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Sugar House Journal

Interactive Exhibits Enable Learning for All Ages

Aug 14, 2015 11h19 ● By Bryan Scott


By Rachel Hall

Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum  is in the planning stages of sprucing up and improving its interactive learning exhibits under the direction of Laurie Hopkins, who was appointed as the executive director and chief executive officer of the museum.

“We’re looking at early childhood education and this is a place where we can make a difference in a child’s life early on. We think that the exhibits are a starting point of that,” Hopkins said.

Discovery Gateway, which will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2017, is a destination for caregivers and children to learn together through interactive and imaginative play. A focus on arts in addition to science allows for creativity and higher level thinking through hands-on learning and real world application.

“It’s a family experience to come through the door. It’s a fun, fun way to spend a day with your children,” Hopkins said.

The seven main areas in the museum include multiple interactive exhibits within each area. A patron may spend the day going from exhibit to exhibit and participating in activities such as making a dream catcher or building a volcano. Concerts and classes are open to guests and explore a variety of topics with learning and fun in mind.

Area businesses, such as Intermountain Healthcare, partner with the museum on exhibits that highlight potential careers that serve the community.

“We’re trying to teach kids about the process of care giving,” Hopkins said about the popular Life Flight exhibit with a full-sized helicopter that children can pretend to fly while transporting a patient to the emergency room exhibit.

Hopkins hopes to spruce up the bigger, aging exhibits in the short term and also add additional exhibits over the next several years. The museum, in her opinion, is an asset for learning to the community, and the support it receives from the board of directors and other partnerships has helped enable success thus far. 

“We’ll need all of the community and the public that we serve to understand what we’re doing and that those who can support us to step forward and support us, because it’s an expensive endeavor,” Hopkins said about the planned improvements.