Interesting read from SmithsonianMag on their approach to make the museum more accessible to very young visitors.
Wonderplace is a “launching pad,” Smith explained, where the youngest museum visitors can get acquainted with some of the museum’s artifacts. The kitchen, for example, is inspired by Julia Child’s home kitchen, which the chef donated to the Smithsonian in 2001. Miniature pots and pans hang from a pegboard, just as Child had hers. Directly above that, there is a photograph of the celebrity cook at work. The subtle touch has a not-so-subtle effect, linking the pretend world these counters and cabinets create with a historical reality.
In much the same way, the construction area with bins of blocks is decorated with black-and-white images of buildings from various times in American history: a sod house, an adobe structure, a log cabin, a brick row house, a skyscraper and a trailer home.
“By adding the actual collection objects, it is not just a play space, it is actually an exhibition,” Smith told me.
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