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New Children's Museum Exhibit Reveals The Power Of Wind

Imagine Air rendering
Children's Discovery Museum
Here's what the new Imagine Air exhibit will look like at the Children's Discovery Museum.

Kids will learn about the power of wind through a new exhibit at the Children’s Discovery Museum.

The second-floor Imagine Air exhibit, set to open Nov. 23, will be the museum’s first new permanent exhibit in about four years, said Beth Whisman, executive director of the museum and the Town of Normal’s Cultural Arts Department. (The traveling Hello from Japan exhibit in 2016 was temporary.)

Imagine Air will introduce kids to concepts related to wind energy, aerodynamics, and fluid dynamics—a good fit, Whisman said, for a community surrounded by wind farms. The hands-on exhibit will have a wind-turbine building station, a sink-or-float experience, a “force wall” with an air cannon, and an altered version of the existing air maze, among other features.

“It’s this force. It’s this thing that’s happening in nature that you can’t see but you can see the outcome of its work,” Whisman said. “It will help (kids) understand the world around them. That’s what a children’s museum is all about.”

The bulk of Imagine Air’s $127,000 price tag is being funded by a long-delayed state grant. The rest is covered by EDP Renewables and private donors to the museum.

Increasing Access

The Uptown Normal destination is also launching new ways to increase access for lower-income families or those who don’t otherwise want to pay full admission or buy an annual pass.

Bloomington Public Library patrons can now check out a CDM family pass, similar to the pass already available via the Normal Public Library. (One caveat: There’s a waiting list.)

And the museum will soon launch a discounted admission program for low-income families who are part of a nutrition assistance program. Once registered, that person will get $3 admission (instead of $7) for themselves and up to six guests. It’s part of a national movement backed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) called Museums for All.

“We just want to make sure that kids who don’t have access get access,” Whisman said.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.