The Mayborn Museum shifts to a more kid-focused touring exhibit for the spring and the title says it all: “The Wizard of Oz Educational Exhibit.”
The exhibit, which opens a three-month run Saturday, offers “Wizard of Oz”-themed activities areas where kids can create, solve puzzles, explore colors and concepts and learn about character qualities.
It’s a change of pace from this fall’s touring exhibit “National Geographic: Sacred Journeys,” a look at religious pilgrimmages and shrines around the world, and deliberately so.
“Typically, in the spring we gear our exhibition to a younger audience,” said Rebecca Nall, assistant director of exhibits, communication and visitor services. Spring break and longer school schedules make spring a time where many families and school field trips pick the Mayborn as a destination, she added.
The Miami Children’s Museum and Warner Bros. Consumer Products collaborated to create the “Wizard of Oz” exhibit, which debuted in 2010 and has toured such cities such as Boston, New York, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh.
The exhibit draws on the story and characters of the 1939 fantasy film about a Kansas farmgirl, Dorothy Gale, blown into the fantasy world of Oz by a tornado. It features five activity areas, each with a different emphasis and activities.
• The Gale Farm, with spaces suggesting Dorothy’s bedroom, the Gale farmyard and Professor Marvel’s wagon, looks at such topics as farming, optical and spatial illusions (Professor Marvel’s wagon and Dorothy’s bedroom during the tornado) and how tornadoes form.
• Brightly colored Munchkinland, where art and creativity are emphasized through games, art activities and puzzles.
• Crossroads, where exhibit visitors learn about Dorothy’s three companions, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion with activities about the particular qualities each was seeking: a brain (learning), a heart (assemblage of a mechanical heart) and courage (an optional crawl through a spooky tunnel).
• Wicked Witch’s Castle, an area of physical challenges such as balancing, bike pedaling and a slide.
• Emerald City, where games employing light and sound allow players to mix colors on a “horse of a different color,” play with special effects at the Wizard of Oz’s behind-the-curtain console and experiment with prisms and kaleidoscopes.
The exhibit’s target audience are children ages 2 to 12, and Nall said the initial announcement of “The Wizard of Oz Educational Exhibit” on social media drew a lot of positive, eager comments from parents and students. “This is going to be a fun exhibit,” she said.
“The Wizard of Oz Educational Exhibit” opens Saturday. Also Saturday, the museum’s new “Design Den” activity space will offer kids a chance to draw, write and create their own stop-action animated stories from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.