When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County to cancel Pi Day and spring break activities and shut down, it also changed the plans for Summer at the Museum.
While the museum reopens to the public on Wednesday, the summer children’s program will be a take-home experience of hands-on activities tied to the Carnegie’s trademark science education and current exhibit on civics.
The “Carnegie Kit,” which is geared toward children in kindergarten through sixth grade, contains seven activities including a chemistry project, nature scavenger hunt, a pet census, a MoCo hero activity, postcards, bubbles and prizes. The supplies come individually packed in plastic bags that can be sanitized, and the kit includes a list of instructions for parents.
“This is our ‘Take it and go home and have fun,’” said Carnegie director Kat Burkhart before showing off the contents of the kit.
For some of the projects, a generation reared in the digital age will have to place a stamp on an envelope. Children are encouraged to mail back their pet censuses and MoCo hero, where staff will choose some for display at the museum and on social media.
The free kits can be picked up while supplies last at the museum beginning Wednesday through Aug. 1. Children who complete all of the activities can return to the museum to select a free book.
Many of the toys and hands-on activities have been placed in storage to reduce the spread of germs and some of the exhibits will be less interactive, but the museum will resume its celebration of democracy.
The “We the People, Me the Person” exhibit showcases the nation’s founding documents, the women’s suffrage movement, the census and local elected officials.
Funding for the exhibit came from a Montgomery County Community Foundation grant awarded to the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, which partnered with the museum and Wabash College.
In a new addition to the Local Business Gallery, a 16-ft. scale model of Nucor Steel will be on display with lights and sound effects.
Museum staff will be wearing masks in the public areas of the building and visitors are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings. Guests are also asked to keep 6 feet apart from other families and avoid coming to the museum if they’ve had any signs of illness or exposure to someone with COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the building and a clear partition is in place at the gift shop.
Items from the gift shop can also be ordered over the phone for no-contact pick-up.
Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Admission is free. The museum will be closed this Saturday in observance of Independence Day.