Our message here is that play helps children develop their minds, and apparently the message is getting through. Recently a Mom asked her son what he was building at the magnate table. Dad answered, “His brain” He gets it.
Sunday was an extraordinary experience at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Thanks to the generosity of Amway and Fifth Third, 2,429 adults and children visited the museum for free!
That number may not be the highest number in one day ever at the museum ( staff member recalls a 2,600 day), but that would have been an eight or twelve hour day. Yesterday we were open for five hours. There were lines out in the cold from 45 minutes before opening to after 4:00. Some waited an hour in the cold. That means we operated at our 600 person fire code capacity until just before closing.
Rather than try to describe the entire day, here are a few lasting impressions:
Staff – every time I saw one of them, either they were smiling or they were making someone else smile.
Complaints – none
Funny moment – I talked to two little girls, twins, who looked about four years old. As they waited in line I asked them several questions. They answered each one in perfect unrehearsed unison.
Thank you’s – In spite of the crowded conditions, nearly everyone said thank you as they left, along with multiple comments about how much fun they had.
There were a lot of first time visitors to our museum, and a lot of families taking in at least one other museum downtown during the day.
To Amway and Fifth Third, those 2,429 thank you’s, go to you.
-Bob Dean, Executive Director, GRCM.
Every once in a while, the staff at the GRCM will hold an “Emergency Play Drill” for any guests who happen to be visiting at that time. Today appealed to my ego, at least for a moment or two. The staff printed off 30 some copies of a recent picture of me, then hid them throughout the museum. They announced to the guests that if anyone found a picture of “Bob” and turned it into the front desk, they would get a prize, a small bottle of bubbles. They soon figured it out and many went scurrying around to find my pictures hiding in the farm, on the mirrors or in the Cafe. As I stood near the front desk to thank the kids who found me, I saw a little two year old girl who had found my picture and had given it a kiss. A very touching moment, until the staff explained that she could get a prize in exchange for the picture. She wasted no time thinking. She threw my picture to the floor, stepped on it and eagerly accepted the little bottle of bubbles. Kids are wonderful at keeping one humble.
Post written by Bob Dean, Executive Director at the GRCM.
Through the Eyes of a Youngster
While standing in front of the distorted mirror that makes one look… well… short and wide, we overheard a young person say, “Hey, we look just like Grandma!”
Playing Without Seeing
Many parents and children enjoyed participating in a multidimensional “visual art meets music” workshop with husband and wife duo, Ed and Adriana Mallett in a recent GRCM program. The Malletts conducted three workshops in which Adriana guided children through the creation of several visual art pieces, while listening and responding to live music performed by Ed. It was a wonderfully creative and holistic arts experience for children (and grown-ups!) of all ages.
Perhaps, however, one of the most appreciative visitors did not want to create her own works of art, she just wanted to explore the musical instruments themselves. A GRCM staff member noticed a 9 year old visually impaired girl hanging out near the workshop listening to the music. Her mom indicated that she has had a long time interest in music and is very musically gifted, but doesn’t often have the opportunity to explore “real” instruments. Between two of Ed and Adriana’s workshops, the staff member asked if the girl could come in and feel the various instruments. Ed spent the next half hour with the little girl showing her each of the instruments, showing her how to play them and making music with her. This was a truly unique opportunity for the family and the heartfelt impact of this impromptu music lesson was revealed in twin smiles shared by mother and daughter.
A Grandmother was just observed in our Happy Animal Clinic, where kids pretend to be veterinarians. She was wearing one of our turtle costumes. She was crouched down on her hands and knees and, was telling her two grandchildren about her turtle symptoms, while they checked her over with stethoscopes and ultrasound.