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Something special is coming to Liberty Science Center this holiday season!
We’ve been hard at work over the last year collaborating with renowned toy designer Cas Holman on an amazing new permanent exhibition for young kids, ages 0-5, in the space formerly occupied by our I Explore gallery. And while I Explore was loved by so many, we knew that after a decade our youngest visitors needed something new!
Collaborating with Holman was a natural fit, as LSC guests have already experienced her work. If you’ve visited our Block Party gallery, you’ll remember the giant blue blocks. Those blocks, among many other popular playthings, were designed by Holman!
We can’t reveal too much about our new adventure yet (we don’t want to ruin the surprise!). But we can promise you there’s nothing else like it in the country. It’s a bright, inviting, must-see experience for kids in the NJ/NYC area...plus, an incredible environment where our youngest visitors can develop core skills like balance, motion, and cause and effect.
The exhibition will be ready for you by December, and we’ll have lots more to reveal in the coming weeks. But until then, we caught up with Holman to learn more about her inspiration for the exhibit and what you can expect.
Cas Holman: The team at LSC reached out to me and said there’s a space they wanted to reimagine, redesign, and rebuild.
They also told me they were thinking a lot about the concept of balance – and for young children, that’s really their whole existence, right? Trying to figure out how things work, what’s going on in the world, and of course, physically balancing themselves and their bodies and developing the fine motor skills to balance other things. So this exhibit came to life around that idea.
CH: I hope they feel comfortable exploring things they aren’t familiar with. Comfort in uncertainty is, now, more critical than ever – and I think when children get to exercise that early on, it has a lasting impact with how comfortable they are at figuring things out.
CH: I think there’s an assumption that children need bright colors. Children’s lives – and all of our lives – are visually overwhelming, and kids are already so stimulated. So a lot of what we were trying to do with this exhibit is a bit more soothing. The color palette is muted, and it’s beautiful, but it’s not meant to have too much sensory stimulation.
CH: Yes, a lot of the inspiration was around Alexander Calder mobiles, primarily. That is one of the most prominent fixtures and features of this space.
CH: We really wanted to take into account the needs of people who actually use this space. So, for example, we have amenities like a restroom with child-sized fixtures, a crawl space for infants, and a breastfeeding nook. Although you’re welcome to nurse anywhere at LSC, we wanted to take into account that people using this space might have very little ones in the group, alongside toddlers or four-year-olds.
CH: We really want kids to have an ongoing relationship with this space. When they’re 18 months old, they might not be able to fully crawl up to certain places – but when they’re 2 years old, they’ll be able to make it a little further. And then, when they’re 4 years old, they’ll be the ones at the top! It’s kind of like there are levels of mastery involved.