Children’s Museum Of Houston Unveils First Of Seven Exhibits Made Possible By $35 Million Capital Campaign
The Children’s Museum of Houston, 1500 Binz, has opened the first of seven new permanent exhibits, part of the museum’s $35 million expansion. FlowWorks is located in the newly expanded Allen Family Courtyard, and features 4,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space with more than 30 hands-on activities. FlowWorks explores the forces and properties of water through currents, vortices and rapids.
“FlowWorks is a visitor-driven experience of experimentation and exploration dependent upon how you, as the visitor, engage in the activities with other visitors” said Keith Ostfeld, director of exhibit development at CMH. “It’s a totally unique entity where you have the potential to have a different experience every time you visit.”
Water’s physical properties come to life as a variety of natural phenomena. Dip your hands in and watch how whirlpools and rapids stir up. Harness water’s power through lock systems, boat building and dams and examine methods to store, release and manipulate water’s energy.
From the big splash when a large cauldron empties into a reservoir 18 feet below to the free-standing exhibit pieces, FlowWorks provides children with hands-on opportunities which focus on the concepts of energy transformation through the medium of water. They examine how water’s power and pressure is controlled and the force it exerts. The activities are constructed so children do not have to enter the water except with their hands or tools.
“Many of the physics principles relating to fluid dynamics are difficult concepts for children to understand because of its abstract nature,” said Ostfeld. “In fact, many adults dedicate their lives to the study of it. But, underlying the complexity is an inherent, fascinating beauty. By using water as a medium for children to explore the concepts, they become researchers in their own right, studying the major governing principles and getting to glimpse the awe-inspiring complexity of the movement of fluids.”
Dams, paddle wheels and such, connect to the flowing water system and are each influenced by manipulating certain variables like pressure, volume, and shape.
“Few other museums have tried to tackle so many different aspects of water’s properties and uses in one single exhibit, let alone through some of the very dramatic interactives,” said Ostfeld. “We’ve managed to pour it all into one exhibit.”
Admission is $5 per person and $4 for seniors 65 years and older. Children under two and Museum Members receive free admission. Free Family Nights are offered Thursdays from 5- 8 p.m. courtesy of The Wortham Foundation, Inc. and Kathrine McGovern and the late John P. McGovern, M.D.
Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. -8 p.m. and Sunday from Noon to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.cmhouston.org or call 713-522-1138.