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A World of Childhood Imagination
Eureka Museum (Halifax)
Member Name: ks.h
Eureka Museum (Halifax)
Date: 10/10/01, updated on 10/10/01 (275 review reads)
Advantages: No Keep Off Signs , No Do Not Touch Signs
Disadvantages: At Busy Times You Are Limited To 3 Hours Inside The Museum
Eureka! was the first and I think still is the only museum in Britain, which was designed especially for children, aged between 3 and 12 years old (please correct me if I am wrong). It is a museum where there is no do not touch signs, nothing fragile and children are not patronised, it is a real hands on experience. It can be found in Halifax, West Yorkshire next to the town centre railway station.
The museum aim is to encourage children to explore, smell and touch the exhibits as well as looking at exhibits and listening to descriptions of exhibits. It is a world were children are actively encouraged to let their imagination run wild and lead them on a journey of fun and discovery; adults who accompany the children are given the opportunity to rediscover the world of childhood imagination. The museum is split into four galleries on two floors for children and adults to explore together.
Gallery One – Me and My Body
In this gallery you will meet Scot the Robot who helps the children find out how their body works. You can measure your height, arm span, bone weight or anything else you want. Watch the children pedal on an amazing skeleton bike and play digestion pinball, join in if you feel brave enough.
Gallery Two – Invent, Create, Communicate
This is the gallery where children are encouraged to explore the world of communications. They can experiment with being a television weather presenter or newsreader, write an article and see what their work looks like on the front page of a newspaper,the can even save a boat in distress at sea by using a range of technological devices.
In this gallery there is also a music room where everything you touch plays a different note and the sheer delight on small children’s faces is priceless.
Gallery Three – Things
Here you are encouraged to take a new look at every day objects and what they are made of. You are able to use gears and
levers to change the facial expressions of a giant mechanical head or try something like designing a bicycle on one of the computers then test your design in a race.
Gallery Three – Living and Working Together
This is a world where children take on everyday adult roles and get a feel of what it is like to be a grown up. They can try numerous adult activities from being a cashier in a large department store to withdrawing money from a cash point and filling a car with petrol or driving it through a working car wash. There are ranges of jobs to try from bank manager or postman to factory or shop worker.
In this gallery there is a house and everything is scaled down to suit the children, there is a scaled down fully fitted, working kitchen, relaxing bedroom, lounge and dinning room, a bathroom with a see through toilet where everything works and a brilliant magic corridor of dreams.
Although the museum is designed for 3 to 12 year old children they do have activities for under 3’s, this is called Tot time and the under 3’s along with their parents and cares are encouraged to mix with their peers and learn new skills.
There are separate areas for children under 5 year old to explore. In this area the children can discover the delights and mysteries of jungle creatures, musical flowers and there is also a ball pool in the Jungle. There is a pre-school classroom type area where the children can take part in a range of craft activities.
Outside there is a Hazard Dome where audio-visual presentations are given on safety in the home and a Health Trail where both you and the children can challenge your fitness and agility.
The Eureka Museum has been designed to support the National Curriculum and it offers a unique opportunity to enhance the educational development of children without being obvious to children that they are in an educational environm
ent; the children I visited the museum with thought it a fun and exciting place to go.
There is a café and gift shop in the museum and a picnic area for you to eat your own food; the picnic area is outside in the Eureka Park and there is a railway carriage, which is open for you to sit in and eat your packed lunch.
The Eureka museum is accessible and suitable for all visitors, including those with disabilities and special needs. There is a full range of multi-sensory exhibits for those with visual or hearing impairments.
Admission to the museum is £5.50 whether you are an adult or child (under 3’s are free) but you can buy a saver ticket for £25, which admits 5 people and groups of 10 or more pay £4 per person; it is open between 10.00am and 5.00pm.
I visited the museum with a minibus full of 9 and 10 year olds who attended the Educational Playscheme I worked at during the summer holidays, we made the two hour journey from Tyneside and the youngsters thought it was brilliant, they had a great day out and we spent well nearly three hours inside the museum and over two hours in the grounds. There is a pay and display car park right next to Eureka! and the address of the museum is Eureka!, Discovery Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire.
If you are ever in the area with children it really is a great day out and somewhere to go if the weather is bad.
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