The Arkansas Museum of Discovery (www.museumofdiscovery.org) was established as the Museum of Natural History and Antiquities in 1927 and has since expanded its exhibits, collected thousands of artifacts, changed locations, and become accredited twice by the American Association of Museums to become the Little Rock landmark it is now. Since its name was changed to the Museum of Discovery in 1998, the museum has had a greater focus on science, technology, engineering, and math, leading to an incredible number of new opportunities to teach students of all ages about these scientific areas.
In keeping with its name, one of the biggest parts of the museum is the Discovery Hall where visitors can find answers to major questions about our world. With an emphasis on mathematical applications, the Discovery Hall focuses on the ideas of quantities, shapes, space, and patterns we observe every day and helps us gain a better understanding about how the world works.
It’s not all about just looking outward, though. The Museum of Discovery’s “Amazing You” exhibit looks inward and hones in on how our bodies function. This exhibit shows us how moving around and eating well are the keys to staying healthy. From there, we are able to have the energy to perform various activities, understand how much brainpower we need to perform others, and overall, keep ourselves active and happy.
One of the most popular interactive exhibits is “Earth Journeys,” an Arkansas favorite that showcases the special features that make this state unique. Arkansas is known for its extreme weather, a problem that continues to develop with the changing climate. In “Tornado Alley Theater,” visitors can see this for themselves with a high-definition experience involving the sights and sounds of a tornado ripping across the town.
The Museum of Discovery also features the Window of Wonder Gallery (“WOW Gallery”) that houses traveling exhibits that cover a wide range of topics. Right now, until September 22, they are hosting “How People Make Things” which explores how a huge number of seemingly random objects are created, from Crayola crayons to traffic lights!
Other exhibits include places that are specifically tailored to the ages and interests of the Museum of Discovery’s young visitors. “Room to Grow” is geared toward young children under 6 to explore activities to expand their creativity and imagination, while the “Tinkering Studio” lets others have fun learning basic and advanced building techniques. Of course, no science center is complete without a theater showcasing some of the most fascinating science topics at hand.
That’s not to say that there’s nothing here for adults – the monthly “Science After Dark” event provides grown-up visitors with the opportunity to learn about a particular science topic in a unique and entertaining setting.
Overall, Little Rock, Arkansas might not be so little; the Arkansas Museum of Discovery has a big range of fascinating exhibits to draw in visitors.