Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Get Out!

Unstructured, freely chosen play promotes children’s healthy growth and development, but many kids don’t get enough free play, especially outdoors. The warm summer months invite kids to indulge in more carefree, active, outdoor play that is not as available during the school year. This summer, we're offering an array of powerful outdoor play experiences on the Museum's grounds and well beyond.

Splash in the fountain and soak up the sun in the Museum's native Children’s Garden – a perfect place to play, explore and take a break with a picnic lunch. Wriggle and stretch through the sculptural two-story-high Climber, an enclosed maze of undulating platforms. Adventure through the whimsical subterranean world of Underland and discover root systems, worm tunnels and critters’ burrows. A selection of toys – including jump ropes, hula hoops and bouncing balls – promotes active, physical play.

Explore the Museum’s great outdoors during active programs all summer long:
  • Get Out! – Try fun hands-on activities each Tuesday in July and August from 1:00 - 3:00 PM. Use the power of air to send rockets soaring, mix up mud pies, build channels to move water, and more. Learn more.
  • Wheels at Work – Climb aboard a different working vehicle on Wednesdays in July and August from 10:00 AM - Noon. Learn more.
  • Bubble Blowout – Blow bubbles big and small and experiment with different bubble-blowing techniques on July 28 and 29 from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM.
  • Worm World – Observe how worms wiggle and investigate a wormy habitat on August 10 and 11 from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM. 
Check the calendar for additional details and plenty of other hands-on fun, and stay tuned to learn more about our new "pop-up play" initiative. Have a playful summer!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Talking Back: Word Play

Inspired by the Word Play exhibit that we've been delighted to have in the atrium walkway for the past few months, we asked visitors to draw pictures that illustrate a word or a saying in a funny way.  Here's what some of them – kids and adults – shared:

A lovely representation of Nori, the Museum's rooftop dragon!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

From the Earth to the Moon

We recently welcomed a new display to our marionette case, From the Earth to the Moon, created by AmeriCorps Museum Educators Suzie Doogan and Andy Axel. They described their inspiration as they worked with the Museum’s collection of Betty Huestis marionettes.
“When we looked at the marionette collection, we wondered where these guys could go that they haven’t already gone. What is some place that is mysterious and cool that could bring these characters together? The moon!

We wanted to stay true to the time period [when Betty created the marionettes] and had two different inspirations drawn from the same era that led us to the moon. Andy was inspired by the early silent film “A Voyage to the Moon” by George Méliès. Suzie was inspired by Salvador Dali's surrealist landscapes and also by the film “The Blood of a Poet” by Jean Cocteau. We liked the romance of the moon before people had actually gone to it, the loneliness and mystery associated with it, and its openness to different interpretations as a symbol of many human things.

At first we wanted it all to be on the moon, but then a journey was more exciting. We built a moon, then the Earth. A spotted dog, a butterfly, and a boy on a homemade rocket go to the moon. A painter stays on Earth and paints the moon. A green man, Humpty Dumpty, and a smiling ghost are already there.

We wanted to put in things that weren’t 100% explainable so people would have to admit that they don’t know everything. So we put in a hanging key and also a prehistoric horse that looks like a dinosaur robot. The key can mean different things to different people."
Join the puppets on their journey next time you’re at the Museum.  Click here to learn about our previous marionette displays.