Sci­en­tific Ap­proach

Mid-Amer­ica Science Mu­seum puts new twist on hol­i­day fundraiser

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - In The Issue - By David Show­ers, pho­tog­ra­phy by Mara Kuhn

Science by the num­bers can seem ab­stract from ev­ery­day life, a mystery op­er­at­ing on a plane of con­scious­ness only an en­light­ened few can ac­cess. Since open­ing its doors in 1979, Mid-Amer­ica Science Mu­seum has de­mys­ti­fied the phe­nom­ena in­form­ing the nat­u­ral world, making science at once tan­gi­ble and ac­ces­si­ble.

Niles El­lis, the mu­seum's long­time di­rec­tor of de­sign and oper­a­tions, said in­ter­est is fun­da­men­tal to un­der­stand­ing. A in­dif­fer­ence to an ex­hibit is in­versely pro­por­tional to the in­cli­na­tion to as­sim­i­late it.

“You have to make it in­ter­est­ing enough to where they understand it,” he said. “That's the key. If they're not in­ter­ested, they can care less about it. When you have an ap­pli­ca­tion for some­thing and there's a rea­son for it, and un­der­stand­ing for it, you can re­late to peo­ple. We're not for­mal ed­u­ca­tion here. We're not try­ing to be. We're just here to kin­dle in­ter­est, spark some­thing that makes them want to learn more.”

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