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Science Museum Oklahoma to build 21,000-square-foot children's exhibit

Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City has announced plans to create a 21,000-square-foot exhibit focusing on children ages 3-6 with funding from a $12 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.
by Silas Allen Modified: January 22, 2013 at 8:20 pm •  Published: January 22, 2013

Science Museum Oklahoma is getting a face-lift.

Museum officials are planning an expansion that will include a new children's hall, a new lobby and a new main entrance.

The expansion will be funded through a $12 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. Museum officials said they expect the project to be complete in 2015.

Don Otto, the museum's executive director, said the children's hall will be a museum within a museum — at 21,000 square feet, it will rival most free-standing children's museums in the country, he said.

The hall will be geared toward children ages 3-6, he said, but it will include activities that will interest older children, as well as their parents.

It will be designed as a community, where homes, businesses and other areas will show certain aspects of science, Otto said. That format creates an environment that would feel familiar to younger children but still would be unlike anything they've seen.

Museum officials are discussing what might be included in the community. The community will take some historical license with its figures, Otto said, bringing together scientists who lived centuries apart.

“So you may have Isaac Newton living next to Einstein,” he said.

The hall will feature one or two scientific figures in each of the areas. Those scientists would typify the scientific principles that are on display in those areas, either through their fields of study or how they went about their work, he said.

For example, inventor Thomas Edison could be included in the so-called tinkering gallery, Otto said. The gallery will be an area filled with building materials that children are encouraged to use to build structures or anything else they can imagine. Edison is a good fit for the gallery, Otto said, because it resembles the way he worked.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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