A few weeks ago, I got to take a peek behind the curtain of the new “Under Construction” exhibit at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum while it was….under construction!
What I saw reminds me of why the museum is such a gift to the Terre Haute and Wabash Valley community. The floorspace of the museum is finite, but the museum keeps finding new ways to grow and innovate. In the not-too-distant past, the museums expanded up into the air with the Ropes Challenge Course. The new Under Construction exhibit at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum has moved into a multipurpose space on the 3rd floor.
The highlights that excite me most are the welding simulator, CAD tablet, makerspace (with real tools!), and the construction overlook where kids can watch the new convention center come to life!
The executive director of the museum, Susan Turner, astutely noted that this overlook is an opportunity for kids to connect to their downtown community as they watch a new development grow from start to finish.
Want to know even more? Read on to hear more about this exhibit in the director’s own words! Please note: This exhibit is only around for a limited time! “Under Construction” will deconstruct in June 2021.
The Under Construction Exhibit will officially open to the public on Friday, January 24 at 9 a.m. It’s included with every museum admission.
The museum is targeting an older demographic with this exhibit. It’s perfect for the 6-12 year-old guests. We know the littles will come to it, too. Never fear! We have fun things for them, too. The exhibit will feature the following:
· A time lapse video that demonstrates the progress of the Terre Haute Convention Center;
· Blue prints, floor plans and drawings of the Terre Haute Convention Center;
· A welding simulator;
· An exhibit on heavy equipment featuring a crane and earth diggers;
· An exhibit for preschoolers offering free play with a variety of Tonka trucks;
· Telescopes allowing guests to zoom in on the work taking place across the street at the construction site;
· A bricklaying wall demonstrating proper techniques using foam bricks;
· An exhibit demonstrating a pulley system;
· An exhibit focused on electricity;
· An area when guests can use materials to construct the frame of a building;
· An exhibit teaching basic architecture lessons;
· The cab of semi-truck for a fun play experience;
· Signage featuring local construction and building trade workers with information about their jobs, the training they have completed and a salary range for the positions;
· A dress up area featuring hardhats, goggles and safety vests;
· And, ongoing programing during the exhibit’s time at the Museum to educate guests on different aspects of the construction and building trades industry.
The museum is calling their maker space “Creative Constructors” and it will be open when the museum is open. Tuesday – Thursday there will be bins with materials and building challenges for the kiddos. Friday – Sunday, the space will be staffed and the kids will get the chance to work with real tools and building materials. We’ve also partnered with local unions to have them come in over the next 18-months to staff the Creative Constructors space to teach about their trade. Cool, right?
In Susan Turner’s words, “It was important to have a hands-on maker space in this exhibit. We believe children learn from trying new things, failing and trying again, By incorporating the maker space in the exhibit, we are able to better partner with our valued sponsors and offer richer learning experiences for the children during the entire 18-months the exhibit is open.”
Another fun thing in the planning phase is our 10th anniversary in this building. We are having a construction birthday party (with touch-a-truck fun!) this September to celebrate!
This exhibit wouldn’t exist without the support of several sponsors. They have been FABULOUS! The museum is overwhelmed by their contributions.
This is exhibit has been made possible via the generous donations of numerous sponsors. The Under Construction Exhibit is proudly presented by the Wabash Valley Contractors Association and their dedicated members including Associated Roofing Professionals, Benchmark, Inc., CASE Building Solutions, Corystone, Hannig Construction, IEA/White Construction, Kirby Risk, Misco Enterprises, Inc., SDR Coating, SMC, Inc., Strode Construction, Wabash Valley Asphalt and Wright, Shagley, & Lowery. The exhibit gold sponsor is the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 725. Silver sponsors include Brampton Brick, Central Wabash Valley Building & Construction Trade Council, Clara Fairbanks Foundation, Garmong Construction, Indiana Chemical Trust, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 841, Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 157, Praxair and Team Tech. Bronze sponsors include CSO and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners Local Union 133. Other and in-kind sponsors include Preferred Construction, Douglas Dillion, Isaac Turner, Refreshment Services Pepsi, Rustic Expressions, Terre Haute Regional Hospital and the Vigo County School Corporation.