Hands-On Exhibition Will Test Childrens Activities for New Mint Museum

A new exhibition at ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center will not only encourage children to touch the objects on display, but will actively seek their feedback regarding their experiences. Co-developed by The Mint Museum and the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, the exhibition Art Under Construction will feature working models of interactive art activities for families to test out from March 2 – May 10, 2009 at ImaginOn.

The Mint Museum is presently involved in a major expansion project: the construction of a new 145,000-square-foot facility in Center City Charlotte scheduled to open in October 2010. One of the centerpieces of this new facility is a 1,900-square-foot Family Gallery, designed as a fun and educational setting for families to feel comfortable with art as they explore activities together. Families with young children represent an increasing segment of the Charlotte region’s demographics, and this interactive space will make the new museum a welcoming destination for area families with children age two to 10.

The Family Gallery will provide an introduction to the Mint’s collections of American art, contemporary art and international craft and design through creative, collaborative play in a hands-on environment. The aim is to create an intuitive space where the visitors drive the experience. With grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Mint is conducting a year of research, visitor studies, prototype development, family testing and formal assessments.

As one of Charlotte’s most popular family destinations, ImaginOn is collaborating with the Mint to conduct testing for the prototypes’ user-friendliness, accessibility, safety and interest. Children will enter a three-dimensional Memories of Mecklenburg house to explore of the collage of renowned Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden. In My Museum, children are “in charge.” They can create and name sculptures, pose within a 19th century portrait; respond to abstract art and add to a giant weaving wall. Finally, children and parents will be encouraged to share their ideas and suggestions for the future Mint Museum Family Gallery at the Talk-Back wall.