The new Children’s Discovery Museum in Waterville aims to create experiences that visitors remember. Through interactive exhibits and programs, the Museum will help children develop a foundation for understanding the world around them, provide a sense of connection to their environment and community, and deepen the understanding of their own capabilities.
The new exhibit design will offer a cohesive experience, exploring Maine through the lenses of science, technology, engineering, art and math (or STEAM). This theme will deepen local children’s understanding of their home while also educating visitors from away about the beauty, history, and culture of Central Maine. The STEAM focus fills a need in the area and builds a foundation for future STEAM skill development.
The exhibit design is comprised of five main zones for play and learning. These include: The Mill Zone, The Rural Zone, The City Zone, The Construction Zone, and The Watershed Zone. The visitor is guided through the Museum experience by The Great River, which weaves through all the zones.
Across from a mini Main Street made up of pint-sized storefronts, a construction zone, and a historic mill space, there will be the great outdoors. A cluster of double-decker climbing trees will abut a multi-sensory representation of Maine’s watershed with an interactive projected river and a live animal touch tank. A campsite will provide for fort-building and music around a make-believe fire and the research cabin will invite you to try your hand at being a natural scientist with rotating themes from archeology to zoology.
Exhibit Example: The Auto Shop
The Auto Shop provides ample opportunity for imaginative play and lets children learn the skills of a trade while mimicking the work of adults. Vehicles of various scales let kids replace parts, perform tune-ups, and test functions. Visitors can dress like mechanics with play-along garments, including coveralls, uniforms, and individual name patches. Other features include the vehicle design magnetic board, where one can swap out parts and choose distinct colors, styles and elements such as wheels and rims. Electric vehicles are also referenced and activities include constructing your own battery-operated car.
The Schematic Design phase of the exhibit design process is underway, led by FieldMagnet LLC, a Maine-based professional design company. Stay tuned for more updates and design plans as they become available!
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