Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Scenes of Spring

Following our recent robot invasion, two other new displays have sprouted up this spring!

Take a peek at playful puppets stomping in puddles, romping in the rain, and carrying colorful umbrellas in a display featuring the Museum’s collection of historic Betty Huestis marionettes.  AmeriCorps members Filipa Estrela and Rachel Storey started with a variety of different concepts, and a goal to find a theme that could incorporate some of the puppets that haven’t been used as often – especially their favorite, Little Red Riding Hood.  They decided upon a rainy day and went to work creating a vibrant vignette that included handcrafting beaded rain and clever umbrellas from wire wrapped with bright yarns.  Figuring out how to pose the puppets was particularly challenging, but important to their story – so Rachel modeled different poses to help them decide how to move the limbs in just the right ways!

“We wanted to inspire people to play in the rain,” said Filipa – and their engaging display does just that.

Also peer into the atrium walkway window boxes to discover sweet scenes of plants budding and animals reawakening as spring and its sunshine arrives.  Created by AmeriCorps members Leigh Holmes and Anna Strecker, each of the 17 boxes contains hand-sewn felt critters, beautiful painted backdrops, and a mix of other imaginative props.  The inspiration came from a book Leigh loved growing up, “The Story of the Root Children.”  “I remembered a part where they were painting the bugs, getting them ready for spring,” said Leigh.  “It was like the world waking up again.”

To determine the concept for each of the boxes, they had a brainstorming session about ideas related to spring, and that kids would like.  After they had an initial list of ideas, they eliminated some and refined others to make them more interactive.  Next, they made sketches to scale to help think about what components were needed, what the background should be, and how best to fill the space in each box.

The result is an utterly charming series that is a thoughtful tribute to the storybook that inspired it.  Get a glimpse and savor the season on your next visit!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Dinosaurs vs. Robots!

“The Cretaceous Period has come and gone. Millions of years later, dinosaurs return to Earth looking forward to some R&R after traveling across the vast unexplored regions of outer space.  Little do they know, their rocket ships are about to be greeted by the new inhabitants of Earth – robots!”

Recently installed in the lobby display case, get a glimpse of these daring dinos returning from their interplanetary adventures for a rendezvous with Earth’s new robot residents.  Created by AmeriCorps members Cara Adams and Meg Wilson, the idea for the theme emerged when they realized they both like space and dinosaurs.  After envisioning elements of each half of the scene, the pair divided up the work of constructing rocket ships and robots, and made choices about which components should be incorporated in 2-D and 3-D.

This comment from a young visitor says it all: “Dinosaurs and robots – can this place get any more awesome?!?”