This summer, visitors to the Terre Haute Children’s Museum will have the opportunity defy gravity as they navigate obstacles, "walk the plank," and then zoom down a zipline on a new, indoor Ropes Challenge Course, opening to the public in June 2018.
During a press conference on Tuesday, D.J. Wasmer, president of the Terre Haute Children’s Museum board of directors, announced a $550,000 fundraising campaign to add the indoor Ropes Challenge Course and to make enhancements to some of the Museum’s educational programming spaces. To date, the Museum has raised $437,000 towards this goal, with major gifts and pledges from the Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation, the Charles Morgan Carraway and Joanne M Carraway Charitable Foundation and Fitness Solutions, Inc.
Wasmer said that the decision to move forward with these projects came from research that they conducted with the Museum’s members and guests.
“In the fall of 2016, the Museum’s Board conducted research with an outside company to help us identify opportunities to improve our facility,” Wasmer said. “What we learned is that families love the Museum and appreciate the hands-on learning opportunities that we provide, but they really longed for more active exhibits and experiences that would engage their kids as they grow older. They want the Museum to grow with their families. The new ropes course and the enhancements to our programming spaces will allow us to do that.
“These additions are key elements of our on-going strategy to improve the visitor experience for a wider range of museum patrons,” Wasmer continued. “I’m grateful to our patrons for helping us shape this strategy, and I would like to thank the donors, staff and board members for working so hard to make this vision a reality.”
Lynn Hughes, executive director of the Museum, said that the two-level Ropes Challenge Course will be located “in the air” around the Museum’s popular tree house exhibit and will consist of more than 20 different elements, such as walking a rope bridge, balancing on a rolling log, and climbing across a horizontal net, before reaching the zipline. The lower level of the course will be approximately 10 feet off of the ground, and the upper level will have guests navigating approximately 20 feet up in the air.
Hughes says the ropes challenge course is a great way to give Museum guests an opportunity to see and experience the science that exists all around them and within them.
“The ropes course will obviously be a very exciting experience for our guests, but it also has so much science wrapped into it,” Hughes said. “For example, guests will get to explore potential and kinetic energy on the zipline, they’ll learn about the vestibular system as their bodies work to maintain balance, and they’ll earn about different muscle groups as they try to determine which muscles they need to strengthen to be more successful on the course. They’ll even learn a little bit about the science of fear and how their bodies react to being scared. This one exhibit will provide guests with a number of different science experiences.”
Chris Davies, owner of Fitness Solutions, Inc. and one of the major donors for the exhibit, will be working with the Museum to help develop some of the educational content and experiences that will be a part of the exhibit. He says he is looking forward to showing Museum guests how fun physical fitness and exercise can be.
“The simple joy of playing today is very different from what we remember as kids,” Davies said. “The new exhibit will offer children a very different, encouraging, and challenging experience. Fitness Solutions' involvement is to help cultivate an interest in exercise science and promote physical activity among patrons visiting the THCM.”
Keith Carter, who serves on the Charles Morgan Carraway and Joanne M Carraway Charitable Foundation Advisory Committee, says they are excited about working with the Museum to give kids such fun opportunities to learn about science.
“The Trustees of the Carraway Foundation are excited to support this exhibit expansion, and the museum as a whole, as they understand the importance of learning by doing,” Carter said.
Hughes said the Museum is currently scheduling meetings with potential donors to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the campaign. Those who would like more information on making a donation can contact Hughes at 812-235-5548 or email@example.com.
The Terre Haute Children’s Museum, located at the corner of 8th Street and Wabash Avenue in downtown Terre Haute, is a nonprofit institution dedicated to enriching our children’s lives through the exploration of science and technology. The Museum receives no city, state or federal funding, relying solely on visitor fees, gifts, donations, and grants to fund its world-class educational exhibits and programs.
For more information about the Terre Haute Children’s Museum, visit www.thchildrensmuseum.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 812 235-5548. More information about the Museum is also available online at facebook.com/terrehautechildrensmuseum, twitter.com/thcmuseum and pinterest.com/thcm.