CHARLOTTESVILLE — Explore, imagine, and discover more this Saturday as the Virginia Discovery Museum hosts its grand reopening on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall after a month-long renovation. The children’s museum will unveil an updated look and six new exhibits — including a STEM Lab, Literacy Lounge, Construction Zone, Creation Station art studio, Sensory Studio, and Sound & Music Studio — to the public from 12 to 5 p.m.
Funded by a grant from the Building Goodness Foundation and spearheaded by Jack Horn and Arthur Rogers, of Martin Horn, Inc., the facelift included new floors and ceilings, lighting, and paint in the museum’s front gallery, program and party room, and back gallery activity room. In conjunction with the Building Goodness grant, the museum ran a capital improvement campaign to fund six new exhibits designed to foster the skills children need to be ready for elementary school.
“We are thrilled to have the support of the Charlottesville-Albemarle community in re-launching the Virginia Discovery Museum,” interim Executive Director, Janine Dozier said . “Our partnership with the Building Goodness Foundation and the generosity of local individuals, corporations and foundations has brought new vitality to a treasured cultural resource.”
In VDM’s STEM Lab, visitors will have the opportunity to explore many principles of physics. Investigate friction and motion as you build and race cars down a multi-surface ramp, test your understanding of cause-and-effect and gravity as you manipulate gears and simple machines on the Magnetic Wall, and examine the power of air in the Flight Lab wind tunnel.
There’s plenty of opportunity to stretch your imagination as well. Get lost in a good book in the quiet and cozy Literacy Lounge; build towers, forts, and more with KEVA Planks and giant Imagination Playground blocks in the Construction Zone; and share your creativity with others in the Creation Station.
A hands-on Sensory Studio designated for visitors with children ages birth to 2 and special needs guests provides a world of discovery for the museum’s youngest visitors. Featuring a crawling and climbing structure for new movers, mirror wall, light table, and other manipulative stations, this safe space offers opportunities for tactile and visual stimulation.
Don’t forget to check out VDM’s new Sound & Music Studio in the back gallery. Explore how sound moves and behaves with the Standing Wave Tube, imagine your own songs and record them at the iPad station, and discover new instruments and make music in the instrument gallery.
The museum will resume its regular business hours, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, starting May 16. Visit vadm.org for more information about daily visits, programs, birthday parties, and memberships.