A 17-foot-long roaring dinosaur, a fossil pit, a LEGO lab, and a model train station are all part of the new West Exhibit Gallery at Hands On! Children’s Museum.
The non-profit recently unveiled the 2,500 square foot exhibit gallery after ten weeks of construction. The addition of the new exhibits is part of the museum’s strategy to become a world-class family destination experience.
Joseph Knight, the museum’s Executive Director, says, “We’re so excited to begin offering the community new exhibits while fundraising efforts are underway to support a comprehensive re-design and expansion of our entire museum within the next five years.” Attendance to the children’s museum has increased by 36% since 2014, and last year the museum served nearly 40,000 people – the highest year for visitation on record. “Due to the increase in demand for our STEM programs and exhibits, we found it imperative to provide more learning experiences for our visitors sooner rather than later. The West Exhibit Gallery provides children with 2,500 square feet of additional space to discover and explore the wonders of art and science! The additional space will also help alleviate overcrowding issues we’ve experienced in recent years.”
The new exhibit gallery features several unique learning experiences. The Dinosaur Safari exhibit features a 17-foot-long roaring Triceratops dinosaur named Terri and a large fossil pit. Funding for Dinosaur Safari was made possible by Hedrick Industries Green River Quarry. Other exhibits include a train station, paint studio, LEGO lab, and a large creative arts-makerspace studio. Each exhibit area also features beautiful murals painted by local artists. According to Knight, “We’re so thankful to have teamed up with several local artists to help add a greater sense of wonder and imagination to our exhibit gallery.”
Sponsors for the new West Exhibit Gallery include Hedrick Industries Green River Quarry, Dave Burlett Painting, LS Creative, The Neighborhood Electrician, Summey Plumbing & Heating, Wilsonart, Sherwin Williams, The Home Depot, The City of Hendersonville, and Creative Big Print of Shelby, NC.
The museum would also like to recognize the City of Hendersonville Public Works Department, Barbi Brittain, Melissa Gagliano, Joseph Knight, Scott Mathis, Lindsey Moss, Don Osterberg – Artist, Melissa Porter – Artist, Hannah Renner, Artist, Vickie Robertson – Artist, Lyndsey Simpson, Travis Spinks, Kellie Spinks, and Patricia Sweet-MacDonald – Artist for their valuable contributions to the project.
Hands On! Children’s Museum is located at 318 North Main Street in downtown Hendersonville, NC. Admission is $8 (+tax) for adults and children over age 1. Hours of operation are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information about museum admission, exhibits, birthday parties, and STEM programs, please visit www.handsonwnc.org. You can also follow the museum on Facebook and Instagram.