So Long, Farewell: For Now!

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Thursday was the last day of our summer Pop Up Museum on Dudley Town Common. The weather was beautiful. And the people were even better! Phyllis, Jai, and Chief; Shea, Mike, Mikayla and Mikaya; Rana and Desiree; and so many other wonderful families joined us to make forts, paint and try something totally new: a giant string sculpture web led by our Art Program Manager, Alice, who lives in Roxbury not far from the Pop Up Museum.
We put the final touches on robot city. We warded off evil-doers with a laser sword (our bubble wand, repurposed). We painted and partied and played.

Though this is the final Pop Up Museum of the summer, it is not the last. We will be back on October 6 at the Shirley-Eustis House with Roxbury Open Studios, the neighborhood-wide expo of art made by Roxbury artists. Follow this blog and stay tuned for updates!

A Carnival Weekend

We took the Pop Up Museum all over town this weekend! We spent Saturday at Dorchester’s Mary Hannon Park at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative’s Multicultural Fair, a celebration of the community’s great diversity. We played restaurant, set up our own pretend beauty shop, and played the world’s biggest mancala game. We also saw some great poses in our Carnival photo booth, complete with costumes from the Museum’s Boston Black: A City Connects multicultural exhibit.

On Sunday, Kiddie Carnival– the youth competition of Boston Carnival– took White Stadium in Dorchester by storm, and we were there to enjoy the beautiful, colorful costumes and help non-c0mpeting kids make some pretty great hats and masks.

It was wonderful to bask in the great community spirit of both events!

Check them both out here:

<p><a href=”″>Kiddie Carnival & DSNI Multicultural Fair</a> from <a href=”″>Megan Dickerson</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Vista Alegria (Happy View)

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In addition to our usual mix of fort-constructing, word-building, and double dutch fun, we added something new: a collaborative art project. We started with a cool paper sculpture originally installed at the Museum by Joey Assal, who has a studio just down the street from Dudley Town Common. Joey graciously allowed us to give his work a new life.
The new project was called “Vista Alegria.” Kids put on smocks and picked one of three paint colors.We started with white paper, carefully twisted and curled through the trees in the park. By 6pm, it was a rainbow of color.

Special thanks to Joey Assal for being so flexible and letting young artists participate in his process!

Ro-Box City

You heard it here first: Robot City has officially taken over Dudley Town Common. It’s pretty top-secret, so we can’t quite show it here, but you can be assured that there are robot clothes, robot bikes and a robot city hall, all in a lava-filled landscape just behind the Dudley Town Common stage.
What we can show you is this: the human forts that populated the grassy area last week at the Pop-Up Museum. But the guy with the box on his head? Yeah, he’s a robot. Full name: Robot Zula.

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Mr. Pomare-Taylor’s Neighborhood

Welcome to Mr. Pomare-Taylor’s neighborhood! Teen Ambassador Tayquan Pomare-Taylor lives in Grove Hall, less than a mile from Dudley Town Common. Here, he introduces some snapshots of the last few weeks at the Pop Up Children’s Museum:


Pop-Up Paper Factory

Paper Marbling

BCM Educator Leora Rifkin shows Pop-Up Museum participants how to turn shaving cream and food coloring into beautiful marbled paper.

The Messy Sensory area in BCM’s Playspace exhibit is a mecca for early childhood art making. Kids under age 3 put on bright blue smocks and experiment with water, paint, and more, all under the guidance of our Visitor Experience Associates. Stuff definitely gets messy, as anything involving toddlers often does. But the best part of getting messy at the Museum is that, well, parents and caregivers don’t have to do all the clean up at the end of the day; we take care of that for you. It’s a great way to get all the benefits of multi sensory exploration, with very little of the clean-up investment.

At the Pop Up Museum, we wanted to see if we could create an enclosed messy space that offered parents the same benefits. Educator Leora Rifkin worked with Playspace Educator Lok Wah-Li to adapt our famous shaving cream and food coloring paper marbling activity. She brought our signature blue smocks and made a low table from our Waffle Blocks.

It was great! The scent of shaving cream filled the air as kids swirled food coloring into the foam on individual trays. A clean-up station nearby offered kids the chance to wash their hands and dry off.

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The full instructions for this activity (and hundreds more) can be found on Boston Children’s Museum’s Beyond the Chalkboard website. Follow this link to try it at home!

Paper Marbling Instructions 

How to Carry a Firetruck

BNY Mellon CityACCESS Teen Ambassadors cart a whole playground down Magazine St.

The epicenter of Boston Children’s Museum’s famous exhibit Design and Production is at 100 Magazine St in Roxbury, just five blocks from Dudley Town Common and the Pop-Up Children’s Museum.

At “D&P,” a talented staff of designers and fabricators dream up, articulate and build exhibit experiences for BCM as well as external museum clients. Every Thursday, these designers and fabricators– Ben, Marla, Matt and Bill– generously open their office to BCM’s Community Partnerships staff members as we design the Pop-Up Museum. BCM’s six BNY Mellon CityACCESS Teen Ambassadors join ten youth from the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative’s GOTCHA (Get Off the Corner Hanging Around) summer work program to review last week’s progress and define this week’s activities.

Twelve youth. Four staff leaders. Lots of ideas. And a well-used water cooler.

One of the first basic design challenges was how to transport 36 molded plastic “waffle blocks”– and a chorus of art supplies, roller-coaster-makings, and sidewalk chalk– the five blocks to Dudley Town Common. The waffle blocks connect firmly with one another to become firetrucks, life rafts and, in some cases, cafe tables for two once they arrive at Dudley Town Common

Clearly, this transportation challenge called for us to make a train chassis of waffle blocks and mount it on a wheeled cart.  We loaded all our stuff in our makeshift train engine and made our way up the street. We got a few sideways looks from passerby. Between the P-O-P-U-P letters on the side and the giggling, be-aproned cart-bearers, it must have looked like a very small circus was rolling into town.

All supplies made it safely up the street to our station.  We dismantled the cart and produced from the waffle blocks six, six-sided cubes with letters on the sides so families could spell out “juicy words”: big, powerful, vocabulary building nouns, adjectives and verbs. From the supplies, the foam pieces that billowed from the smokestack of our primary colored choo-choo train became tracks for a miniature roller coaster. IKEA baby bathtubs from inside the train compartment became a traveling Bubbles exhibit. FoodPower Twister became… well, FoodPower Twister. Enough said.

Overall, the transportation experiment worked, but with lots of bumps in the road. Next week, we’re going to pack everything in the six waffle block cubes and walk them up the street. Less of a carnival, but, let’s face it– a better design.

Playing on the Common: Day One

Kids turned the alphabet blocks into a multi-hoop basketball backboard, with varying points for different levels. Our basketball was made of craft paper balled with packing tape.



A Fresh, Locally Grown Museum

The Food Project farmer’s market supplies fresh, locally grown vegetables to consumers every Tuesday and Thursday at Dudley Town Common.

Imagine this: you get off the bus at Dudley Town Common in Roxbury, at the intersection of Magazine St., Blue Hill Ave., and Dudley St. You walk toward the Food Project farmer’s market stall.  Suddenly, as if in a mirage, you see it: young people jumping rope. Making artwork. Building words out of giant alphabet blocks. On a hot summer day, you have stumbled upon the Pop-Up Children’s Museum: a vibrant space to play in the heart of Roxbury, created by Boston youth for Boston families.
We believe it is possible to transform a triangle of concrete into a place where families play, learn and share stories.

Over the course of eight Thursday afternoons (July 12 through August 23), BNY Mellon CityACCESS Teen Ambassadors and Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative youth will create a dynamic playspace at Dudley Town Common. In support of Dudley Children Thrive’s WordBuild campaign, activities will promote “juicy words”– great vocabulary building opportunities with young children– as well as healthful eating and exercise.

Our activity design process is fueled by the people who play with us. After each activity, we will ask families a simple question: How do YOU like to play?

We will then take families’ ideas and match them with our own observations and learning objectives:

We make a list of what families want to do, the observations we made of how people interacted in the space, and our learning objectives around “juicy words” and health balance.

The “sweet spot,” we hope, is a museum that is, in itself, a playful conversation between experience builders and a community. What does it look like when a museum truly meshes the desires of its audience with its core content strengths? If we do it right, can a responsive play oasis really emerge from a glorified bus stop?

We invite you to participate in the process. Check back here every week for updates on current activities and observations!

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