Many people are surprised when they do not see another story of books in the space underneath the Davis Library. Instead they see KID Museum, a hands-on children’s museum with interactive exhibits and activities for children of all ages.
Although the museum is set up in the same building as the library, the two are not connected. KID Museum was founded by Montgomery County parents Cara Lesser, Jill Chessen, and David Goldberg. MoCo donated the space at Davis Library to the museum, and the KID Museum at Davis Library was born.
For the last three months, KID Museum has been set up in this space as a place for children to participate in a new kind of learning. With a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning, KID Museum also looks to foster cultural understanding, social responsibility, and creative, logical thinking.
The museum offers drop-in visits for a fee of eight dollars, where kids can stop by and participate in the open exhibits. Field trips and birthday parties are also offered for kids to experience the museum as a group. Memberships are also available, which boast discounts and access to special events.
The KID museum’s trained staff supervises the kids as they use the “exhibits”—the available hands-on activities and work spaces. The museum focuses very little on theoretical knowledge, and instead lets the kids investigate their own ideas and experience the concepts for themselves. “You just have to give them a little bit of what goes on and they grab it!” exclaims Cintia Santos, an employee at the museum. “They like having their independence and they like doing things by themselves, so that’s what we enforce here — that creativity, that logical thinking, doing it themselves.”
From the wood shop to the wind tubes, children are encouraged to play around with the tools and materials to achieve a goal. Merrie Gramlich, a Montgomery County parent, thinks that this is one of the real benefits of KID Museum. She says, “I love that the museum offers hands-on creative kid-driven opportunities for elementary and middle school age targeted kids…I think it is just what our community is hoping for and fits the bill superbly! “
Along with the STEM activities, there are exhibits that emphasize investigations into different cultures, like the current project about Guatemalan kites, which educates the kids about aerodynamics as well as Guatemalan culture. Santos says, “We also like to invite them to the cultural things, because it’s part of our country, our community, bringing different communities together and working together for the better.”
The KID museum also tries the integrate the community in a few different ways. One method is through their volunteer and service programs, where teens can help out at the museum for service learning hours. “I like that service learning and youth volunteers are an integral part of the concept as well as international exposure,” adds Mrs. Gramlich.
The museum also has workshops in Spanish, which provides an opportunity to expand the reach of the museum. Although KID Museum at Davis Library is the only museum currently in existence, the organization is looking to grow within Montgomery County, and create a permanent presence in the county.
“Explore the world, invent the future,” is the bold slogan of KID Museum, and it summarizes their goals and aspirations of the project well. The organization strives to foster important qualities and ideals in younger children that will empower future generations to think and problem-solve with resourcefulness, creativity, and integrity.
Article by the MoCo Student staff writer Daisy Grant of Richard Montgomery High School.