Oaklawn Foundation Awards Mid-America Science Museum $400,000 Grant for New Exhibit
Hot Springs, AR. (October 27, 2017) – The Oaklawn Foundation has awarded Mid-America Science Museum $400,000 to create a unique permanent outdoor exhibition. Entitled the Oaklawn Foundation DinoTrek, this new exhibition will consist of 18 life-like dinosaur replicas strategically placed at the front walkways of the museum grounds and along the nature trails located in the wooded acres behind the museum. Some of the dinosaurs will be life-sized, others will be scale models, but all of them will be realistic and accurate depictions of the ancient animals.
“Dinosaurs are coming back to Mid-America and this time they are here to stay,” said Niles Ellis, director of exhibition and design at Mid-America Science Museum.
Accessible via nearly 2,000 linear feet of concrete-paved pathways throughout the museum grounds, the Oaklawn Foundation DinoTrek will be comprised of two segments. The first and smaller portion will be located off the parking lot in the “front yard” of the museum and will display two dinosaurs, enticing visitors to explore further. The second and more extensive portion of the exhibition will be located along a pathway in the woods behind the museum, adjacent to the Bob Wheeler Science Skywalk. This trail will consist of two connected loops that reach into the wooded landscape behind the museum. Together, both loops will display 18 dinosaurs hiding in the woods, including a 16-foot Brachiosaurus, a 20-foot Pteranodon, and a menacing, walking T-Rex.
The area around each dinosaur will be decorated and landscaped with rocks, ferns, Spanish moss and other plant materials to create a natural-looking vignette. Audio speakers will be located near each dinosaur so visitors will not only see the specimens, but hear how these animals might have sounded when they roamed the Earth. Once inside the museum, guests will receive a paper Trail Map to guide them to the woods behind the building, where the second and most impressive portion of the exhibition will reside.
“The Oaklawn Foundation DinoTrek will provide the opportunity for our guests to explore botany, biology, geology, ecology and natural history, which are subjects that are not currently covered in the interior exhibitions,” said Diane LaFollette, executive director at Mid-America Science Museum. “Our visitors have always loved the temporary dinosaur exhibitions we’ve had in the past. Now we are thrilled to have them on display permanently and we are grateful to the Oaklawn Foundation for their generous grant that will make this happen. We anticipate it will become a major attraction for the museum and the Hot Springs community.”
Education staff are planning to extend the learning opportunities by incorporating the exhibition and its content in summer camps, after school programs, school group visits and in other educational programming. The museum is expanding existing teacher professional development workshops and plans to use this exhibition as a powerful tool for inspiring innovative ways to teach science. In addition, Mid-America Science Museum will be working with students from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts to develop an “app” to engage more tech-savvy visitors and to provide videos, sound effects, additional content, the most up-to-date information as it becomes available and promote additional educational activities as they are developed.
A grand opening of the Oaklawn Foundation DinoTrek is planned for Memorial Day Weekend 2018 at Mid-America Science Museum. Watch the museum’s website and Facebook page for upcoming announcements, progress reports and events surrounding the installation of the new exhibition.
For more information on exhibits and special events happening at Mid-America Science Museum visit midamericamuseum.org or call 501-767-3461.
####3 November 2017 3:05 pm