Museum’s ‘Water’s Extreme Journey’ exhibit underway

Display designed to acquaint visitors with the amazing trek that water takes

Special to The GatewayApril 23, 2014 

Casey Demory, program and exhibit manager for the Harbor History Museum, says she’s excited about the museum’s newest exhibit, “Water’s Extreme Journey,” created by marine life artist Robert Wyland.

The exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to become a raindrop and follow it throughout the interactive maze.

“Water’s Extreme Journey” is designed to engage visitors through play, scientific inquiry, art and action by traveling as a raindrop through the watershed, traversing lakes, river, wetlands and even backyards.

Visitors learn how daily decisions affect the environment, the quality of our waters and how they can contribute to safe and healthy waters in Gig Harbor, Puget Sound and beyond.

Demory said because Gig Harbor has so many ecosystems, the museum wanted to help people learn about the specific environment they live in.

“Our goal is that visitors have a great learning experience,” said Demory, adding that the exhibit highlights information about the environment and tools that people can use in their lives.

Friday night’s opening of the exhibit drew a crowd of members who were eager to see it first hand.

Consisting of a maze that winds throughout the room, the exhibit invites hands-on interaction.

Wheels can be spun to direct visitors to a new area, offering opportunities to learn about the Gig Harbor area specifically, providing examples of Puget Sound, Donkey Creek and the Harbor area.

The exhibit is geared to help visitors realize how their decisions affect their community.

“It is challenging with lots of variety,” Demory said. “The exhibit is meant to provide information to visitors in a really fun and interactive way of learning. There are a number of interactive elements appealing to all ages and learning abilities.”

The exhibit, which opened April 19, runs through July 20.

Students who visit “Water’s Extreme Journey” will return to their schools ready to learn more about the environment in the classroom because their curriculum is aligned with the exhibit, Demory said.

Head mistress of the Museum’s Midway School, Leann O’Neill, explained that she prepares the curriculum so museum educators learn how to present the information to school children. Students attending the exhibit will receive a free pass to return with an adult at a later time.

Ted Smith, museum executive director, welcomed the crowd Friday night and said the Harbor History Museum was pleased to join with the Wyland Foundation, Minotaur Mazes and Harbor WildWatch to offer events throughout the run of the exhibit.

He thanked museum members saying, “Your membership means a great deal. Our members are great champions of the community.”

He also thanked the sponsor of the event, Puget Sound Energy, and the volunteers who transformed the room to accommodate the exhibit.

The exhibit was constructed in five days.

Intern Natalie Geye said she worked 56 hours in the previous week.

“Everything had to be removed from that area, the walls painted and the exhibit set up,” said Geye, adding that the CEO of Minotaur Mazes and others were on hand to help set up the maze. “We were incredibly lucky to have them,” she said.

Before Demory cut the ribbon to welcome visitors, Smith said, “This exhibit offers families a way to bond with their community through the watershed and it is an exhibit that can be explored again and again.”

Joan Cronk is a freelance writer for The Gateway. She can be reached at joancronk @comcast.net

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