items tagged with museums
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Category: Local News
(To read the sidebar about the renovation of the Family Museum in Bettendforf, click here.)
This past weekend, we brought our daughter to Davenport’s Putnam Museum and did the full tour. We saw Flight of the Butterflies 3D on the Giant Screen, walked through the new Bodies Revealed show, and saw all the cultural-, regional-, and natural-history displays that visitors have known for decades, from the mummies to the Asian artifacts to Bix’s cornet.
But what kept Emily’s attention was the Spark Learning Lab, a modest career-themed room with the goal of preventing high-school drop-outs.
Our daughter is five and in no danger yet of dropping out of any school – or pursuing any career beyond princess-ing. And the Spark Learning Lab is geared toward fifth- and sixth-graders. But she loved the lab’s drawing program with the dual touch screens (one on the computer and one where the picture was being projected), the construction-plank set (which she’s playing with on this issue’s cover), and the feature that allows visitors to build tube structures and – with the help of a blower – either launch table-tennis balls or keep them aloft.
One station in the room lets visitors connect batteries to simple electrical devices, and another shows how structures they build with Lincoln Logs or those aforementioned planks might fare in an earthquake. The “concentration station” fosters communications skills, as one person describes a block structure and a partner tries to build its twin using verbal instructions alone.
If you want to see where the Putnam is headed, you can look at the conceptual drawings – posted in several locations – of its planned STEM learning center. The $1.5-million project is currently in the fundraising phase, and the museum expects to open it in June 2014. Putnam President and CEO Kim Findlay said adding the STEM center to the Putnam now is “the right time and the right thing for the community and the museum.”
But you’ll get a hands-on sense of the Putnam’s direction in the Spark Learning Lab. Larger-scale hints are available in the interactive components of the current Destination: Space exhibit, with its compressed-air tennis-ball launcher, and a bicycle wheel and rotating platform demonstrating angular momentum.
Implicitly and explicitly, all of these draw a line from playful exploration to science to careers, and that’s what the STEM center will do on a much grander level. It’s an attempt to transform the nearly-century-and-a-half-old Putnam from “nice to necessary,” to use a phrase that’s common in the museum field these days.
Read More About Pivot And Progress: The Putnam Museum Looks To Remake Itself With A STEM Learning Center...
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Category: Local News
(To read the main story about the Putnam Museum’s planned STEM center, click here.)
At a recent visit to the Family Museum’s new Fox Hollow, there was a robber at the grocery store, grabbing (fake) money and announcing his deed. This probably wasn’t what leaders of the Bettendorf museum wanted to happen with their renovated facility, but dictating any aspect of open-ended play is antithetical to the enterprise.
So Museum Director Margaret Kuhl laughed when told about the Fox Hollow crime wave.
“We don’t have any police officers on duty,” she conceded. “Maybe somebody from the fire department could have helped. ... We have that neighborhood concept of everybody looking out for each other.”
Read More About A New Community At The Family Museum...
Written By: Mike Schulz
Category: Feature Stories
Mark Bawden - the Putnam's interim director/CEO before Findlay and its current development director - says, "We think she will be great for the Putnam. She brings a fresh outlook and lots of new ideas."
Myron Scheibe - chairperson of the Putnam's board of trustees - states,"Not only does Kim meet and exceed all the criteria we had ... she also has a true passion for the Putnam."
And Jennifer Nolin - communications administrator for the United Way of the Quad Cities Area - describes Findlay as "one of the most phenomenal women I've ever met," adding, "I think she'll be a great bridge between the community and the museum."
Yet while comments such as these may not be unexpected, Findlay herself is, as evidenced by the analogy she makes in discussing her new role at the Putnam:
Read More About The Great Jam Session: Kim Findlay Plans To Make Music As The New Director/CEO Of The Putnam Museum...
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