Life Cycle of a Cherry Exhibit!

In 2013, the Great Lakes Children’s Museum (GLCM) completed a strategic planning process which reflected the input of community leaders, museum members, board trustees and museum staff. The result was an ambitious but achievable five year plan for invigorating and improving the Museum, culminating in the first of four, locally themed, rotating exhibits.

Now, thanks to generous financial investments from Hagerty, the National Cherry Festival and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the long anticipated, first of four, rotating “Theme” exhibits makes its debut on July 15th! Designed to highlight our agricultural side of life around Northwestern Michigan, the exhibit’s goal is to incorporate learning through play via unique and fun interactives—communicating foundational concepts for our smallest community members.

Metropolitan museums use rotating exhibits to encourage repeat visits from members while generating buzz within the community. With rotating exhibits’ smaller footprint and more affordable upfront development costs, adding this component will help to bring a feeling of freshness and newness inside the Museum for each visitor. The theme concept has proven successful in many rural, metropolitan-quality museums within the Association of Children’s Museums. The lifetime of the exhibit is expected to be at least seven to ten years, impacting a minimum of 231,000 people. This first theme is titled “Cherries: From Pit to Pie”, and includes the following activities:

  • Crawling through an underground tunnel to investigate the homes of animals living under a cherry orchard through heat sensitive walls, dioramas and movies.
  • Walking on a sky view to get the feeling of flying over an orchard.
  • Experimenting with a flip wall to discover the three seasons in the growth of a cherry.
  • Pushing a button that activates the “shaker” to harvest cherries.
  • Using a hand-operated mechanism to reload the cherries for harvesting.
  • Using magnets to compare the anatomy of a tree to the anatomy of a child’s body.
  • Exploring weights and measures using a scale, a lug, half-lug, quart and pint.
  • Role play in a kid-sized Hagerty farm truck.
  • Role play in a National Cherry Festival road side stand with products created from cherries.

In addition, an interactive trivia and history kiosk will be placed in the Souvenir Tent of the Open Space during the National Cherry Festival that will help GLCM gain visibility with new audiences. This exhibit embodies the Museum’s commitment to meaningful, local and authentic Learning Through Play.