From the Stone Age wheel to the modern computer, everything breaks down and requires repair at some point. What do you do when something breaks down? Increasingly, the answer is to simply discard the old and bring in the new. In Broken? Fix it! a new exhibit opening at Boston Children’s Museum, visitors will be challenged to roll up their sleeves and fix it. The hands-on exhibit, created by Long Island Children’s Museum and supported by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, will open to the public on January 24, 2015.
Broken? Fix it! raises awareness among children and adults that not everything has to be replaced. The exhibit helps children to diagnose problems, understand the repair process, and experience the satisfaction fixing something that is broken. Visitors enter a variety of repair settings featuring an array of everyday objects requiring attention— from cars to ceramics to toys. Families and school groups will be challenged to develop their repair skills using critical thinking, experimentation and cooperation. In each setting, tools, materials and resources are available to guide the diagnostic and repair process.
“Broken? Fix it! incorporates the critical components of problem solving, critical thinking, experimentation, and collaboration, skills critical to the creative and innovation process,” said Carole Charnow President and CEO of the Museum. “The exhibit reflects the Museum’s core commitment to hands-on and experiential learning, we are delighted to make it available to the families of Greater Boston and New England.”
The bilingual exhibit (Spanish/English) explores the vivid memories everyone can recall of something broken from their past —from a favorite toy to Grandma’s treasured teacup. But what happened after the break is where memories often diverge. For some, the memory is learning how to make a repair for a loved one. For others, the memory is watching a frustrated family member trying to tackle the fix or just the long wait until a repairman came. In presenting the exhibit, Boston Children’s Museum seeks to provide visitors with resources to hone lifelong skills.
Visitors will be able to listen to experts discuss how they tackle the process of repair through a series of videos sprinkled throughout the exhibit. The videos provide visitors with inspiration and practical tactics that they can employ as they attempt a similar fix it task. Recognizing the emotional aspects in the broken/fix it repair cycle, the exhibit includes a conversation area, including a “Truth Booth,” that provides an opportunity for multi-generational visitor groups to discuss accidental breaks in their past. Visitors entering the “Truth Booth” can even select a “disguise” if they choose, before recording their “confession.” Visitors to Broken? Fix it! will:
- Fix flat tires on cars and bikes.
- Repair a light-up wand and fix a toy car.
- Replace torn window screens.
- Investigate temporary and permanent fixes
- Match tools to tasks.
- Learn from repair experts.
- Explore global and historical repair techniques.
Broken? Fix it! will run through May 10, 2015 as part of a two-year tour that will take the exhibit to leading Children’s Museums across the nation through the Youth Museum Exhibit Collaborative.