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September 08, 1998 - Image 50

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-08

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4D - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - September 8, 1998
Museum -provides
fun for all ages

By Christine M. Paik
Daily StaffReporter
That old saying "seeing is believing"
may be true, but at the Ann Arbor
Hands-On Museum, maybe the proper
motto should be "doing is believing."
At the Hands-On Museum, one won't
find signs that say, "please do not touch
the display," as visitors are encouraged
to use their hands to engage in the dif-
ferent activities available.
Mark Maynard, former assistant to
the director of the Hands-On Museum,
said the variety of themes presented
here aims to tempt visitors to use their
imaginative side by touching, feeling
and exploring with their hands.
"We have 250 hands-on exhibits,"
Maynard said. "We have four floors that
include a light and optics gallery, a
computer lab, a section called 'the
world around you,' which has to do with
perception and geometry, and a nature
The goal of the Hands-On Museum
is obvious from the colorful and intri-
cate displays that fill up the four floors
of a renovated Ann Arbor firehouse,
complete with its original fire poles and
steel staircases. From giant soap bubble
makers, to pacemakers, to image polar-
izers, the diverse science and technolo-
gy displays offered captivate many vis-
The Hands-On Museum was the
brainchild of Cynthia Yao, who is the
executive director.
"At the time I had four kids" Yao
said. "I was trying to find a place to
take them to have fun. There was very
little to do for young kids in Ann Arbor
then. After visiting the children's muse-
um in Boston, I suggested the idea (of
the Hands-On Museum), not expecting
this much success."
In 1982, aftgr four years of trying to

raise money for exhibits and services,
most of which were donated and volun-
teered, the hands-On Museum opened.
For Yao and other organizers of the
museum, success has since been abun-
Maynard said part of the museum's
popularity comes from its capability to
inspire young minds.
"We want kids to acquire an excite-
ment about science, and even history,"
Maynard added. "There's a lot of stuff
like testing your own reflexes and
understanding your body, like your
flexibility and your bones and muscles."
Although the exhibits are made to
appeal to youngsters, visitors to the
Hands-On Museum range from tod-
dlers to senior citizens.
"We get all types of people,"
Maynard said. "We have a preschool
room for toddlers, and then we get high
school groups, and then we get seniors
groups. Most of the exhibits are proba-
bly geared for fourth and fifth graders;
that's the optimum age, where they can
probably get the most from it."
Marla Gartner, a teacher at Ealy
Elementary School in West Bloomfield,
Mich., said the Hands-On Museum pro-
vides an opportunity for students to get
away from the classroom experience
and instead use their creativity directly.
"The children get to see, touch and
feel," Gartner said. "It's not like in the
classroom where the child just sits and
reads to learn. The museum allows the
kids to connect with the real world."
"Every kid remembers something
different," Maynard said. "But basically
we just want to get them excited about
Eight-year-old Jeff Jodway was
among many students attending the
Hands-On Museum on a field trip.
"I like the electric machine," Jodway

Located in the old Ann Arbor firehouse, the hands-on museum provides an opportunity for visitors to experience and be a part
of the the exhibits they are viewing. Visitors range from toddlers to senior citizens as age restrictions are irrelevant.

said, referring to a hand-generator
exhibit. "I know how to make electrici-
ty with my hands."
Jodway's classmate Erin Kaplan was
especially intrigued by an exhibit that
linked magnets and the properties of
"I saw the colors move around with
the block," Kaplan said. "I like the rain-
bow machine (because) I used a mag-
The large number of visitors a day is
facilitated by n my group-leader volun-
"We divide the children into groups
and then each group is paired up with
an introduction guidC," said former
Volunteer Coordinator Theresa Maddix.
"The guides help to keep some order,
and they also answer questions and
engage people in the different exhibits."
Touching and experimenting with the
different displays aren't the only things

to do at the museum. Organizers make
sure there are plenty of other activities
at hand for children to work with.
"We do summer camps and weekend
camp-ins, where kids stay overnight,"
Maynard said. "We do scout programs
for girl scouts and boy scouts. There are
also weekend demonstrations for kids.
Some mornings we have classes for
parents and toddlers."
Jay Liao, an Ann Arbor resident and
father of two sons, prefers to bring his
kids to the Hands-On Museum, instead
of offering less educational alternatives
like television.
"They zet to experiment and use their
hands. Jordie learns computer skills,
and he also gets to communicate with
other children,' Liao said.
Liao said the Hands-On Museum
helps his son anticipate the school
"I want Jordie to leave with an appre-

ciation and a love for knowledge," Liao
said. "I want him to be eager to learn.
(The Hands-On Museum) puts him in
the right environment and helps to pre-
pare him for school."
Jordie Liao seemed to have no trou-
ble using a computer, despite his young
"I like Busy Town," Jordie Liao said,
referring to a computer activity occupy-
ing his attention. "I press buttons."
The Hands-On Museum isn't just
popular with locals, however. At least
one national group has favored the
iuseum's programs.
"We've received four National
Science Foundation grants over the
years, which has helped us in funding,"
Yao said. Yao said the Hands-On
Museum has welcomed over 1.5 million
"Since the opening, we've slowly but
surely become successful," Yao said.

University Musical Society 98/99 season

San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, conducto' and piano
Afro-Cuban All Stars
St. Petersburg Philharmonic
Yuri Temirkanov, conductor
Gidon Kremer, violin
John Williams, guitar
Capitol Steps
Guarneri String Quartet
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
We Set Out Early. Visibility Was Poor
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Ivan Fischer, conductor
Andras Schiff, piano
David Daniels, countertenor with
Arcadian Academy
Nicholas McGegan, conductor and harpsichord
Jordi Savall and Monserrat Figueras
Kirov Orchestra of St. Petersburg
Valery Gergiev, conductor
Vienna Virtuosi
Principal Members of the Vienna Philharmonic
Jazz Tap Summit with Jimmy Slyde,
Dianne Walker and other tap legends
American String Quartet
Mitsuko Uchida, piano
AssadkBrothers with Badi Assad
Sequentia: Hildegard von Bingen's Ordo
A Huey P Newton Story
Emerson String Quartet
Menahem Pressler, piano
The Harlem Nutcracker
Handel's Messiah
UMS Choral Union
Trinity Irish Dance Company
Gershwin: Sung and Unsung
New York Festival of Song
Renee Fleming, soprano
The Gospel at Co/onus
American String Quartet
Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Merce Cunningham Dance Company
Maxim Vengerov, violin
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Pepe Romero, guitar
Meryl Tankard Australian Dance Theater/Furioso
James Galway, flute
Abbey Lincoln
Takacs Quartet
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Talis Scholars

YV" If'ft 's... inm4vtMe.v ' yoe mvsic Stre
o j " . "pe real music: ea prices
phone: 663.5800
1140 south university (above goodtime chareys), AA
mon.-thurs.: 9:00a-1:0p sundays
, fri. & sat.: 9:00a-11:00 1100s:op
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a.wMete *C e".vh
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.Queen or
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1 & O

grove to
sounds (
local .ba
By Ryan Malkin
[}wily Arts Writer
Not much going on tonigh, N
big Fraternity parties taking %acc.
Then head on over to the Blind. ig o
other area venues for a uihica
Despite what some out-of-Incr:
may think, Ann Arbor is a mecca o
musical talents. Many of the band,
that have played at the legec4
Blind Pig have gone on to be interna
tional superstars. That is exactly wha
many of the local bands are strivin
for. Getaway cruiser, a local roce
band gone mainstream is a perfec
example of this.
Along with great musical talen
comes great musical diversity. In th
Ann Arbor area, the styles ragfron
Swing to Rock to Heavy t
musical sounds that are notUi 1
named yet.
Emperial Swing Orchestra, a loca
band that often stops off at the Blin
Pig and Bird of Paradise in betwee
recordings for their first album i.
Ann Arbor's hottest ticket right no
Leading the pack of locals in ticke
sales by a vast margin, they are defi
nitely a name to watch for in th
After hiring the producer &o
Squirrel Nut Zippers and i n
Melon to oversee the recordin
process, they realized recording
quality album is easier said tha
done. Especially with a ten perso
band with great musical skills th
were learned at the University'
School of Music.
The arrangement consists of th
five basics, which are: guitar, bas
keyboard, drums, and vocals. 0i
swing band is backed by a woma
vocalist, something definitely differ
ent from most big swing band
Swing music is also great danc
music, not only because it makes th
listener want to dance rather tha
drink themselves silly, but becaus
touching the other partner is an inte
gral part of swing dancing. This is
definite plus.
After meeting in the Scho o
Music, Maschina has also had ai
following in the area. This band'
arrangement is a bit different tha
anything else in the industry. Beside
the usual bass, drums, and vocals i
an extraordinary electronic trumpet
This trumpet player can actuall
make his instrument sound like
guitar if need be. But with such vas
possibilities available, why sc
with the same old sound. Masc '
sound is as difficult to explain s th
trumpet players. They are a vttil
rock band .with influences of-jazz
funk and almost everything else ou
there. Their regional release will b
out in September, so keep your eye
Another band with a very distine
tive sound not heard often in th

music industry is Poignan
Plecostomus. This all-instrumenta
band of five is becoming morel
known each day. Their electroni
piano and violin gives them a dis
tinctive sound. But with those tw
instruments the tendency is to thin
slow and boring. In reality, they pla
very dancable music with a jazzy
funk- like, rock n' roll feel. With
regional release coming in A ugus
and a second album on the wa
these guys are bound to soob
campus favorites. They play th
Bird of Paradise nearly every week
and open for some big names tha
come to town.
The well-established electtoni
rock band Morsol is a definite musi
cal masterpiece. This five membe
band is everything but the typica
five piece band, as they use a flut
and dijuridu to accompany the elec
tronics and vocals. With thre
national releases and one mor u
this fall, Morsol is not so loca an
longer. These guys can even b
checked out on the web. a
http://www.companyhq.cxrn/ morsol
Still haven't found a musical fort
that suits you? How abou
Workhorse? This heavy metal roc
band has led the heavy metal scene i
Ann Arbor for over a year now an
are sure to pave the future pa o
hard rock in Ann Arbor.
Pull out that Grateful Dead shir
and head to a Plum Loco show. Th
hippy side of the Ann Arbor seen
has been promoting their sfirs
album. These four consist -of
bassist, guitar player, a drumme

' F11171i G lil.1\.C 1.7 wrs i fnr Q:'1 n


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