Features

Children able to dig new dinosaur exhibit

Museum hope visitors will ‘dig’ the new things they are offering.

By Christopher Park
La Habra Journal

La Habra’s Children Museum opened their new dinosaur exhibit on Oct. 2, allowing children to interact with the displays that chronicled the beginning and inevitable end of dinosaurs.

Funded by the museum’s guild, it was designed and created by the museum’s curator, Lisa Reckon. Built in the museum’s changing exhibit, where the exhibit changes every few months. It was decided to choose dinosaurs simply because of its massive appeal to the children.

“It’s a very popular subject,” said Lovely Qureshi, assistant director of the museum. “Kids love dinosaurs.”
To prove this point further, there is a dinosaur garden outside of the museum and a permanent dig site built in the science room, allowing children to dust away dirt and sand to uncover fossil props.

The exhibit had a great variety of displays to interact with, including large physical models of dinosaurs, audio playbacks of rough approximations of what a dinosaur might have sounded like and a dig site for children to play paleontologist. This level of interaction was something that was key to the exhibit.

“That’s the really fun part of the museum. The kids can really imagine, explore and discover new things,” Qureshi said.

And to make sure the information on display was factual and informative, the museum’s staff spent a lot of time to get all the information right, gathering information from published materials and from other museums, Qureshi added.
Towards the end of the exhibit is a mural painted by a 12-year-old who attends the Orange County School of Arts and Qureshi noted that it was a “really fun summer project for her.”

With the exhibit put together due to the efforts of many people around the La Habra area and the county, Qureshi hopes that the children will ultimately be more knowledgeable about this era.

“Just more knowledge with dinosaurs – where they came from, the different eras and to keep that interest going,” Qureshi said. “I think some things they see in television, when they can see up close and have actually hands-on experiences is really educational for them.”

The dinosaur exhibit will be maintained for a few months, before it is replaced with a pirate exhibit early next year after January, called Swashbuckle. The decision to go with pirates was due to keeping up with what is popular at any given time. And before dinosaurs, the exhibit was a science lab, allowing children to conduct experiments with electricity and magnetics.

“It’s constantly changing in here,” Qureshi said.

The La Habra Children’s Museum is the very first childrens’ museum in Orange County and has been up and running since 1977. At the end of December it will be celebrating 35 years of continued operation.

The museum offers various exhibits, ranging from displays of various cultures and histories, taxidermy to much more educational exhibits, like teaching children the value of water conservation through interactive examples. The museum’s outreach program also educates children in art, science and literacy and for the past four years have continued an art education for K – 5th grade students.

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Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.