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Posted on April 16, 2019 at 10:13 AM by Wendy Long
Normal, IL – After years of healthy maintenance and almost 2 million visitors, the
Children’s Discovery Museum has announced it is time to replace its popular Kid’s Medical Center exhibit.
“Our medical exhibit debuted when we first opened our doors in Uptown Normal 15 years ago,” said Beth Whisman, Executive Director of the Children’s Discovery Museum and the Town of Normal Cultural Arts Department.
Thanks to a lead gift from OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center and OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois, along with multiple individual donations, the Children’s Discovery Museum Foundation has secured more than 60 percent of the funds needed to build the new exhibit. As this year’s Doctors in Concert museum fundraiser began tonight, Whisman joined Michael A. Wells, Vice President of OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois and Children’s Service Line, to announce the health care Ministry’s role in the project.
“We are grateful that Doctors in Concert has supported different upgrades and repairs over the years. It has truly extended the life of this centerpiece exhibit and it has given us time to develop new plans. Thanks to OSF HealthCare, we have a strong start as we develop new ways to engage visitors with fun and learning,” Whisman said.
Wells pointed out the exhibit’s working title of “Healthy Me!” sends an important message about health care and community wellness. “We know that wellness and health are dynamic, and that good habits for prevention and personal care can be established at a very young age,” Wells said. “We also believe in the power of play. Hands-on experiences in the future medical exhibit will teach children about their bodies, introduce them to career options, and offer critical thinking skills for an engaged, healthy future.”
Concept sketches of “Healthy Me!” show the 1,000 square foot exhibit will be located on the first floor of the museum with two gallery spaces that explore personal and community wellness. The future installation’s plans are still in the works, but early details include an ambulance, a health clinic, and a hospital setting.
Components will also introduce different areas of medicine, explore innovations in technology, and offer a role-playing environment.
“Play can help alleviate fears and anxieties about seeing a doctor or going to the dentist,” Whisman shared. “We are going to work with local healthcare professionals as we plan the final details to make sure that a child’s experience in the museum is relevant to their experience in the real world. The power of play takes on a critical role as we help children establish a lifelong expectation for access to health care and self-advocacy with their caregivers.”
The Children’s Discovery Museum Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports the mission and vision of the Children’s Discovery Museum through raising funds and awareness in the community. The Foundation’s fundraising goal to build the exhibit is $350,000 with an anticipated completion date of Summer 2020.