Kids learn to save the planet at Bronzeville museum

February 3, 2012 3:36:00 PM PST
It's easy being green. That's the lesson some pre-schoolers are learning at the Bronzeville Children's Museum on the city's South Side. The museum houses an exhibit that teaches little ones how to makes small changes that have a big impact.

"When I tell them about turning your TVs off, turning your computers off, some of the adults laugh because they fall asleep with the TV on and then children say, you know, mom or dad remember to turn that off," said Pia Montes, vice president of the Bronzeville Children's Museum.

The students are primed and ready to soak it all in.

"I'm going to learn today," Bryan Moore, age 5.

"Recycle, reduce and reuse," said Damonjay Hamilton, age 5.

The interactive exhibits uses bicycles to teach about the importance of clean air, an oversized trash can to provide the opportunity to recycle, a gardening space to teach about composting and a real-life bathroom sink to demonstrate what to do to the water while brushing your teeth.

"Turn it off 'cause you're wasting water," said Jamesha Brown, age 5.

The Bronzeville Children's Museum was founded in 1993 by a former teacher, Peggy Montes. It's the country's first and only children's museum devoted to the culture and contributions of African Americans.

"The primary goal is to expose all children to the culture, contributions and the history of African-Americans at a very early, early age," said Montes. "Saving our planet is extremely important that we felt that we needed to expose the children to the green movement and also to the fact that there are African Americans who are doing outstanding things in the green movement."

Another key exhibit at the museum now is devoted to teaching healthy eating and exercise. The interactive display is in conjunction with first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign to fight childhood obesity. For hours of operations and details about other exhibits, visit