Design Lab at the New York Hall of Science

Design Lab at the New York Hall of Science

Photo: Andrew Kelly/NY Hall of Science

Neighborhood: Corona
Type of Place: Kids Museums


The new Design Lab at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) is a permanent exhibition that taps into people’s natural tendency to be inventive and resourceful in finding solutions to basic engineering and design challenges. Design Lab consists of five visually and thematically distinct activity areas that evoke a sense of childlike playfulness and imagination. The activities will encourage visitors to be creative while experimenting with structures, circuits, simple materials and more. Design Lab will transform the lower level of the Central Pavilion, part of NYSCI’s original facility built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair.

Design Lab activities use common, everyday materials to emphasize that creativity is not dependent on specialized tools or expert knowledge. Instead, the activities show how expertise is achieved through experimentation, critical thinking and collaboration. Displays will showcase the work of previous visitors to provide inspiration for new creations. From the beginning, teachers and educators have played an important role in the development of Design Lab’s activities and content. One of the goals of Design Lab is to ensure that school groups and teachers can transfer concepts related to design and engineering from NYSCI back into the classroom.

Design Lab’s five activity areas include:

•    Backstage, where visitors will devise solutions to performance-based activities. In the exhibition’s first summer season, visitors will make jointed shadow puppets out of index cards, fasteners, sticks and tape.

•    Sandbox, where visitors will build sturdy structures they can stand inside, such as this summer’s dowel construction activity, where museum-goers are challenged to build a large structure out of wooden dowels and rubber bands.

•    Studio, where visitors will build small, tabletop structures and add their creation to a collaborative project. This summer’s activity will challenge visitors to build a structure out of cardboard, circuits and pipe cleaners that would make their city a happier place.

•    Treehouse, a split-level area for experiments and activities requiring a vertical drop. The first activity featured in this space will have museum-goers use pulleys, zip lines and other items to create a method to move objects between the two levels.

•    Maker Space, which opened in 2012, shows visitors how to use tools that convert design ideas into prototypes.

Summer hours for Design Lab activities are Monday – Friday, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm; Saturday 11 am – 5:30 pm, and Sunday 10:30 am – 5:30 pm. Activities are free with general NYSCI admission for general museum visitors. Camp and school groups can reserve Design Lab sessions for a fee by calling 718-699-0301 in advance of their visit.

Design Lab is made possible with generous support from Phyllis and Ivan Seidenberg, the Verizon Foundation, Office of Naval Research and the Xerox Foundation. The Verizon Foundation provided seed funding for Design Lab that supported the participation of teachers to contribute to and inform the exhibition.

About the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) – The New York Hall of Science presents 450 exhibits, demonstrations and design spaces that explain science, technology, engineering and math. A visit to NYSCI is a hands-on, energetic educational experience where you can indulge your curiosity and nurture your creativity. NYSCI offers professional development for teachers, produces curricula and resources for classrooms, and studies how technology, gaming and play affect how we learn. NYSCI was founded at the 1964-65 World's Fair and has evolved into New York’s center for interactive science serving a half million students, teachers, and families each year. NYSCI is open Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 5 pm and weekends, 10 am – 6 pm. General admission is $11 for adults and $8 for children (ages 2-17), college students with valid ID, and seniors (62+). For directions and other information, visit or call 718-699-0005.

  - Hall of Science

Design Lab at the New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th St.
Queens, NY 11368
718-699-1341 fax
Map Hours:
Monday – Friday • 9:30 am – 5 pm
Saturday & Sunday • 10 am – 6 pm
Closed Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.