New math exhibit already a hit at DuPage Children's Museum

 
By Cassie Buchman
cbuchman@dailyherald.com
Updated 6/11/2016 4:52 PM
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  • Sidney Rozalowsky of Naperville gets some help Friday from her grandmother, Linda Strome, as they check out Follow the Leader, part of a new exhibit called Math+Motion at the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville.

      Sidney Rozalowsky of Naperville gets some help Friday from her grandmother, Linda Strome, as they check out Follow the Leader, part of a new exhibit called Math+Motion at the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Emily Prothe, 3, of Wheaton, tries out a balance scale at the new Math+Motion exhibit at the DuPage Children's Museum.

      Emily Prothe, 3, of Wheaton, tries out a balance scale at the new Math+Motion exhibit at the DuPage Children's Museum. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Landon Rozalowsky, 5, checks out a new exhibit called Math+Motion at the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville.

      Landon Rozalowsky, 5, checks out a new exhibit called Math+Motion at the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

It had only been open for an hour Friday morning, but children already were flocking to the DuPage Children's Museum's newest exhibit, Math+Motion.

The rotating exhibit, which is making its premiere at the Naperville-based museum, is part of the InterAct with ART gallery, drawing inspiration from works of art by connecting them with math concepts.

Although people sometimes think math is strictly analytical, it often overlaps areas such as music and art, senior public programs manager Katie Edinger says.

"People think math, oh, it's two plus two is four, but math is so much more," she said. "It really is the underlying factor in everything we do."

The new exhibit includes some familiar features at the museum, including pin screens where youngsters can press objects and themselves to screens to explore the concepts of positive and negative space.

Kids also can explore math as a full-body experience in the Music Theater, where they can dance and play instruments on a stage. Next to the stage is a camera that lets the children see themselves in different music videos featuring different shapes and figures.

Other activities include putting together puzzles, playing with pattern blocks and looking at paintings by M.C. Escher, Faith Ringgold and others who use shapes and patterns in their art.

"Kids are so in tune with shapes and patterns that it's something they naturally see, so they know the shapes of buildings and signs," Edinger said. "We wanted to bring that in here."

Each child has a different focus when coming to the museum. Some rush to the science sections while others go to more art-centered places, often without realizing many of the areas are interdisciplinary.

"It can introduce you to something you might not go to as your first instinct," Edinger said.

The museum on Washington Street near Naperville's train station reopened last year after undergoing a major makeover in the wake of serious flooding caused by broken water pipes.

Museum officials say the revamped facility has been totally re-imagined, but the new exhibit still retains some favorite items from the past.

"A lot of oldies are back," said Kandy Black, a public programs facilitator at the museum. "We didn't have pin screens for a while, so it's good see these things come back and see how they're being played with."

"It's really great to see how kids come in and have been receiving the new museum," Edinger said. "Things that were their favorites before have been expanded upon and kids have developed new favorites. We've really spent a lot of time on developing our new art studio space and so we've been getting lots of positive feedback on that."

The anticipation for the Math+Motion exhibit has been high since construction began, with children eagerly tracking its progress through a half-barrier.

"We joke it could be it's own exhibit, just watching the exhibit being constructed," Edinger says. "Having something new open energizes visitors and us."

Linda Strome and her grandchildren from Naperville were among the first people to see Math+Motion.

After coming to the museum the previous day, Strome's grandchildren saw the exhibit was opening and wanted to return first thing Friday morning.

"They've already explored pretty much everything," Strome said, as she watched her grandchildren put their face, backs and stomachs on the pin screens. "They know their favorite things. When they come in, they tell me where they're going."

Visiting from Canada, Strome did not know what to expect when coming to the museum for the first time.

"Where I live, a museum is something that displays historical items," she said.

That's why Strome said she was pleasantly surprised to find the Naperville museum was a place where the children could touch, play with and feel the different objects.

"It's really nice to see how they change the exhibits," she said. "I don't come often, (but) when I do come, there's always something different."

Officials said the museum will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year with the opening of its AWEsome Water exhibit.

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