Cool Culture ensures that New York’s most diverse families with preschool-aged children have access to arts and culture as a way to increase literacy and learning in early childhood and to prepare children to succeed in school.
WHAT WE DO
Each year, Cool Culture improves outcomes for New York City children by partnering with 90 premiere museums and cultural institutions, working with 400 early childhood programs and public schools, and providing over 50,000 low-income families with free, unlimited access to the city’s museums.
WHO WE SERVE
Cool Culture families live in all five boroughs of NYC, and reflect the culturally diverse and rich demographics of New York City—52% are Latino, 30% Black, 9% White, 6% Asian, 1% Native American, and 1% Middle-Eastern. The majority earn less than $48,500 for a family of 4, which is 200% of the federal poverty line.
Family Pass Program
Cool Culture’s cornerstone initiative works with our 400 preschool partners to annually provide over 50,000 low-income families with free, unlimited admission to premiere cultural institutions. We produce family events and educational materials to provide parents with ideas for fun, productive museum visits in English, Spanish and Chinese. In 2013, Cool Culture parents and children walked through the doors of our partner museums more than 185,000 times.
Working in Harlem, Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Chinatown, Cool Culture carefully pairs schools with museums to co-create programming. Professional development and training for school and museum educators improve early childhood education quality and help museums to develop future audiences. In the resulting collaborations: 80% of children at each preschool demonstrate an increase in vocabulary and observation skills, and 50% of parents reported understanding more about their child’s interests and abilities.
Services to the Field
These initiatives help museums better engage and serve New York City’s diverse communities. As our programs impact hundreds of thousands of children and parents each year, we have developed a one-of-a-kind cultural dataset that documents the visitation patterns of Cool Culture families. We report outcomes to our partners and the greater field to inform and refine programming. Our Lab for New Audiences educates museum professionals about outreach to nontraditional audiences and early childhood practice.
Our programs combat barriers to access—such as high admission fees during regular business hours, lack of information, and deep-seated social differences along class, language, and ethnic lines—while simultaneously educating parents about the positive impact museum-going can have on their child’s overall development and success.
School Readiness through Community Networks
Educators, policymakers, and families increasingly agree: schools cannot do it alone. At Cool Culture we foster children’s love of learning by supporting families, communities, schools and museums in their efforts to prepare children for success in school and life.
Greater Diversity in the Museum Field
Cool Culture programs help museum professionals to refine their outreach to underserved communities and align museum resources to meet the needs and interests of New York City’s increasingly diverse audiences.