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

Avary McKay, exhibit preparator

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.

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