This week the staff has been gearing up to present new child-oriented exhibits within the Tamástslikt permanent exhibits. The Coyote Theater is popular with children. It’s meant to orient visitors to the theme of Spilyáy, the trickster hero of magica
l legend time. Its other messages might be the centrality of the traditional foods and the relationships of the 2-legged people with the natural world.
We’re aiming at future museum-goers who might now be 4 or 5 years old, the preliterate ones. Research shows that it is that group who become habitual museum-frequenters if they have gone to museums with their families. Apparently, school group visitations don’t count quite as much in the equation of creating a lifelong museum learner.
While we can never be as hands-on as we want to be, we will soon have some items strewn throughout the museum that young children can touch and handle. There will be a chalkboard for kids to interpret pictographs, a fur identifying station, and trunks with miniature toy items, albeit plexiglass-covered. The work is still in progress, so it’s not quite ready, but stay tuned for kid stuff.
The new child-oriented content was funded in part by a grant from the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department–in other words, those loser scratch-offs you bought were spent on a good cause, museum learning stations for kids.