Scaling the size of exhibits

strong-museum

The Strong Museum of Play is the very first Museum I have ever been to here in Rochester, New York. It caught my attention as soon as I drove by, with the brightly colored and extremely large blocks that make up the front of the building. They are impossible to miss. As I walked through the museum, it was clear to me that the exhibits were targeted towards much younger children. Although I was well out of the age group, I was belittled by the overly sized teddy bear sitting in the monstrous chair. The chair itself was so tall that you would have to climb up one leg and then pull yourself up and over the edge just to be able to sit in it. (However, I was unable to try because there was a sign that told you not to climb on the exhibit. Standing there looking up at the over scaled exhibit, the feelings of being a small human looking up in awe to everything around you (the infant and toddler years), all came back to me. The exhibit was right out in the open, surrounded by all these smaller sized toys and exhibits. This layout did not only make sure it was impossible to ignore, but also helped to emphasize the size of the exhibit.

On the other side of the spectrum, there was a Wegmans exhibit, which was all miniaturized to make the young children feel like adults and be able to go grocery shopping. They mimicked all the stations you would see in a regular grocery store, they just had a very very small selection. This exhibit especially caught my eye and mind. As you walk through the museum, all the sudden you see a brick wall, with a large illuminated “Wegmans” sign. This authentically matched the brick look that almost all Wegmans buildings are known for. Which peaks interest in itself because every other wall inside the museum is a normal interior wall, painted sheetrock. The inside of the mini store is painted yellow walls with very bright lights to draw in your attention further. Once inside you can see all the mini shelves, loaded with fake food, and as you look around all stations are shorter and smaller in scale. Thus making small children be on the same life scale as adults are in a real grocery store. This was especially unique to see because you get to watch children push carts up and down and pick out their food. Some kids were even asking their parents for advice, “Mom, what are we going to make for dinner?”, and “What foods do we need for the salad?”. My favorite part of the whole exhibit, was the large signs posted in big print on the walls, I saw these first as you can see in the picture, that they have a color contrast against the walls and draw your attention. Then the information on the signs teaches you a little bit about each type of food. Inherently teaching you and the kid’s good information about food choices.

Overall there were multiple reasons this exhibit was well designed. The authentic look of a grocery store chain inside of a brightly colored child’s museum grabs your attention right away. Upon approach the yellow interior walls and miniaturized set up bring in the children as they have a chance to “play” adult. Then the information is placed visibly on large signs that are relevant to the food below.

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One thought on “Scaling the size of exhibits

  1. The Strong Museum is great to visit no matter your age, although it certainly caters to kids. Pretend grocery stores were always one of my favorite aspects of a museum as a kid. The smaller size really makes it more immersive when you’re a kid.

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