New York Hall of Science Early Childhood...
(click to enlarge)
'The Bee Hive' - a science exhibit for toddlers
Hexagonal parking spaces were created by fixed lofts and walls and movable carpeted platforms could be laid out for curb seating.
This 'Sound and Music' platform may combine with the 'Measurement' unit, for example, to demonstrate the concept of measurement using rhythm and pitch.
While building Playspace I discoverd that certain carpet ahhered to Velcro. allowing kids to play interactive games like creating their own marble runs.
The floor of the loft was inlaid with a carpet street grid, by Tom Repasky, for building cities with legos and blocks.
Artist Erika Knerr evoked the relationship of the room's geometry to science in this mural.

It's fun to submit an RFP (Request for Proposal) on the assumption that the client would be crazy to accept it. But when it is accepted, fun turns to scary and you have to make sure they really understood the proposal.

Having been assured that was the case I proceeded to install a very flexible exhibit system for introducing toddlers to science. But sometimes, flexibility sounds more convenient than it really is and requires a commitment to be, well, flexible.

Complexity, when it comes to interactive technology - buttons to push, screens to look at - is an accepted element in children's museums but the kind of complexity you might find on a theater stage set, where each scene requires the physical choreography of stagehands to transform the environment to give context to the story, is not.

The building, a leftover exhibition space from the 1964 World's Fair, was a hexagonal structure with no interior right-angled walls. I decided to go with the geometry and designed a series of movable hexagonal platforms, which could be parked in different positions and combined to create new spaces for each exhibit or program like changing play sets. Each platform supported a framework of modular panels for mounting displays, interactive exhibits, storage systems and work surfaces and overhead grid for hanging stuff, like scales and solar system mobiles.

I returned to the museum a few years later to find some interesting additional exhibit panels but the units were in the same position as I had left them. The teen-age docents were surprised to find out they were even movable. It seems that neither the operating budget nor the static nature of museum exhibit conventions did not allow for the kind of day to day experimentation that the science museum was trying to instill in its 4 year old audience which taught me to get more involved in the programmatic aspects of designing exhibits and to make sure the budget allowed for that.

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