It seems like yesterday, but apparently it was 10 years ago. My family was honored to help return the Museum’s legendary blue whale to a spectacularly renovated home, named in honor of my parents, Irma and Paul Milstein. The grand refurbishment of this legendary gallery was led by my mother, Irma Milstein, a longtime Museum Trustee, and my father, Paul. Inspired by memories of their time with children and grandchildren in the so-called Whale Room, our family became dedicated to keeping this hall and its iconic exhibitions accessible, relevant, and enriching for today’s visitors. We hope that the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life continues to awaken a lifelong love of nature, curiosity about science, and enthusiasm for learning in the millions of visitors who pass through its doors each year.

We also have collaborated with the Museum in expanding public understanding of science and sustainability through innovative programming that draws connections between the content of the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life and relevant areas of active scientific research. Each year, the Hall hosts the Milstein Science Series. These free weekend programs use the extensive resources and exhibits of the Museum to offer families a day of hands-on learning with talks by expert researchers, opportunities to examine specimens from its unparalleled collections, and other activities that make current scientific research accessible to family audiences. The Hall remains one of the most popular destinations for the nearly 500,000 New York City schoolchildren and their teachers who visit the Museum each year.

Over the past 10 years, the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life has hosted a wide variety of scientific gatherings and conferences. These range from the Urban Advantage Science Expo, where middle-school students from across New York City present their unique scientific investigations, to the recent 2013 Milstein Science Symposium, “Understanding Ecological and Social Resilience in Island Systems.” As with previous Milstein symposia, this one brought together world-class scientists and policy leaders from across the globe to discuss findings and share recommendations on pressing scientific topics. The Hall has also served as a dramatic venue for high-profile gatherings of world leaders and countless celebrations of weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries.

We are delighted to join the Museum in celebrating this landmark anniversary of the iconic Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life. We are proud that it continues to serve as a unique venue for educating the children of New York City and the public about basic principles of ocean science and conservation, while revealing new discoveries and tools that transform scientific understanding of the marine world. And most of all, that it has remained true to our inscription at its entrance: “Dedicated to understanding and appreciating the wonders and the beauty of the oceans.”

Howard P. Milstein
Paul & Irma Milstein Foundation