When we first walked through the doors of EdVenture last week, co-facilitator Daniel Littlewood and I faced two of the largest feet we had ever seen. We looked at one another and uttered an incredulous, “Whoa!?” We had to investigate. Passing under the archway, we walked into an atrium, and there he was all 40 feet, 17.5 tons of him: Eddie, the worlds largest child (see the slideshow below).
If the museum’s signature exhibit could make us feel like kids again, we could only imagine the wonders it might work on a five year old. I was excited to find out what else this National Medal Award-winning museum had in store. If the world’s biggest boy says one thing about EdVenture, it’s that this is a place that puts kids first. “We were creating a museum that was for children. This is the world on their terms,” said Catherine Monetti, one of the museum’s original designers. Hands-on learning and creating “ah-ha” experiences are keys to this museum’s brand of education.
Eddie is a prime example of this, and he’s more than a giant statue: Eddie is an interactive exhibit. Kids learn how their bodies work while playing in Eddie, crawling through his brain, listening to his heartbeat, and sliding down his esophagus.
Hungry on the road, Nick and Sarah pulled off for some Triangle Waffles. Sadly, the restaurant was closed.
Saddened by the end of her MobileBooth East tour, Alex slumped off to the children’s room in the library’s basement. When approached, she threatened, “I’ll eat you up!” and was sent to bed without her dinner. The children’s room in the Richland County Public Library features Maurice Sendak’s only public art. Sarah Geis, new to the tour, will be heading out tomorrow morning with Nick, for Richmond, Virginia.
Anita came into the booth to interview her friend, Kevin Morgan, about his life. She then turned her own camera on us, asking us questions about our experience on the road and what we’ve gotten out of StoryCorps. Anita works with a group called DRAMA, doing media literacy work with young people in the Columbia, South Carolina area, and she wanted to share our understanding of listening and sound with her students.
Sure, Andrew and Kamilah (in Lafayette, Louisiana with the West MobileBooth) might be steps from a music venue, but here in Columbia the music comes to us. This morning we had musician Danielle Howle come into the booth with fellow musician( and fiancee of Kristen Harkey, our main support system here from Humanities Council South Carolina) Jeff Johansson. Danielle sang and played guitar during her interview, and, given the nature of the booth, it literally rocked.
MobleBooth East has arrived in South Carolina. Alex feels at home, Nick feels far from home (in a good way), and the booth feels warm first thing in the morning. Hallelujah and rejoice! In the first few days the facilitators were interviewed by local news, photographed, and given a warm welcome. Before the interviews started the facilitators explored Columbia and went for a walk along the river. Later that night they saw “Shut up and Sing”, the story of the Dixie Chicks, at a local independent movie theatre. During the movie some guy kept talking and screaming as if he were in his own living room. But Nick, a real New Yorker, put him in his place… Guy: blah blah blah. Nick: Hey man, can you shut up? Guy: Freedom of speech, man! (cute, given the topic of the movie) Nick: You’re right, I’m sorry… Please. As they were leaving, the manager gave everyone complimentary tickets as an apology for the man’s disturbance. In the booth, things have gone more smoothly. The Humanities Council South Carolina has been a huge help in bringing diverse participants into the booth. Nick hasn’t told anyone to shut up since.