Science museum field trip: or how I learned to stop worrying and love germs

Tornado demonstration

Slightly blurry tornado demonstration

As an adult working in a museum, I’m an annoying museum visitor. I just can’t relax and enjoy the big picture experience. I over-analyze content choices and evaluate the effectiveness of text fonts, lighting, and collection care elements. Then, there’s my germ phobia…

It’s been many, many years since my last visit to the Museum of Science and Industry and the museum has updated significantly. My ten-year-old self remembered it as being kind of lame, noisy, and full of interactive stations covered in germs. However, I enjoyed this most recent trip (even with all the kid germs). The museum could still do with some hand sanitizer stations.

The museum has tons of impressive hands-on activities in each exhibit area. Sometimes that means only children interact with them. However, these were so engaging and sophisticated, many activities were being used solely by adults. I sat at an interactive table with five other adults and we played two rounds of a game about consumer habits. Somewhere, there’s a room of cheering exhibit designers happy about engaging both kids and adults with the same interactive components. The museum’s hands-on activities definitely enhance the experience to make science appealing and accessible.

Image courtesy Museum of Science and Industry

Image courtesy Museum of Science and Industry

The highlight of my museum visit was the Treasures of the Walt Disney Vault temporary exhibit. As someone who grew up on a steady diet of Disney, it worth the extra $10 entrance fee for the nostalgia factor alone. You don’t need to be a kid or Disney geek to enjoy the exhibit, though. It focused on Walt Disney’s groundbreaking technical achievements in animation and featured some very neat props and costumes from a variety of movies. Sure, there was one giant panel devoted (or pandering, depending on your perspective) to Frozen, but it showcased the technical aspects of animating the film.

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Do you want to draw a snowman?

The Disney Academy drawing session that ran every twenty minutes was surprisingly fun, too. The benches were filled by an equal number of adults without children and children with their adults learning to draw Olaf the Snowman.

So if you haven’t been to the Museum of Science and Industry lately, I heartily recommend a visit. All of the exhibits seemed to strike the right balance to engage both kids and adults. The Disney exhibit only runs through January 4.

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