The Children’s Museum of Manhattan was founded by Bette Korman, under the name GAME (Growth Through Art and Museum Experience), in 1973. With New York City in a deep fiscal crisis, and school art, music, and cultural programs eliminated, a loosely organized, group of artists and educators set up a basement storefront to serve Harlem and the Upper West Side.
With a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a city-owned courthouse was renovated into a small exhibition, studio, and workshop and renamed the Manhattan Laboratory Museum. The museum became the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in the 1980s and moved to its current location on West 83rd Street in 1989. Its audience has grown to 325,000 visitors each year, which includes 30,000 children who visit as part of a school group and more than 34,000 children served through offsite outreach programs.