Little New-Yorkers Step by Step: Beekman Coach

Recently in our Little New-Yorkers program we have started to venture out of the children’s library into the museum. On the fourth floor in the Luce Center lies quite a majestic piece, the Beekman Family Coach. Coaches like this were very rare, super fancy and would only be used for special occasions. In December we took a closer look at this unusual mode of transport, one of only 3 surviving coaches from 18th-century America. It was made for the merchant James Beekman in 1771, managing to survive thanks to family members who carefully stored it until it was donated to the New-York Historical Society in 1911.

  In the galleries

Perhaps you’ve taken a ride in one of the carriages in Central Park? These modern versions are great for getting around the park, but how else can we travel around a large city like New York? To help us answer this question we read the book Rush Hour by Christine Loomis. This story explores the different modes of transport that we may encounter on a busy day. We explore the daily routines of people from the moment they wake up with particular focus on how people travel to and from work. From taxi’s and subways to boats and airplanes.


It’s not everyday that you get to see a coach or even ride in one so for our craft project we made these beautiful paper replicas. Maybe you won’t be able to ride in it but a small doll can!


What you’ll need:

  • Beekman Coach printed onto card stock (8 ½ x 11)
  • Beekman Wheels printed onto card stock (8 ½ x 11)
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Fabric scraps
  • Brads
  • Stapler
  • String
  • Hole punch
  • Strip of cardstock (approximately 3” x 6”)

What you'll need

Here’s how to make your own Beekman Coach!

1. Start with the coach template and color it all over.


2. Cut out the middle squares on the template to make windows, and cut out the sections with stripes. Fold your coach so it looks like this:


3. Now take the wheels template. Color them in and cut them out!


4. Use a hole punch to make holes in the center of the wheels template. If you don’t have a hole punch you can use a pencil.



5. Do the same on the black dots on the coach template.


6. Attach the wheels onto the coach using your brads.


7. Cut the fabric to fit the windows, and then staple your curtains into place.


8. To make sure that your coach stands up, fold and attach a strip of cardstock under the coach.


9. Now get a long piece of string. Tie each end to the inside of the brads on the front two wheels. Make sure to tie a double knot to secure it!


Done! Now you can take it on a little walk.

 Toddler expample


For more fun projects here at the DiMenna Children’s History Museum, join us each Tuesday and Friday at 3:30 pm for Little New-Yorkers!


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