Best Museums for Free

LTC 3rd Class

Cool Culture provides complimentary entry to nearly 90 Art and Cultural institutions in New York City. We do this via our Family Pass Program that is administered through Headstart programs and Title 1 schools.

If your school is not part of the Family Pass program, many New York City museums and cultural institutions still offer free admission to all families. Check the list below to see what days and times you can explore for free!

Want information on specific activities to do with your child? If so, “like” us on Facebook. 

Museums with Free Admission
African Burial Ground Memorial Site
BRIC House
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Federal Hall National Memorial
The Federal Reserve Bank
General Grant National Memorial
The Harbor Defense Museum
Hamilton Grange
The Hispanic Society of America
Irish Hunger Memorial
Leslie–Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
Museum of American Illustration
Museum of Biblical Art
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
National Museum of the American Indian
The New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Queens County Farm Museum
Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
 (grounds and botanical garden only)
Socrates Sculpture Park
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace

Museums with Specific Times for Free Admission

The list below shows museums that are free on specific days. Some of the free admissions are only for general museum areas and the may charge for specific exhibitions. Be sure to visit the museums’ website or call for updated information.

Museum at Eldridge Street: Tours, 10am to noon

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Morgan Library and Museum: The McKim Rooms only
Wave Hill: Free all day, November through April and July and August; 9am to noon in May, June, September and October.

Bronx Zoo: Pay what you wish for grounds access. Does not include admission to special exhibitions like Butterfly Garden, Congo Gorilla Forest and JungleWorld.
Museum of Jewish Heritage: 4pm to 8pm
New York Botanical Garden: Free grounds access all day. Does not include access to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, special exhibitions (such as The Orchid Show), Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, Rock and Native Plant Gardens (April–October) or Tram Tour.

Staten Island Zoo: After 2pm
Queens Botanical Garden: April through October, free hours on Wednesdays from 3pm to 6pm and Sundays from 4pm to 6pm. November through March, admission is free at all times.

Museum of Arts and Design: Pay what you wish, 6 to 9pm
New Museum: 7pm to 9pm
Museum of Chinese in America

Museum of Modern Art:  4pm to 8pm
Whitney Museum of American Art: Pay what you wish, 6pm to 9pm
Morgan Library and Museum: 7pm to 9pm
The New York Historical Society: Pay what you wish, 6pm to 8pm
New York Aquarium: Pay what you wish, after 3pm
International Center of Photography:  Pay what you wish, after 5pm
Museum of the Moving Image: 4pm to 8pm
Japan Society: 6pm to 9pm
New York Hall of Science: 2pm to 5pm, September through June
Rubin Museum of Art: 6pm to 10pm
Asia Society: 6pm to 9pm, September through June
Historic Richmond Town: 1pm to 5pm

First Friday of the Month
Neue Galerie:  6pm to 8pm 
Children’s Museum of Manhattan:  5pm to 8pm 
The Noguchi Museum: Pay what you wish, 10am to 5pm

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden: 10am to noon
Museum of American Finance
New York Botanical Garden: Free grounds pass, 10am to 11am
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: Pay what you wish, 5:45pm to 7:45pm
The Jewish Museum
Wave Hill: 9am to noon

First Saturday of the Month
Brooklyn Museum:  Free admission and programs, 5pm to 11pm

Third Saturday of the Month
El Museo del Barrio

Frick Collection: Pay what you wish, 11am to 1pm
The Morgan Library and Museum: The McKim Rooms only, 4pm to 6pm
New York Hall of Science: 10am to 11am, September through June
Queens Botanical Garden: 4pm to 6pm through October 31
Studio Museum in Harlem: Noon to 6pm


This list was compiled from the NYCGo website. For hours and prices of more NYC museums and institutions, visit the schedules and admissions page.

Token Response Activity (Art Criticism as a Game)

The Token Response Activity challenges children to encounter important questions and distinctions about art and to share their responses. Through interactive play, children learn to evaluate art with different criteria, differentiate between preference and judgement and respect differences of opinion about art

The Game:

1. Give each individual a set of 8 tokens that each represents an idea:

Blue ribbon:    “best in show”

Clock:              took the most time to make

Dinosaur:        oldest

Hand:              best crafted, best technique or skill

Heart:              most liked

House:            one that you most want to take home

Light bulb:      best idea

Money:            that might cost the most


2 Ask each person to look at all the works of art first, and then place the token by the work of art that matches that idea, in their opinion (e.g. the "heart" token represents the work they personally like the best, the "dollar bill" token matches the one they think is worth the most, etc.)

 3. Discuss.  Questions to consider: Which works have the most tokens? Are they the same tokens? If you were to convince someone that the work you marked “best” is the best, what would you say? Is it possible to think an artwork is good, but not want to take it home? Why? More discussion questions available here:

 Purpose:   This game encourages people to make choices, express preferences, and exchange and embrace multiple perspectives. With children, the emphasis is on valuing others opinions. With older students and adults, discussions also lead to ideas about the value of art, originality, economics, and beauty, to name a few.

 For families new to cultural institutions, this activity can bolster a family’s confidence and understanding that no background knowledge is required in order to personally connect with works of art.

 Variations:     The activity does not have to be used in its entirety. For young children, limit to just one or two tokens. For example, in our program Literacy Through Culture, the Studio Museum in Harlem has used “Which work of art do you want to take home?” as a successful prompt for engaging families in an independent gallery exploration at the Museum. 

We have attached the tokens, which you can download and use with your children, in your school or with your cultural institution.

Going Back for More at the Met

Apparently, I saved the biggest museum for last. The galleries of The Metropolitan Museum of Art cannot be seen in a day, let alone in the few hours I had left before it closed on one of my last days in the city. Rather than spending my time exploring the temporary exhibitions, I found myself drawn to my usual haunts: 19th & 20th century paintings.

While I love discovering new artists, I also love returning to those whom I’ve studied and appreciated for years. As part of my first Art History class in college, I wrote a paper on an artist named Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. After spending a good two months “with” the French painter and poster-maker, I feel a certain connection with his art. Now, whenever I find myself in a position to look at late 19th-century art, I instantly search for any of his work!

In the case of the Met, I easily found what I was looking for.  I had visited this wing often enough. There I stood in front of this painting and others by my favorite painter, transfixed by a magic one feels when seeing the exacting strokes of another person’s vision. The rapidity of the brushstrokes, the brightness of the colors, the texture of the cardboard canvas. (Obviously, this little picture doesn’t do it any justice.) 

After spending a sufficient amount of time gazing at Toulouse-Lautrec’s works, I decided to use the last ten minutes before the museum’s closing to my advantage. I just had to seek out a new favorite section of the Museum. 

Within the Asian wing of the Met are a few galleries dedicated to the art of India. In them I found ancient statues of Hindu gods and goddesses taken from temples and ruins that I had visited during my travels in the country. In those final ten minutes of my visit, I had found another way to reminisce from afar!


So I guess that’s the takeaway from my summer of learning -- always be looking for something new to love.

Besides the statues of deities in the ancient Indian art rooms, I also discovered these centuries-old royal earrings.  I know I never saw anything like these while in India -- and I know that I definitely have something new to love!

Until we meet again!

- Nadine


Reminiscing from Afar at the Rubin Museum

One of the main things I love about museums is learning about other cultures. This is also why I love traveling. I spent this past winter and spring studying abroad in Jaipur, India. I made many friends and memories there, and it has been tough to come back to the United States and adjust back into my “old” life.

My post-study abroad life now includes a lot of Indian take-out, watching too many Bollywood movies and visiting museums which exhibit Indian art and culture. Chief among New York institutions dedicated to South Asian culture is the Rubin Museum of Art.

I made it a point to visit the Museum on a Wednesday, when they present a weekly free concert series featuring South Asian music. When I studied in India, I lived with an incredible host-family who all happened to be professional musicians.

As a fellow musician who also comes from a musical family, I could not have felt more at home (yet still very much a foreigner) when I could overhear my host-dad’s sitar lessons and my host-mom giving voice lessons. Besides my host-father, my “brother” and “uncle” also played sitar, so the sounds of this instrument truly colored my experience in India.

Thus, it was with both the happiness of memory and the sadness of distance that I listened to this instrument in Manhattan, 7388 miles from my Indian home.

After the sounds of the sitar died away, I went about exploring the galleries of the Museum; one exhibit in particular resonated deeply with me - Candid: The Lens and Life of Homai Vyarawalla. Vyarawalla was India’s first female photojournalist, snapping away during the time of Independence in 1947. Her photographs include numerous of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and its famous freedom fighter Mohandas Gandhi. Seeing candid pictures of these two men was heartwarming yet jarring, as I had spent a semester learning about them without seeing so much humanity and personality in my textbooks.

Of all the photographs, my favorite featured Victoria Terminus, a train station and a beautiful relic of the colonial age in Mumbai. After traveling in the city, both this building and the man shown peddling his wares are familiar sights to me; it made me smile and tear up to see them again in this photograph, welcoming me back into my memories of India.

Seeing such a familiar landmark through another’s eyes reminded me that I’m not the only one who misses a far-off land and culture; we all have an India in our hearts and it’s something special when art can recall a memory for us.

 And now I return to my Indian take-out… After all, it’s also something special when food can recall memories.

Until next week!
- Nadine

Candid: The Lens and Life of Homai Vyarawalla can be seen at the Rubin Museum of Art through January 14, 2013. Take a summer trip to India without even leaving the city.

Image 1 courtesy of the Rubin Museum of Art.
Image 3 courtesy of

Discovering the Familiar at the Transit Museum

Like most New Yorkers, I ride the subway every morning and every evening. I must say, I adore the city’s public transportation system. I love commuting without needing to drive (or even walk very far). I love seeing new faces every time I enter the train. I love wondering about these new faces and where they are going in such a rush. And I definitely love being able to blame public transportation if I’m late for something, even though it was probably my own fault.

Despite spending so much time on these trains, I have realized that I know next to nothing about a system so integrated into my daily life – or at least I didn’t, until last Saturday when I paid a visit to probably one of the world’s only underground museums: The New York Transit Museum.

For someone who loves art museums, this might seem like a strange choice, but I find the subway system so incredible that spending the day learning about it was very well worth it.

Well…I suppose the subway doesn’t seem so incredible when I’m crushed between fellow commuters on the A train, getting upset at how long it takes me to get into midtown.

Then I remember how much work and planning went into the trains, the stations and the routes. I mean, who decided which stations express trains would stop at? And how did they decide where to build all these stations? How do the trains even stay on the tracks?!


I’m happy to say that I learned some answers to these and numerous other questions I had about public transit in New York. At the Transit Museum, I learned all about the old systems of horse-carts, trolleys and elevated trains. I learned about the 1941 Harlem bus boycott that resulted in the Fifth Avenue Coach’s hiring of black employees. I learned that there was a special Diamond Jubilee subway token used from 1979-80 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the subway system. I learned that it used to cost a nickel to ride the subway. A nickel!

Most importantly, I learned about something that I use every day in the city: something that millions of New Yorkers and visitors (myself included) take for granted all the time.

After leaving the old subway station that now comprises the Museum, I called my grandmother – a native New Yorker and Arizona transplant who loves to hear about everything I do in her city. We chatted about how, as a teenager, she used to take the train from her home in the Bronx to Rockaway. She and her cousin would comb the beach, and as she put it, go “pick up some sailors” – she eventually found the right one in my grandfather.

She’s always amazed that that same train ride now costs $2.50.


Then I used my hard-earned $2.50 to take the A train home.


Until next week!
- Nadine

The Transit Museum has several long-term exhibits on display, including: Steel, Stone & Backbone: Building New York's Subways 1900-1925 and On the Streets: New York's Trolleys and Buses

Check out their family programs here:

Image 1 courtesy of the New York Transit Museum.