April Update

What’s Happening!

As mentioned in earlier blogs.  Our Advisory Committee was busy in February and March raising funds for the new building, securing a location, receiving estimates, pursuing grants, updating our website, exploring other museums, and putting together a presentation to visit with groups about the success of the pilot museum and our plans moving forward.  
Splash! our water table at the South Washington Fair
Splash! our water table at the South Washington Fair

On the road again!

We are excited to announce that we plan on being on the road and attending fun events around the area.  If you plan on going to Centrailia College Fun Fest on April 18th at 10 am, we will also be there!  We are currently organizing to have a staff person that will be able to attend these events, as well as have a trailer that can be used to transport mobile exhibits to each destination.  We are excited to bring you more news and pictures as it develops!

abcABC’s and 123’s

Since we know that our future success will be strongly dependent on location.  We knew that we would have to pick the right spot and space.  After much searching, we concluded that in order to find an area that met all requirements, we  would best suit those needs by building.  One big benefit to this, is that we can design the facility to have all the areas we dreamed of!  Such as exhibit floor, administrative offices, event room, gift shop, food court, and a place allocated for early education and development!

We are still in the first stage of exploring an early education program that will work for Discover!  The possibility is exciting, and we will have to make sure that we have the space available for it.  So as the months progress keep watching our updates for more news!

DSC-2628We would love to fill you in on what we’re doing!

The Discover! Board Members are excited to share what’s going on with Discover! with your group, school, daycare, or organization.  If you are interested in having us come to you for a presentation, please feel free to email us at info@discovermuseum.org

There are many other things that we went over in our meeting, but we will save them for later.  Until then, happy spring break Discover! Friends!

Suggestions?

We would love to hear any suggestions you have about what you would like to see on our blog.  If you are interested in helping with a blog post, we would love to hear from you. Some of the subjects are art, activities, animals, books, crafts, encouragement, events, Inspiration, parks, play dates, science, and more.  

Email us at: info@discovermuseum.org

Kids and Kites

Windy Weather Family Activity!

Spring and wind supply an opportunity for fun with your family!  Let's Go Fly a Kite!
Spring and wind supply an opportunity for fun with your family! Let’s Go Fly a Kite!

Kids and kites go together like peanut butter and jelly!  They’re a perfect match!  Since spring has officially arrived and wind is a sure thing this time of year, we think flying kites make for a perfectly fun family activity!  While you can purchase a kite (which can be a little or  a lot), it is still satisfying to make your own.  There are many kite making directions available, some that are easier than others.  We have included directions to get you started!

Gather your materials
Gather your materials

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you’ll need:  You will need one piece of paper, crayons and/or markers, a ruler, a pencil,  some yarn or string, a stapler, and a hole punch.

 

Use any colors you want, and make your creation a true piece of art!
Use any colors you want, and make your creation a true piece of art!

Color to your hearts desire!  One side or both, the side that will fold in on it’s self will be the top of the wings.

Tip: You know all those coloring sheets your kids love to color on.  This project is one way you can take those coloring sheets to a whole new level!

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measuring points A and B on the folded edge

 

 

 

 

 

Fold the paper in half.  Using a ruler, place it along the folded side of your paper, measure and mark off at 2 1/2″ (point A) and at 3 1/2″ (Point B)

Get a small piece of tape to place over the fold at point B.  Then punch a hole through the tape.  (The tape helps to reinforce the hole where you will tie your string)

Roll the corners of paper to the
Roll the corners of paper to point A. Make sure not to bend your rolled paper.

Roll the top corners together to meet at point A.  Being careful to not crease the rolled edges, staple the top corner’s to point A.  These rolled wings help to catch the air, which then helps to lift your kite up into the air.

 

 

 

Here you can see where we stapled our corners, as well as where we added a ribbon!
Here you can see where we stapled our corners, as well as where we added a ribbon!

Tie string or your through the hole at point B.

Option:  You can add a tail to your kite by taping ribbon to the bottom center edge.

You may look at it and wonder if it will really fly, but rest assured… They really do fly, even in light wind or when you run!   Happy flying Discover! Friends!

Things to talk about when doing this

Wind!  What causes it?  Why it’s all about the sun – which warms the air.  And when cool air (which is heavy) meets warm air (which is lighter)  the result is wind!  The greater the temperature difference – the greater the speed of the wind.  From a gentle afternoon breeze, to a devastating tornado – it all depends on air temperature  – which goes back to the sun.  This is why wind  is often a sign that the weather is in the process of changing.

We can have lots of fun with wind.  Our breath is the wind that blows  dandelion seeds.  Wind blows leaves off of trees in the fall, creates sand dunes, and makes tumble weeds tumble!  What other examples of wind causing things to happen can you think of?  Of course, one of the most fun things is flying kites!!

Being Careful!  Make sure you watch where you are going while running with your kite, and make sure where you are playing with your kite isn’t near any power lines.

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Did you know that each August our state hosts the Washington State International Kite Festival?  Truly, this is a treat for your eyes. Kite professionals from around the world display their passion in the air for all to see.  Take a trip to Long Beach anytime during the 3rd week of August, and you will be amazed by unimaginable color and beauty. You can even wander through the kite museum.  Check out this website and make plans to attend:

 http://kitefestival.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Let it Grow! Let it GROWWWW!

 

A little kit purchased through Scholastic for $3.00
A little kit purchased through Scholastic for $3.00

This time of year, I start to get the itch to be outside.  If the temperature is slightly above chilly, and the sun is shining, I am most likely thinking of the garden outside my door.  What a miracle our earth is!  The fact that the smallest seed can turn into something beautiful, nourishing, or even help heal a wound or illness never ceases to amaze me.

The wonder doesn’t end there though!  That huge fire ball in the sky is a mystery in itself and without it, we would all cease to exist.  So today’s post is about science and the  miracle of life.  One simple seed, water, and the wonderful sun!

DSC_2401I had bought this greenhouse kit a while ago from Scholastic for a few dollars, and thought it would be a fun project for the kids and I as a little science project.  Since the weather was a little dreary, I thought it would be a perfect time to get our green house started.  There are many ways that you can do this too!  There are greenhouse kits at the local stores, but you can also do it with a milk jug,  a 1 liter bottle,  a mason jar, or even a fish bowl!

Here are many examples of ways you can make your own green, many of these things you can find in your home
Here are many examples of ways you can make your own green, many of these things you can find in your home. Image from wikiHow See link at the bottom of post.

Let’s Begin!

Kids love to be part of something big, even if it is just a little seed.   They will love to see their greenhouse come together and will want to be part of the build process! So don’t be afraid to include them by letting them do the tasks you feel most comfortable with.   When holes need to be poked in the bottom or scissors used to cut the jugs in half,  parents should preform these tasks or still supervise these steps when older children want to try do them.

TAPE!!!  Don't forget tape! It can come in handy when you don't want the greenhouse to slip out of place.
TAPE!!! Don’t forget tape! It can come in handy when you don’t want the greenhouse to slip out of place.

Tip:  We used tape to help keep our green house together.  I could see it being helpful too when putting together the 1 liter bottle or a jug, so the bottom part holding the dirt doesn’t shift around.

 

 

You can use whatever seeds you want, there is a huge variety at many stores in our area!
You can use whatever seeds you want, there is a huge variety at many stores in our area!

Bring on the Fun!

Now that you have your green house together, here comes the fun part!  Adding the dirt and the seeds!  You can use whatever kind you want.  We have Coreopsis, which are yellow and have a long bloom time.  The biggest bonus is that butterflies LOVE them!

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Now remember, it’s okay for kids to get dirty!

We added the soil (potting soil)  to each container, and then watered it down prior to adding the seeds.  Some soil is fairly moist, so you could possible skip that step.  Each seed packet will have different instructions, as to how far to put the seed into the soil.  Ours was only an 1/8″ of an inch.  Make sure to follow the directions on your seed packet for the best results.  We placed three seeds per container, and lightly pressed each seed down.  Then it was time for our little pots to settle into their green house!

Little water drops falling down the strings into each pot
Little water drops falling down the strings into each pot

Do not over water!

When the soil seems dry add a little water to your greenhouse.  Seeds like to grow in moist soil, but not soaked.  There should be no standing water,  and the holes that you poked at the bottom of your green house should let out in excess water.

When your seedling is getting to big for the greenhouse, it’s time to transplant them outside! Remember the directions on your seed packet, some plants may want full sun or partial shade.  So keep those planting tips in mind when looking for a place in your garden.  Dig a hole in the proper area and gently remove your seedling from it’s container and place it in the hole.  Cover the roots with the surrounding soil, and pat the soil gently at the top surrounding your seedling.  Continue to water the plant throughout it’s growing season so you can see how big it gets and what it turns into.  Flowers! Vegetable!  Now you just have to wait and see.  We can’t wait to see what ours become!  Happy planting Discover! Friends!

Patience is required while watching seeds grow!
Patience is required while watching seeds grow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things to talk about when doing this:

Soil, water, and the sun’s light help to make seeds grow.  Just like we need food, water, light, and rest to grow as well.

Explain that the roots of the plants absorb the water, sort of like we do when we suck up water through a straw.

Talk about how plants help to make the air we breath, and this why helping take care of our earth helps to promise clean air to breath.   Check out this link for more detail on explaining plants and the air we breath.  http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/1__Plants_and_climate/-_plants_and_environment_151.html

You have to love the internet, we found a great little how to on wikiHow: 

 http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Mini-Greenhouse

Follow us on Facebook, to find out more about Discover! Children’s Museum:   www.facebook.com/DiscoverChildrensMuseum

 

What’s the Next Step?

There’s a buzz going around town about the Discover! Children’s Museum, and we want to make sure that everyone knows about it!

If you visited our pilot location in the Twin Cities Town Center in Chehalis you probably saw a window display showing an artist’s renditions of possible layouts of the permanent museum.  For those of you who have not yet seen it, we are excited to announce that we will be building a new museum!

One artist rendition example of possible building designs for the new Discover! Children's Museum
One artist rendition example of possible building designs for the new Discover! Children’s Museum

The Discover! Advisory Committee is busy raising funds for the new building, securing a location receiving estimates, pursuing grants, updating our website, exploring other museums, and visiting with groups about the success of the pilot museum and our plans for moving forward.

One of the important things we had found out from the Discover Pilot Museum was that we had a large percentage of visitors based on our location visibility.   Therefore we looked for a location that would still offer the following:

  • High visibility
  • High traffic
  •  Ample parking

We have found a perfect spot near our old destination.  It’s actually located in the vacant property right between Walmart and Home Depot, nearest to the round-about.   This area meets all the needs that will help Discover! to be successful for years to come.  Our next step in securing the property was to meet with Chehalis City Council, and after doing so on February 10th we were approved to pursue a lease for the property!   Our team was more than a little excited about the approval.

At this point we are hiring a group, to have the soil tested to make sure that the fill that is in the area is suitable for construction, or what steps must be taken to correct it.  While this process is happening our group is currently working on a building design to meet the needs of the museum;  such as administrative offices, preschool(s), food area, and most importantly… The Exhibits!  We are also continuing to work on raising funds for the building, as well as analyzing the data collected from the pilot, and apply our findings and solutions to the operations of the permanent museum.

So as you can see we are busy busy busy!  However, you won’t find a happier group than the Discover! committee.  We are more than ecstatic to be part of this project, and can’t wait to open the permanent museum.  Stay tuned for more updates.

 

Where Discover! Came From

1-20-13 work day pic 1
The original founders of Discover!

The Story

In 2007, two women in our community had a vision to develop a Children’s Museum in the Twin Cities area of Lewis County.  This desire was driven by the need for a hands-on learning center where families can conveniently explore and lean in a creative and fun-filled environment.  There are no family activity facilities in the Chehalis-Centralia area with a focus on education.  During winter months there are few activities for families, and many families travel outside the County to visit similar facilities.

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Children playing with the rice table at our exhibit are at the SWW fair 2013

This need was clearly understood by the consultant who developed the Chehalis Renaissance Plan in 2009 and he included a recommendation to develop a Children’s Museum in the plan.  After the plan was adopted by the Chehalis City Council, the Chehalis Community Renaissance Team (CCRT) included the Children’s Museum as one of their many tasks to accomplish.  In late 2009 members of the CCRT partnered up with the original visioners, and additional volunteers, to form a Children’s Museum advisory group.  This six member advisory droup operates under the Friends of Chehalis Community Renaissance – a 501(c)(3) organization.

What Research has been done?

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Kids are the building blocks of our future! Here’s one of our visitors in Tot Town of Discover! Pilot Museum

Since day one there has been an objective approach to evaluating the feasibility of locating a Children’s Museum in this community.  Extensive research has been completed over the past 3.5 years.  The advisory group joined the Association of Children’s Museum (ACM) which has been a tremendous resource.  The ACM truly serves as a resource for all Children’s Museum and not simply a membership organization; they are impressive when compared to other industry associations.  The ACM’s publication, Collective Vision:Starting and Sustaining a Children’s Museum, has been referred to many times to gain guidance through the planning process.  The ACM collects metrics data from all museum members on multiple data points.  We were able to review this data for museums in similar sized communities and extrapolate the data to estimate overall attendance to build an estimated operating budget.  Also utilizing this data, an extensive market analysis  was developed to study the attractiveness of the Children’s Museum in our area.  The analysis concluded that a western Lewis County region could support a Children’s Museum facility with a 103% ratio of Contributed Income to Earned Income. The expected annual attendance would be slightly greater than 21,000.

The ACM holds a national conference every year and coincidentally the 2012 conference was held in Portland, Oregon. The conference is well regarded with all members we spoke to and this year it included over 100 sessions spanning four days.  A special pre-conference was offered to emerging museums.  Two representatives of our advisory board attended the conference.  A wealth of knowledge was returned.

The group held an invitational public brainstorming session in May 2010 to seek input from stakeholders on the reasons for a Children’s Museum, what a Children’s Museum should look like in our community, what it should not look like, and what would their vision of a Children’s Museum in our community be?  We were pleased to find out the majority of our planning was in line with the vision of future stakeholders and all additional input has been incorporated into our planning.

One visiting grandfathers and grandson, creating new pathways with the water table at the SWW Fair in 2012
One visiting grandfather and grandson, creating new pathways with the Splash water table at the SWW Fair in 2012

Over the past few years we have participated in many public functions to gain awareness for the museum project.  Our largest involvement has been the Southwest Washington Fair.  We have designed and built two extensive interactive exhibits, collectively costing $10,000, to display during the fair prior to the pilot museum opening.  These exhibits have served as a great educational tool in exhibit building along with how children interact with the exhibits.

An important step completed was the development of our mission and vision statement for the Children’s Museum.  Along with this planning came the official name: Discover! Children’s Museum.  Check out our mission, vision, and goals here: http://www.discovermuseum.org/about.html#Mission

The group conducted phone interviews with six museums in similar sized communities to discuss their revenue sources, impact of the recession, school and education programs, contributed income sources, challenges to serving children over 10 years of age, exhibit sponsorship, new facilities, difficulties running a museum, poor uses of money, staff makeup, and any open advice.  A common theme from the successful museum was they all began with a pilot project before jumping into a full museum.  These pilot projects allowed them to test the waters in their community and gain vital support before starting up a large operation.

Therefore we created Discover! Children’s Museum Pilot Project

Based on the input of experienced successful museums, a pilot project project was opened in February 2013 to highlight a local Children’s Museum opportunity.   The pilot project was a scaled down version, only 4,000 square feet, located in the Twin Cities Town

Some of the many volunteers that helped during the construction of the Discover! Pilot Museum construction in January 2013
Some of the many volunteers that helped during the construction of the Discover! Pilot Museum construction in January 2013

Center.  There were a total of twelve exhibits for children to interact with, in addition to many Weekend Warrior events that were held by the Children’s Museum itself or local groups that interacted with our young visitors.

In the early stages of preparation, the committee spent much time developing job descriptions and selecting staff.  A volunteer Coordinator was recruited and we found to be essential to the pilot project, in order to find and arrange volunteers throughout the eleven months the pilot museum operated as well as for events outside the museum.

The goal of the pilot project was to obtain results and measurable objectives.   Through the eleven months of operation, these were some of our findings.

  • Attendance started well above anticipated pace and stayed that way
  • Volunteer support was wonderful, leaving Discover! to only have 1.5 paid positions during the course of the pilot
  • Director Marilynn Chintella connected Discover! to many schools and children service, which led Discover! being a host to 700 students
  • Our anticipated six month pilot extended to eleven months
  • Paid attendance was 15,500, which was triple our expectation

There were also some things that we learned through operating the pilot project.

  • We understand how to design the space, where children and parents feel safe and comfortable
  • We know the most efficient ways to operate a safe and healthy facility
  • We found that the community is a part of our team.  As they demonstrated by helping us with renovations, exhibit construction, volunteering hours throughout operation, as well as participating in the breakdown and clean up of the pilot.
  • All of the data collected supported our feasibility study
  • Our mission of “Education First” was validated
  • Location really matters, since 35% of visits were serendipitous

So where do we go from here.  Check that out on our next blog!  What’s the Next Step?

 

Our Last Day at Discover! Pilot Children’s Museum

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One of our friendly visitors

We started Discover! Children’s Museum Pilot project, which was set to open at the beginning of February 2013 and close in July.  The purpose was to see how a small scale Children’s Museum would do in our community.  Operations went so well, that Discover! was able to stay open till the end of October… and then the end of December.  December became the final month, when enough data was collected to move onto the next leg of our project.  So on the last day we decided that it was a day to rejoice, invite everyone with no admission charge, and have a party!  Closing day was full of fun and celebration.  We were fortunate enough to have more than two hundred visitors, and many of whom were visiting for the first time.  We even had a tortoise visit us as well!

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The place is hopping

Even though many were a little sad to see us go, it was still fun.   Every exhibit was busy with little feet and little hands exploring the possibilities, which is exactly why our group wanted to open a museum for children in the first place.

Parents, grandparents, Aunts and Uncles followed their kiddos from place to place, and many joined in the fun.  Watching them laugh and work together as they built, created, and encouraged one another made us realize that yet another one of our goals had been met.  To see families come together, learn, and grow.  One family created this masterpiece!

One visiting family created this farewell message on Raygen's Amazing Heart exhibit.
One visiting family created this farewell message on Raygen’s Amazing Heart exhibit.

When it was closing time, our crew had a little bit more time to reflect and celebrate the success of Discover! Pilot Children’s Museum.  Lots of fun stories were shared, as well as goals reached, and visions of what we knew we could see in our future!   We are so excited to serve your families for years to come!