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Children’s Museum Slates Grand Reopening

The iconic Jasper the T-Rex will be there for hte grand re-opening of the V.I. Children's Museum. (Photo provided by V.I. Children's Museum)
The iconic Jasper the T-Rex will be there for hte grand re-opening of the V.I. Children’s Museum. (Photo provided by V.I. Children’s Museum)

The Virgin Islands Children’s Museum is reborn and will cut the ribbon on its new permanent location Saturday, Oct. 27, its third home since opening in 2016.

The interactive museum’s exhibits prompt children to explore science and technology, geology, engineering, anatomy, aeronautics and more, while having fun.

Damage from last year’s storms forced the interactive museum to move out of its long-time home near Emancipation Garden and into a temporary location at the old Radio Shack in Buccaneer Mall. The museum as able to fully salvage and move five of its original 30 exhibits, including the iconic head of Jasper the T-Rex. The staff also created several new exhibits before reopening early this year.

But the space was not perfect. For a time they were unable to show films, as they had at the original location.

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The museum closed again Sept. 15 to finish building out the new museum at the former Hooter’s location, curator Sarah Erickson said.

“The entirety of the old restaurant had to be gutted. St Thomas Restaurant Group helped us remove the old equipment. We started in August. We have completely rebuilt the entire space from scratch,” Erickson said.

Children play around with the V.I. Children's Museum's augmented reality wall at the museum's temporary location after last year's storms. (Photo provided by V.I. Children's Museum)
Children play around with the V.I. Children’s Museum’s augmented reality wall at the museum’s temporary location after last year’s storms. (Photo provided by V.I. Children’s Museum)

The museum’s news release announcing the grand re-opening called the “augmented reality wall” an “extra fun” new exhibit. The wall is an interactive, wall-mounted video screen that visually demonstrated properties of flow, turbulence and lift.

Children and children-at-heart can play with the projection and make colorful patterns that are both striking and informative.

It is “very fun and very mathematically accurate,” Erickson said. “The Augmented Reality Wall is an amazing interactive projection based on the Reynold’s Number, where visitors interact with the projection and can change the flow on the wall.”

The Reynold’s Number is a crucial part of how calculating fluids of different viscosities will flow and when the flow will change from smooth and direct to turbulent and chaotic.

In its old home, the V.I. Children’s Museum hosted films entered in the Reef Renaissance Film Festival. The temporary location did not allow for that, but the new, 7,000 square-foot permanent home will allow those films again.

After the noon, Oct. 27 ribbon cutting, visitors will be treated to face painting and crafts with Paula Hodge, sing-alongs with Mary Christensen, and math presentations with University of the Virgin Islands associate professor of mathematics Adam Parr.

The new museum will have several new exhibits, including Rigamajig, a Giant Kaleidoscope, and an engaging “Thoughts Flow” water table by artist Tom Egan. In this hands-on exhibit, visitors will manipulate flowing water by creating patterns with short and long movable panels while imagining their next panel placement — literally being able to create millions of different flow patterns.

The museum will also introduce a recycling station where children will learn to code, design their own items, feed the information into a 3D printer and then create recycled models using plastics they sort and chip themselves.

“We are so happy to be in our new, permanent location,” said Executive Director Sarah Hughes. “We look forward to settling in and being able to grow and offer new programs and services to the community of the Virgin Islands. The accessibility in Havensight is fantastic, it is such a great location.”

“We would also like to thank all of our sponsors who have made this move possible and continue to support the mission of the VICM,” Hughes added in a statement.

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