The DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM) is bringing the scale, beauty and engineering of Greek and Mayan architecture to Naperville with the opening of its newest exhibit, Monumental, on Saturday, November 16. Located on the first floor of the Museum in the Creativity Connections Neighborhood, the exhibit will remain at the Museum for more than six months before being offered as a traveling exhibit to other Museums and institutions.
Monumental will offer a unique introduction to the science, technology, engineering, art and mathematical principles of architecture. Through interactive components and specially designed public programs, children will explore building styles, construction techniques, common decorative elements, and the cultural attributes of Greek and Mayan monuments, while exploring fundamental principles that helped shape modern day architecture.
The exhibit will introduce two historic cultures through the architecture and engineering of their monumental spaces. Working with the National Hellenic Museum and the National Museum of Mexican Art, DCM has developed an exhibit which will explore the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, as well as the Mayan structures at Chichen Itza in the jungles of southeastern Mexico.
“This is an exciting new addition to the Museum that we’re thrilled to unveil,” said Peter Crabbe, DCM’s Director of Exhibits. “Weaving history and culture into the exhibit experience alongside the core concepts of art, science, and math has allowed us to create an entirely new experience that will appeal to all ages.”
Major exhibit components and learning opportunities include:
- Mini Monuments (small-scale building): Construct your very own small-scale monument, such as the Acropolis, using building blocks and stones.
- Monumental Messages (large-scale building): Recreate the famous pyramids at Chichen Itza with foam blocks depicting Mayan hieroglyphs.
- Spectacular Shadows (cosmology and shadows): Understand the dramatic change that shadows can have on the appearance of a building using a 16-foot illuminated archway. Children will investigate how the sun’s light impacts shadows and how cosmology was an important part of Greek and Mayan architecture. Build drama by using a hand crank to transition LED lights and cast shadows on a block structure table.
- Dress the Part (dramatic play): Bring historical attributes of the Greek and Mayan culture to life with costumes and props for exciting opportunities in dramatic play.
- Set in Stone (interactive friezes): In a first for DCM, children will use interactive technology to place themselves among mythological icons of ancient times. Using touchpads, children can superimpose their face onto the body and attributes of a famous mythological being, such as Athena, Poseidon, or Apollo.
- Colorful Past (interactive art): Bring ancient pyramids, structures, and monuments to life with color by creating digital paintings using interactive touchscreens.
- Step It Up (scale and proportion): Explore concepts of scale and proportion by comparing your own foot to that of a six-foot replica of Athena’s foot. Imagine how massive this structure would have been at the Parthenon.
“Monumental is wonderfully aligned with the Museum’s interdisciplinary approach to connect the content areas of math, science, and the arts,” said Marcia MacRae, DCM’s Public Programs Manager and Content Integration Specialist. “Using the subject of architecture to highlight the intersection of these disciplines makes this exhibit truly unique.”
Monumental is also a pilot effort by DCM to develop, design and build an exhibit that can be rented to other Museums and institutions. The exhibit components will be designed in a modular manner in order to best accommodate a traveling exhibit rental.
“This will impact the design of the units and will allow us to evaluate the possibility of offering future traveling exhibits,” said Cricket Brooks, DCM’s Exhibits Manager. “We’ve developed this exhibit in a way to ensure that it can function successfully even at smaller institutions or museums that may not have as extensive of an exhibit staff as we do.”
Monumental is open during Museum hours beginning Saturday, November 16 and is free with DCM membership or paid admission.