Interactive Dennos favorite restored for new generation
EASTERN ELEMENTARY KINDERGARTEN TEACHER KATHLEEN FERGUSON COMPOSES MUSIC ON THE RESTORED SOUND WALL WITH HER STUDENTS DURING A FIELD TRIP TO THE DENNOS MUSEUM CENTER.
“Please touch” has always been the rule in The Dennos Museum Center’s Discovery Gallery. Thanks to the donorfunded restoration of a signature piece, the sound wall, decades of future visitors will get to observe that rule.
In March, 75 Eastern Elementary kindergarten students were among the first large groups to compose their own music on the wall when they visited on a field trip. The theme for their trip was art and how it affects emotions. With the sound wall, one emotion was abundantly clear, said teacher Kathleen Ferguson, right. “You could see the joy in their faces when they were exploring and discovering the different sounds,” she said. “The children were drawn to it.” Ferguson was, too.
“I highly recommend it for any age. I found myself mesmerized by it,” she said.
That’s by design. The Dennos wants to be known as a family-friendly, intergenerational destination, and the sound wall is a great example, director Craig Hadley said. A fundraising campaign last year raised more than $30,000 to restore the wall, installed in the early 1990s. Over the winter, museum staff disassembled, sanded and painted each piece, testing it with every new coat of paint to make sure all the components worked. NMC IT staff replaced the computer, and Milliken Audio Technician Maria Ulrich wired new speakers and repaired the sound board. Even better, Ferguson received a scholarship for the trip, so admission for all 75 students was completely covered. “We were able to experience the whole museum,” she said. “It was beautiful. The children, at such a young age, were so engaged.” N
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