As part of the celebration to reopen El Teatro, we are providing our dedicated patrons an opportunity to TAKE A SEAT! in our new and improved theater. When you name a seat, you make it possible for communities throughout El Barrio to experience El Museo  through music, dance, theatre, film and family events held there. These programs serve people from the neighborhood and beyond and make a meaningful contribution to the cultural landscape of New York City.

El Museo del Barrio initiates its 50th anniversary celebration in 2019 with the re-opening of its landmark theater, El Teatro, in February, after a 13-month-long renovation. As one of the oldest theaters in Harlem and the largest performance arts space within a museum in the nation, the history living in our Broadway-style theatre is rich and compelling.

Dedicate a seat in El Teatro with a beautiful commemorative seat plate displaying your name, or honoring a relative, friend or organization of your choice.


Originally called The Heckscher Children’s Theater, El Teatro was built in 1921 by the architectural firm of Maynick and Franke as part of an orphanage. A proscenium arch stage with seating for 599, it has been acknowledged as a Landmark Quality Interior venue for its remarkable series of 30-foot murals and stained-glass roundels. Intended primarily for children’s theatre, Teatro Heckscher was home to many Broadway tryouts during the 1930s and was the original site for the Joseph Papp New York Shakespeare Festival.

In 1977, East Harlem Arts and Education Local Development Corp (Boys Harbor) leased the Heckscher Building on a month-to-month basis. They invited El Museo, Taller Boricua, Amas Repertory, Frederick Douglass Repertoire and Big Apple Circus into the building.In 2001, El Teatro was renovated. The theatre was the site for a special tribute to Tito Puente as part of the 39th Annual GRAMMY awards. It is now part of New York City’s Historic Music Trail.


The Teatro Heckscher’s interior contains scenes from children’s literature in a series of monumental murals designed in 1921 by gifted illustrator and painter Willy Pogany (1882-1955). Rendered in oil on canvas, his 14 incredible mural panels range in size up to approximately 16 x 25 feetand depict legendary children’s tales including Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella. Other splendid treasures in the theatre include eight luminous circular stained-glass fixtures on the ceiling, painted with childhood motifs and featuring two charming, castle-shaped chandeliers.

Today, the murals and Art Deco interior give El Teatro special statusas a Landmark Quality Venue by the Municipal Arts Society and the City of New York Arts Commission.


Now, you can become of part of the remarkable history of El Teatro by having a name or message inscribed on the back of a seat in our beautiful and historic theater.

  • Name a seat in honor of friends and family or a special person in your life.
  • Place your own name on a seat as a statement of your involvement and support of El Museo del Barrio.
  • Place the name of your business or organization on a seat to demonstrate corporate involvement and support of Latino and Latin American performing arts in New York City.

By naming a seat at El Teatro, you make a lasting statement in support of the nation’s leading Latino and Latin American cultural institution. As with theatre tickets, the seat contributions are 100% tax deductible as a charitable contribution to the full extent of the law, vary by location.

$3000 (Orchestra Center)
$1500 (Orchestra Left and Right)
$1000 (Balcony)

We invite you to add your name to this proud heritage and to contribute to the future of El Museo del Barrio! 

For more info, contact Anne Dayton at 212-831-7272 or