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Children's Discovery Museum To Replace Medical Exhibit

Preliminary sketch of new exhibit
Children's Discovery Museum
The “Healthy Me!” space be 1,000 square feet—twice the size of the current medical exhibit. ";s:3:

The Children’s Discovery Museum announced Saturday that it plans to replace its medical exhibit with a new, larger space that will help kids learn about access to health care and community wellness.

Fundraising is already underway for the $350,000 project. It’s expected to open in summer 2020.

The “Healthy Me!” space will be 1,000 square feet—twice the size of the current medical exhibit. Preliminary plans call for an ambulance, a health clinic, and a hospital setting, including a role-playing environment.

It will replace a 15-year-old exhibit that opened with museum’s Uptown Normal building.

“We want it to be relevant to what kids experience today,” said Beth Whisman, executive director of the Children’s Discovery Museum and the Town of Normal Cultural Arts Department. “Think about your medical experience. In the last 15 years, how much has it changed? How about the last three years? We want the new exhibit to better reflect the technology and the approach and community wellness aspects that aren’t addressed in the current exhibit.”

The museum on Saturday announced a lead gift from OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center and OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois. Together with other private donations, the project is already 62 percent funded, Whisman said. They’re now starting a public campaign to raise the rest.

“We know that wellness and health are dynamic, and that good habits for prevention and personal care can be established at a very young age,” Michael Wells, vice president of OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois and Children’s Service Line, said in a statement. “We also believe in the power of play. Hands-on experiences in the future medical exhibit will teach children about their bodies, introduce them to career options, and offer critical thinking skills for an engaged, healthy future.”

The project will be funded through private donations raised by the museum’s foundation. (The town funds the museum’s building and staff. The foundation pays for exhibits.)

The last exhibit to get a major makeover was Imagine Air on the second floor. It opened last fall.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.