Atmosphere

Will Work for Play

Meet the designers behind the Children's Museum exhibits.

November 2010

Only a handful of children’s museums in the country design their own exhibits, but the five-person crew in charge of the Denver Children’s Museum’s interactive exhibits does that—and more. “We’re not just designers,” says JJ Rivera, the senior manager of exhibit design. “We’re fabricators as well. We get to take the exhibits from initial concept all the way to putting it out on the floor for the public.” Rivera and his team tackle oft-dreaded subjects, like math and science, through play. To wit: The “Bubbles” exhibit, which opened in May, features six stations, including a child-size bubble maker where kids—decked out in official lab coats and goggles—step inside a three-and-a-half-foot frame to raise a four-sided wall of bubbles around them. The secret to the exhibit’s success? Kids dash around the space, blowing—and popping—bubbles while also learning about evaporation and water vapor. The design team’s next project is “Airplay,” a prototype exhibit about flying, slated to open in summer 2011. The group is already hard at play (er, work) devising rockets, floating objects, and Dixie cup fliers.