The Discovery Museums: New Exhibit on Wind and Air
The Discovery Museums have opened a new exhibit, AirPlay, inside the Children’s Discovery Museum. The new interactive exhibit allows young children to explore the properties of the natural world around them by playing with moving air, feeling the invisible forces of wind, and using air currents to make objects behave in fun and surprising ways.
The exhibit consists of several components that move air and allow children to engage with it through hands-on interactions. At Twisty Tubes, visitors release balls and fabric into large clear tubes that pull the items through coiled channels and along straight pathways.
At the Air Table visitors use air flow tubes to move objects, such as ping pong balls or small sailboats, across the surface or around obstacles. A Shimmery Wall displays small reflective pieces that move freely when air is blown at or across them, highlighting different airflow patterns. In the mirrored Windy Corner visitors feel and see the results of the wind blowing on them as their clothing, hair, capes, or streamers flutter and fly.
AirPlay was developed by The Discovery Museums’ educators in consultation with museum colleagues and exhibit professionals in the Exhibit Lab collaborative funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Part of this process involved visitors testing prototypes of these exhibits as they were being developed and making changes to improve design elements and to encourage family learning opportunities.
A series of programs related to air will take place on Tuesdays in July and August. “AirPlay Tuesdays” programs are scheduled from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and feature activities such as kite building, sail cars, stomp rockets, and more. See discoverymuseums.org for a detailed program schedule of activities
The new AirPlay exhibit and program series are sponsored by MEFA’s U.Fund and Fidelity Investments.