Arkansas Museum of Discovery

For the last 80 years, the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock (MOD) has served central Arkansas as a combination natural history, cultural history, and science museum. Recently, the staff and Board of Trustees decided to re-invent the Museum of Discovery as an interactive museum focusing on science, technology, and math. MOD came to the Science Museum of Minnesota to develop an exhibit master plan that could both serve as a guide for the future and help MOD prepare capital funding plans. Over the course of four months, the Science Museum worked closely with MOD staff and Board members to fashion a thoughtful and practical plan that builds on MOD's strengths, while also drawing on the treasure trove of great interactive experiences that already exist in the science museum field to seed the renovated museum.

The Science Museum worked with MOD to implement this exhibit plan to design, develop, produce, acquire, and integrate 13,900 square feet of hands-on interactive exhibits. The Science Museum worked with other science centers and exhibit fabricators around the country to replicate proven, successful interactives and to integrate them with newly developed components. In three expanded gallery spaces, visitors are now able to explore the physical sciences, discover how the human body works and how choices we make every day affect our health, and see how global forces make Arkansas unique. The renovated Museum of Discovery opened in January 2012, establishing MOD as the premier center for informal science education in Arkansas. 

BACK TO PROJECT HISTORY

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Magic Iron Dust Lobby Art
Magic Iron Dust Lobby Art
Magnetism and music mix together in wonderful combinations as museum visitors manipulate Dancing Iron Dust. Iron filings on the tray take on different shapes as magnetic fields on the tray are altered.

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Whoosh Air Tubes
Whoosh Air Tubes
Pressurized air has never been as much fun as it is in Whoosh. Museum visitors place scarfs and foam balls into portals at the bottom of the network and then watch the moving air carry them up, up and away.

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Sneezer Doors
Sneezer Doors
Achoo!!! There’s a sneeze lurking behind the face on that door, but museum visitors don’t seem to be too afraid to find out what makes up a good sneeze.

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See Your Skin
See Your Skin
Get ready for a super extreme close up. Place the camera right against your skin and see how bumpy and textured that smooth skin of yours really is.

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Teeth Up Close
Teeth Up Close
Your dentist isn’t making up those horror stories about poor brushing. Use the video microscope to zoom in on some really nasty teeth and see what damage can occur if you don’t take good care of your choppers.

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Bloodstream Superhighway
Bloodstream Superhighway
Take a trip on the Bloodstream Superhighway. Watch and learn as the “heart” pumps blood through a super-sized network of blood vessels around the gallery. Touch the artery tube to feel the “pulse” of the flowing fluids.

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Tessellation Tiles
Tessellation Tiles
Math has never been more colorful. Using geometric tiles and mirrors, museum visitors can explore the intricacies and beauty of tessellations.

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Design a Wind Turbine
Design a Wind Turbine
There’s science, and electricity, blowing in the wind. Using detachable blades, museum visitors can experiment to make a wind turbine that generates the greatest amount of electricity.

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Harmonograph
Harmonograph
Art and science intersect at the harmonograph. Museum visitors can adjust the speed and length of the two pendulums to create colorful patterns on paper.

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Tornado Theater
Tornado Theater
It looks like anybody’s basement workshop area, but press the start button and the storm cranks up energy and puts you in the middle of the 1999 Little Rock tornadoes.

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Tornado Theater Interior
Tornado Theater Interior
It looks like anybody’s basement workshop area, but press the start button and the storm cranks up energy and puts you in the middle of the 1999 Little Rock tornadoes.

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Weather Channel
Weather Channel
Welcome to the Weather Channel. Sit at the anchor desk, read the script on the teleprompter, and see yourself in front of a weather map while you give today’s weather forecast along with a little explanation of climate change.

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Life in a Drop
Life in a Drop
There are lots of little organisms living in what appears to be clear drop of water. Use a video microscope to explore little creatures that we can’t see with our regular vision.

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Migration Marble Maze
Migration Marble Maze
It’s not easy being a migratory bird. Maneuver a marble—the bird—through the maze of natural and man-made dangers to see if you can get to your final roosting place.
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