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Hands-On Learning Through Play

The Children’s Discovery Museum exhibits are the heart of the museum, enabling the organization to fulfill its mission to encourage rich hands-on learning and exploration through play. All exhibits are designed in a way that sparks a child’s curiosity, inviting them to play and discover. Exhibits incorporate a mixture of opportunities for imaginative play, cause and effect experimentation and content knowledge acquisition. Each exhibit has a variety of aspects that can be appropriate for a range of ages. The exhibit space seeks to create an entirely transformative and immersive experience for visitors to enter, and one that is safe, engaging, professional, and visually appealing.

Exhibits are designed by Field Magnet Design LLC



“I am a steward of the environment and I am familiar with the plants and animals of Maine.”

A strong relationship with the natural world is fostered by  developing empathy for other living creatures and interacting with  nature in a respectful manner that satisfies innate curiosity but leaves  no trace. In the Rural Zone, a massive elm tree named Evelyn towers above the forest floor where children are immersed in a rich, magical experience that nurtures a connection to the outdoors. A research cabin near by allows children to dig a little deeper, studying the intricacies of the outdoor world.



“I am a maker. I can use tools and make changes to build and fix things. I can create something that didn’t exist before.”

STEM learning is stimulated by intuitive exploration of force and  motion through manipulating objects, operating simple machines,  and inventing gadgets. In the Mill Zone, interactive industrial buildings clustered around the Giant Clock Tower invite  children to explore three main mill industries – paper, textiles, and shoe-making.



“I am a member of the community. I can use my skills and interests to communicate with others and make the world a better place.”

The new exhibit floor will be separated into different zones, including the City Zone, featured here. A whimsical and interactive Main Street will combine a world of make-believe with realistic city scenarios where children can explore the built environment and the social connections that emerge from it. Unstructured play amid familiar and fantastical city structures  allows children to cultivate social skills, experiment with different  occupations, and start examining elementary economics. You can expect this zone to include exhibits like a Farmers Market, Auto shop, Post office, Hardware store, Lemonade Stand and Restaurant.



“The watershed is vast, but my actions matter”

Learning the principles of ecology, conservation, and Earth science at an early age creates an appreciation for the natural world and nurtures lifelong stewards of the environment. The piers, pilings, pipes, and spouts of the city lead us to a big bend in the river. The water zone moves away from human-centric playspace to “Magic School Bus”-style field trip into the world of Maine’s aquatic life. Half-walls and Aquatic plant forests rise up from the floor to allow children the sensation of moving underwater. The layout focuses on animal homes to mimic the “neighborhood” structure of the city zone allowing children to draw parallels across species.

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