, 2022-09-14 17:39:23,
ROCKINGHAM — Discovery Place KIDS is getting a makeover.
Representatives of the interactive science museum met with both the Richmond County Board of Commissioners and Rockingham City Council Tuesday to present plans for new exhibits.
Tifferny White, chief learning officer for Discovery Place, said museums typically look at making changes every five to seven years. However, the COVID pandemic put them behind.
“It’s been almost 10 years, they’ve been coming, they’ve seen the same exhibits, now they want to see something new and different,” White said.
The process started with focus groups featuring educators, regular visitors and other community stakeholders including local businesses.
The three main suggestions to come from those groups were to broaden the age range to middle school, connect the exhibits to the community, and refresh exhibits by adding new elements.
Discovery Place Kids currently features an old fire truck from the Rockingham Fire Department and a car maintenance station with a Rockingham Speedway backdrop to connect to the community.
Museum Director Angela Watkins said the design team visited Richmond County in January to get an idea of how to incorporate the exhibits with local landmarks and industry.
The Gizmatron, which is currently on the ground-level floor, will be moved downstairs and incorporated with a quarry to reflect a regional industry.
“This is familiar to folks that live here and they can see what happens inside of there, what careers and jobs might be inside of there,” White said.
“We talk a lot about physics and STEM and a lot of these other things, we want to also showcase careers that you don’t have to have a four-year degree for,” White said. “Because, sometimes, folks are not going to get a four-year degree, and they still want jobs that are productive and allow them to have a comfortable life, so the quarry would have those highlighted … not only the jobs that are there, but it would highlight what happens in a quarry.
So when they see and they drive past one, they will know this is what’s happening inside of there.”
The Gizmatron will be replaced with physics exhibits featuring demonstrations of force-in-motion…
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