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Beat the Heat July 4 at Science Museum Oklahoma with Four New Exhibits Featuring Toys, Color, The Science of the Midway and NASA

June 30, 2022

Science Museum Oklahoma (SMO) has four new exhibits waiting to greet guests wanting to escape the heat July 4! With two new art exhibits in the smART Space Galleries, an exhibit designed to help you beat the carnival midway and an opportunity to create art with NASA, there’s something for everyone.

A fact that surprises even native Oklahomans is that Science Museum Oklahoma is home to one of the largest art galleries in the state. The smART Space Galleries currently has two new exhibits designed to illustrate where art and science intersect.  “Prismatic” explores how color can sway opinion, communicate without words, and even affect the body. Visitors will enter a space of striking color — a place to explore how this amazing force affects the world and how it has served as a muse for both historical and contemporary artists.

Prismatic” includes works from Laurie Frick, Sarah Hearn and Jesse Woolston.

“Designing for Play”, created by Cas Holman, features her award-winning Rigamajig Collection. Guests enter a space filled with wheels, wooden planks, nuts, bolts and rope waiting to be utilized at the inventor’s discretion. Designed to spark imagination, collaboration and problem-solving skills through hands-on, experiential, and open-ended play, with Rigamajig there’s no set of instructions or pre-determined outcome. Guests of all ages are encouraged to use their imaginations and build whatever comes to mind.

The exhibit also provides a glimpse into Holman’s studio and process for design. Guests can take a look into how Holman got to Rigamajig and other play systems and how children can take it even further through their own creative play.

“We had an idea in smART Space to explore the world of toy design,” said Alyson Atchison, curator for SMO’s smART Space galleries. “Cas' approach to toy design is very unique and worth exploring on its own. She brings an artistic industrial design background and process to a STEAM-based product that aids children in creating through play.

“We are excited to present the largest Rigamajig installation to date,” said Atchison. “This has transformed smART Space into a maker space, and it is thrilling to watch our visitors create both abstract, conceptual designs and literal, utilitarian objects.”

Holman suggested using the exhibit as an opportunity to bring attention to contemporary BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color) toy designers and recommended Azhelle Wade, aka The Toy Coach, to curate this section.

“Azhelle brought with her a contagious level of passion for and experience with toys and the business of toys,” Atchison said. “She dove in with enthusiasm and presented us with a profound interpretation of this opportunity. While Cas was introducing us to her philosophy of designing for play, through Azhelle and the artists she brought with her, we see toy design that thrives, celebrates, makes memories, and honors history and inclusion.”

Step Right Up: The Science of the Midway is the newest addition to SMO’s main floor and brings out the child in everyone. Guests step into an immersive environment reminiscent of a carnival where they can learn the science they need to conquer the midway. “Step Right Up” features some of the midway’s most popular games such as the basketball toss, a driving game and a certain ball-rolling game as well as probability games such as flipping a coin. Guests can even try their hand at a mirror maze and pulling a tablecloth from underneath a fully set table. With the state fair in the months ahead, there’s plenty of time to practice skills and bring home the big prizes.

Guests can further stretch their creativity with the museum’s recently installed “Observing with NASA” kiosk. Observing with NASA offers an introduction to the tools, data, and skills that NASA space scientists and data visualization experts use to create the images of deep space objects.

Observing with NASA” features a range of NASA’s most iconic images to explore and opportunities for guest to put their own artistic spin on these images through image analysis and processing. Once they’ve completed their masterpiece, guests can email the image to themselves thus creating a permanent work of art and perfect memento of their visit to Science Museum Oklahoma.

Access to all galleries and activities mentioned are included with general admission. Science Museum Oklahoma will be open July 4 from 9am – 5pm.

For more information about Science Museum Oklahoma and the events mentioned, visit: https://www.smo.org

Science Museum Oklahoma is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Daily general admission is $18.95 for adults (ages 13 to 64) and $14.95 for children (ages 3 to 12) and seniors (65 and older). Annual memberships begin at $115.

About Science Museum Oklahoma
Science Museum Oklahoma is the only hands-on science museum in Oklahoma and, with more than 390,000 square feet, one of the largest science museums in the nation. With a mission of enriching lives by revealing the wonder and relevance of science, Science Museum Oklahoma demonstrates the relationship between the physical sciences and everyday experiences. The museum influences how Oklahomans learn about science through the medium of interactive exhibits, discovery-based activities, astronomy shows, Science Live demonstrations, educational outreach efforts and special events. The museum’s clear mission and firm focus on science literacy encourage families to develop and build upon a strong foundation in the sciences.