The Suburbanite
  • GET OUT!: McKinley museum opens new interactive Fascination Station science area

  • Wm. McKinley Presidential Library’s roaming robot, K.I.R.K., has a new home.

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  • Wm. McKinley Presidential Library’s roaming robot, K.I.R.K., has a new home.
    Since 2010, K.I.R.K. (Knowledgeable Interactive Robotic Kiosk) has dawdled his down time in offices at McKinley museum. Now the robot is displayed in the new Fascination Station section of the museum’s Discover World.
    Surrounding K.I.R.K. are interactive displays allowing visitors to compete against robots in performing simple tasks and even in playing tic-tac-toe.
    Such is the mixture of old and new, educational and enjoyable, static and interactive in Fascination Station, which will be opened officially on Presidents’ Day Feb. 18
    Museum staff members began redesigning the Fascination Station area — the upper section of Discover World, formerly Space Station Earth — about two years ago.
    “We wanted more updated exhibits that really educated the children,” said Lynette Reiner, Science Director. “We didn’t want it to be just a playground, but we wanted it to be fun, as well.”
    Exhibits are grouped according to themes — robotics, light and sound, weather, mechanical  science, environmental issues.
    At one end of Fascination Station is a science demonstration area for experiments in electricity, light and sound. At the other end is an area for physics and chemistry experiments.
    Fascination is a mixture of state of the art interactive exhibits and old standards.
    “One of the first things I heard when we started planning this is ‘Do not get rid of the Shadow Catcher,’” said Reiner with a smile. “So we kept it and improved it. We kind of enclosed it and installed better lighting.”
    Fascination station also highlights a much-improved “weather station” in which museum visitors can stand in front of a “green screen” in the manner of meteorologists and see themselves on video screens with backdrops of seasonal storms.
    “Kids fight to get on this,” said Reiner. “They love it.”

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