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By the Numbers…

Updated: Nov 6

By Sally Miskavige, Grand Forks Children’s Museum Board Member

The Lights Are Out for Now, but the Journey Continues…Full STEAM Ahead, the pop-up exhibit from the Grand Forks Children’s Museum has now closed at the Curling Club. By all accounts, this second annual event was a huge success. Smiling faces on both children and parents, and the joy and exuberance of children playing together, experimenting, innovating, and collaborating. There were so many opportunities to explore, learn and simply have fun. The exhibits appealed to a wide range of ages and interests. There were intriguing, thought-provoking exhibits, and wonderful opportunities to learn about physics, rocketry, tornadoes, clouds, how to make a box pinhole projector for the eclipse, sewing and even how to play a ukelele. Here are some of the many highlights:

  • Quilting…There were many volunteers teaching children the art of quilting. This was clearly a very popular exhibit.

  • Spaced Out Boone brought his amazing knowledge and talents to show children how to make a box pinhole projector to view the upcoming eclipse. Plus, with his typical enthusiasm, he was happy to share his vast knowledge of space, rocketry, and eclipses.

  • Sewing was yet another interesting opportunity for kids…many volunteers worked one-on-one with children who wanted to learn how to sew using sewing machines. The children’s faces showed pride in their successful creations. So much fun.

  • Yo-Yo by Eric and Micah. Who knew that the art of yoyo-ing included physics concepts? These two young and talented entrepreneurs did a great job.

  • How to play the ukelele. Many thanks to Mrs. Robin for her enthusiasm, musical talent, and her ingenious methods of creating challenging puzzles, games and getting and keeping children involved and interested. There was so much joy and sense of accomplishment from the children as they learned the ‘C’ note, how to strum a ukelele and had a chance to sing along to some wonderful children’s songs.

  • Motion Mania brought lots of enthusiasm, as children created roller coasters and tested height, distance, and speed. Who knew that physics could be so much fun?

  • Welcome Wall organized and created by Hanna & Adam Kemp… Coming into a space can be intimidating, yet Hanna and Adam created a space in the vestibule area of the Curling Club as a place to Welcome attendees to Full STEAM Ahead and where children and adults could collaborate and then COLOR THE WALLS! This is actually the only wall in the world your allowed to color! Hehe – hopefully the kids remember that when they get home! The result was a magnificent collaboration. The Grand Forks Children's Museum and Full STEAM Ahead are grateful for the generous funding of this Welcome Wall by the North Dakota Council on the Arts. Thank you, North Dakota Council on the Arts for your funding to create this wonderful and creative opportunity for both children and parents.

  • Imagination Playground blocks were a huge hit, and the new addition of dinosaur bones caused the creation of both traditional (Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus) and futuristic dinosaurs. So many inventive minds were at work here!

  • The Be Amaze-D cardboard maze offered so much for both adults and children alike.

  • Thanks to the UND Rocketry Program, there was a real rocket for everyone to see and touch. There were so many budding astronauts, and this was a chance to learn about space and rockets.

  • The whale tail gave children a unique and up-close perspective on the actual size of a whale. It’s hard to imagine from pictures, and even seeing a whale’s tail in person, just how gigantic these are.

  • Mrs. Robin created some brain teasers for both visual and intellectual challenges. I’m still trying to figure out one of the solutions… ARGHH.

Some interesting numbers… over 7200 attended the eight-day event; 68 school classrooms and 1600 children attended during the week; numerous home schoolers attended, and a countless number of volunteers made for a successful event. One volunteer, Julie, stated that she is a real scientist and volunteered because she thought it would be nice to show the attendees that women can be scientists too.

There are so many people and volunteers that worked together to make this event a success. There are too many to name, however, I have/will contact each in person to share my appreciation and gratitude.

That said, there are a few who need to be recognized for their over-the-top commitment to our success:

  • Dean Opp has served as the mastermind and master organizer. His energy is limitless, and he clearly has knowledge of how to wrangle hundreds of children in an orchestrated fashion. Dean has been dedicated to the success of this project, both the Full STEAM Ahead and the Grand Forks Children’s Museum since its inception. Dean brings incredible knowledge, organization skills, dedication and a sense of wonder and imagination. Full STEAM Ahead was successful largely because of the many talents and the incredible work ethic that Dean brings.

  • Mrs. Robin has boundless enthusiasm, energy, and an ingenious and creative mind. Her talents were on full display with the Music Station, that taught children how to play the ukulele. Mrs. Robin also created (and built) several brain teasers. She participates willingly and is dedicated to making both Full STEAM Ahead and the Grand Forks Children’s Museum a success.

  • Sheila Dalgliesh is well known throughout our community for her artistic talents. She is also the first employee of the Grand Forks Children’s Museum. We are so grateful for her talent, enthusiasm, and energy. Her ‘jump right in’ and ‘let’s get it done’ mindset makes us all more successful.

  • Hanna and Adam Kemp orchestrated the Welcome Wall and invited children to create their own memories on the wall.

  • Jolene Mikkelson and her team from North Star Quilters for bringing to life a skill that has become lost art in so many communities.

  • Collin Schafer who supervised the big, blue Imagination Blocks. And, special thanks to Grand Forks public schools who donated Colin’s time to oversee the project.

  • Johnathan Repoyo from Bismarck’s Gateway to Science to oversee motion mania. He’s a great ‘science guy’.

  • Hannah Opp from Oxford Realty who coordinated the pickup, delivery, set up and supervised the ‘Be A-MAZE-D’. Thanks to Oxford Realty for donating Hannah’s time.

  • Sarah Dingnan who supervised Discovery Land and Opp Construction who donated Sarah’s time.

There are so many more volunteers and dedicated workers that made Full STEAM Ahead a success. Thank you to everyone who helped, volunteered, donated, and participated. Full STEAM Ahead is the precursor to the larger project…the Grand Forks Children’s Museum. We will continue our fundraising and awareness campaigns to build this museum for the community.

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