The exhibits for the Connecticut Children's Museum were inspired by educators, artists, health care providers, scientists, community organizers, businesspeople, architects, and parents who worked together--meeting, dreaming, and drawing. Hundreds of people generated the reservoir of ideas that now shape the eight thematic and community-inspired exhibits.
Music is everywhere and in this room... children can see it, make it, hear it, and study it.
The murals expose the children to music through great art. The piano, a saxophone, and a guitar beckon them to see and touch. The workstation is amply supplied with musical wind chimes components.
Kids can visit the musical table exhibits, where an ocean drum makes rhythm visible, and a steel drum and pipe drum demonstrate that musical instruments can be made from everyday objects. The guitar stage calls young music-makers to play in the museum band with instruments from around the world.
Bodily-Kinesthetic Room /
There are mirrors to reflect in and faces to create as children explore emotions in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language in the "Face It" space. Based on some literary favorites, the room is home to three large, wooden sculptures: a Frog and Toad Are Friends frog, a Blueberries for Sal bear, and a Caps for Sale tree full of monkeys. The children can read books about their favorite animals and then become a frog, bears, or monkeys with props and costumes. A stage invites budding actors and actresses to act out the part. Jumping spotlights set the kids into joyful motion.
Little bean counters adjust their green visors and gather at a kidney bean-shaped table, adding, subtracting, and counting the room's collections. The maze wall has moveable slats so children can arrange and rearrange pathways for their rolling balls. The gear wall calls for children to arrange their gears, one beside the other, and turn the crank that rotates them all.
The workstations contain tangrams, mosaics, and fractions for quiet problem-solving. The bookshelf contains books such as Knots on a Counting Rope, One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. A magnetic number wall invites children to do their math with giant numbers and the clock display tells the time in our Sister Cities around the world.
HarperCollins Publishers gave us permission to re-create the great, green room complete with the bunny in the bed, toy mice, the little red house and a collection of phones and clocks, magnetic mittens and socks as well as the famous "comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush ."
The words of Goodnight Moon are on large magnets in different languages and Braille for children to assemble and sort across the great, green, and magnetic wall.
On the way to the Spatial Room, children stop to ponder the optical illusion wall: is it a face or a vase? They then enter the space place, where the 'intelligence of the image' lives through a construction site where a bulldozer is driven and blueprints are drawn. There are architectural blocks to design buildings from around the world, tubes to experiment with gravity and in and out, and a 'cool garbage' sculpting space with ample tape to make those egg cartons and boxes become rocket ships or complex machines. Inspired by Harold and the Purple Crayon, children can visit the chalkboard house to draw windows and doors in intricate and chalked detail.
New Haven is a city full of connections. There is a full wall Cityscape dollhouse for children to work at which includes miniature houses, a greengrocer, a fire station, and trains. The museum's pint-sized post office is a space where connections are made and children can pick up and mail their letters and postcards from the post office boxes. Uniforms, post office satchels, and collections of mail offer the opportunity to be a mail carrier. The envelope-shaped table is a spot for making stationary and writing missives. A park bench, set under a mural of beautifully painted trees and a view of the library from the New Haven Green, provides a restful moment.
Children flutter like butterflies and are as busy as bees when they visit this room.
A real observation hive with thousands of bees, a sitting space of hexagonal honeycombs where a child can just "be", magnifying glasses and collections of the earth's wonders to muse over, a real tree table for working on, puppets and beekeeper gear, all make this room a magnet for nascent naturalists.