The Prop Shop Opens at Kaleideum Downtown
Photo courtesy of Kaleideum
Kaleideum Downtown recently unveiled The Prop Shop, a theater-themed exhibit and makerspace. The exhibit, which opened April 8, is the first “makerspace” for Kaleideum, the recently merged Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem and SciWorks. Within this space, visitors can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials. The exhibit and its related programming will support learner-driven experiences that engage children, families and school groups in processes that integrate experimentation and creativity.
“We have created a welcoming space for children of all ages and backgrounds that encourages creative, constructive play through inquiry and open-ended problem-solving,” says Elizabeth Dampier, executive director — museum. “Projects are accessible for those who are exploring a space such as this for the first time, as well as more advanced offerings for those who are not new to the maker world.”
The Prop Shop features a 1,000 square-foot space set in the “backstage” of a theater. Real tools and materials are available for visitors to design and create their own puppets, costumes, set pieces and props. Within the exhibit, the programming facilitated by the Prop Shop manager and teaching artists will focus on children ages 4-12 and their caregivers; however, the space will also include a theater-themed toddler area with a small slide and interactives that offer developmentally appropriate experimentation and opportunities for dramatic play.
A Space for All Ages
“The activities to engage younger children give the older family members time to create,” Dampier says. “Some of the other exciting exhibit components include a functional animatronic chameleon, sculpting stations and an interactive loft exploring lighting elements.
“With the opening of The Prop Shop, Kaleideum is offering a new, transformative space,” Dampier continues. “It is filled with multi-faceted, open-ended experiences that allow children to test theories, seek answers to questions, think critically, persevere and explore at their own pace — all while building and strengthening skills for their future success.”
While the new exhibit has only been open for a short time, museum staff say that it’s already a huge hit with guests. “There has been a lot of great feedback,” says Becca Drew Ramsey, the Prop Shop manager. “I’m seeing a lot of really incredible creative planning and thinking.”
The project was made possible in part by a $150,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In addition, The Prop Shop received funding from the Cannon Foundation, the Corning Foundation, and the John and Anna Hanes Foundation.
For more information, visit kaleideum.org.