The Wonderful Wizard of OZ
Follow the yellow brick road and step into the pages of a new interactive exhibition now open at the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia. The exhibition is based on the book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” with the artwork W.W.Denslow. Perfect for children 2 - 12 years of age, visitors will feel like they’re walking through a storybook as they learn about science, art and history against the backdrop of the first American fairy tale.
It all started with a book. In 1900, the publication of L. Frank Baum’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” caused a national sensation that lead to13 sequels over the next 20 years. This timeless tale has been brought to life in many forms and now a new colorful traveling exhibition is a larger than life pop-up book that will dazzle the eyes and stimulate the mind, while instilling a love of reading and storytelling.
You will begin your adventure on a farm that features Dorothy’s house. Using dress-up and role-playing the child will discover life on a farm in 1900 while interacting with learning activities such as collecting and counting eggs; tending and harvesting the corn; and assembling a puzzle of farm animals and their sounds. Peek around the next corner and let yourself be pulled into an encounter with tornados where the science of a vortex comes alive. See the force of a storm as it surges from F1 to F5. Spin a top in Tornado Alley and see a storm’s destructive force as it powers through the farm.
Blow through to the Land of Munchkins with its message of tolerance for all people. Play dress up with Munchkin clothes in a Munchkin house. Hand puppets in the Land of Oz Puppet Theater help children embrace differences among people as they meet those who live in this fantastic land -- Winkies, China People, armless Hammer-Heads and more. Be kind in the next passage as you meet the Tin Woodman and learn about your heart with beating, beeping and flashing machines. “Feel the Beat” and “What’s Your Pulse” gives children a chance to feel for themselves how activity affects your heart rate. Then help pump blood through the heart and see what happens to the color of blood when it has oxygen.
Drop by and help put the scarecrow together and let him know that everybody is smart in his or her own way. Prove it to him when you help him solve the brainteaser games and puzzles. “Pick Your Brain” gives visitors a chance to touch the brain of different animals found in the Land of Oz and figure out which brain corresponds with which animal. Venture into the forest and the Lion will help you find your courage as you crawl through a dark cave. Do your best to spot all the hidden animals along your trek through the forest camouflage. Team up with other hands and help solve the task of building the “road of yellow brick” to Emerald City where the stage awaits the next entertainer. Don’t forget to look through the special Oz spectacles that let you see the city in its entire green splendor. Test your acting skills for Oz and your grownups, using all the props and costumes as you perform scenes from the book.
Moving through the story, brace yourself for The Wicked Witch of the West. Help finish building her castle and see what it’s like to be a Winged Monkey. Rescue yourself as you fling the winged monkeys into the castle and then try to fly like one these creatures from the Land of Oz. Seek refuge with Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, in her cozy reading nook. Catch your breath, relax, click the heels of the huge silver shoes, and then dream away as you finish the time-honored story of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”
The integrated learning in the exhibit incorporates storytelling with art, science, math and history stimulating learning through creativity, play, and exploration. The character building exhibit asks children and their accompanying adults to ponder and discuss questions. In addition, there is a full complement of educational programs that celebrate the integrated learning across the curriculum both for the public and schools.
The exhibition was produced and developed by Great Explorations Children’s Museum of St. Petersburg, Florida; designed and fabricated by Bruce Barry’s Wacky World Studios of Oldsmar, Florida; with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The exhibition has been endorsed by The International Wizard of Oz Club and The L. Frank Baum Family Trust, produced with assistance from scholars, collectors and enthusiasts who advised on its development.