Curious George: Let's Get Curious!

Review

of an Exhibition

by Thomas Sullivan

Published on May 13, 2013

  • Description:

    Curious George is a well-loved character in children’s literature and on television. He has enthralled children since his creation by H.A. and Margaret Rey when Houghton Mifflin published the original book in 1941. George is constantly “curious”, leading him into adventure and mischief that extend from Africa to the big city. This inquisitive quality makes George absolutely irresistible to young children, and a perfect fit for Liberty Science Center’s youngest scientists.

    Liberty Science Center’s mission is “to expose learners of all ages to the excitement, power, and promise of science and technology.” This has been translated into the expansion of interactive learning experiences for young guests and their accompanying adults. Kids are encouraged to explore and participate; in other words, be the “natural scientists” they are.

    Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!, originally developed by the Minnesota Children’s Museum, is located on the fourth floor of LSC. As guests enter a familiar urban street scene they are greeted by George himself, holding a bunch of balloons while hanging onto a light post. They can move George up and down the fire escape and to all twelve apartment windows by operating wheels and pulleys. All the action of the simple machines can be viewed simultaneously through plexi-glass. This Apartment setting also encourages exploration of light, color, shape and shadow play inside the building, as well as an opportunity to be the Doorman and operate the elevator.

    The next stop is a Sidewalk Produce Stand where young learners can role-play a customer or salesperson, and count, sort, and weigh fruits and vegetables. Travel through the exhibition continues to a Construction Site, and a City Park. Here families have a chance to rest, hug a full-size Curious George, and have a picture taken with him. The City Park also includes a special place for toddlers to interact on the Busy Wall.

    Then, it is on to Mini Golf, a Space Rocket slide, the Farm, and finally a Museum within a Museum. George is shown opening the entrance to this final area where a replica of The Man in the Yellow Hat’s green desk holds an old-style rotary phone. and Rey family photos. A recording of Margaret Rey telling the story of George’s creation, a replica of the original manuscript, and artwork are displayed along with Curious George books, both old and new. Adults and older children will understand the connection to the Reys’ escape from Europe on bicycles in the World War II era.

    Each section of this interactive exhibition presents direct experience with key concepts in science, math, and engineering. In addition, young guests engage in conversation, role-play, self-expression, and problem solving in an environment populated by familiar characters and locales pulled directly from the Curious George series. It is apparent that Young Guests identify with Curious George — they are, like him, endlessly curious about the world around them. The visitors to this exhibition are exploring, learning, and… having more fun than a barrel of monkeys!

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