What’s “New” in Programming?

If you were to stop for a second and think about the last year at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum what “changes” would come to mind?

Hopefully you’d immediately jump to the new or updated exhibits.  Specifically since May of last year, Building Bridges opened, followed by ShorePrints, followed most recently by Let’s Go Sailing.  If you’ve visited the Museum in the last couple weeks you might have noticed a change to the Periscope and even wondered what THAT was all about.

Bearing CircleThe bearing circle on the Periscope ups the education value on the exhibit by opening a whole new set of avenues.  The bearing circle can be used as a tool to teach math across a wide range of ages from early counting, to number recognition to higher math, fractions, geometry and word problem solving.  In the next couple of weeks we’ll be rolling out parent pointers with tips for using the exhibit in that fashion.

Coming up shortly, the long awaited changes to the toddler area.  Toddler Beach closed in February to make room for the new sailing exhibit.  Over the last couple of weeks we have been able to line up funding for renovating the toddler area.  So… in what has become a familiar sight of late, another area will be closing temporarily to make it possible to rethink and launch a new and improved toddler area (we’re calling it The Hatchery).

About mid-May look for another construction project.  The freighter, garbage in-garbage out and magnetic ball wall will be out of reach as we start demolition for our largest addition of the year – Guardians of the Great Lakes.  When Guardians opens toward the end of June, the design includes wave tanks, a stairway leading to a helicopter, a wind wall, a weather wall, a “challenges” puzzle and four or five other interactive stations.

With all the changes on the exhibit side, perhaps the changes to programming aren’t in the forefront of your mind.  Take a quick peek at the group programs page and you’ll see that there are major changes going on there, too!

Organizational systems are changing at the same time.  In fact, there’s really not many things about the museum that haven’t been slowly changing over the last year.  In some ways that’s exciting – but it can also be “scary” depending on your perspective.

Mission statements change, systems grow, organizations move, exhibits change, people come and go, programs evolve – but the basic goal of YOUR Great Lakes Children’s Museum will ALWAYS stay the same – giving children (and their adult caregivers) the opportunity to explore their world, in their own way and at their own pace in a safe and welcoming environment.