Displays will boost Kid Time!

Interactive fishing boat, old-time town are among the attractions aimed at teaching Northwest history
Exhibit manager Ed Grant works on assembling a wooden boat at Kid Time! Discovery Experience in Medford, which received displays through a Seattle museum.Julia Moore

Kid Time! Discovery Experience in downtown Medford plans to create a new exhibit with displays from Seattle museums that filled a 60-foot semitrailer.

The displays were donated by the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle through the Seattle Children's Museum, which has a close relationship with the Medford museum.

How to help

Anyone interested in volunteering to help assemble new displays at Kid Time! Discovery Experience are encouraged to visit the museum's website at http://kid-time.snappages.com or call 541-772-9922 for more information.

Kid Time! Director Sunny Spicer said it would have taken at least $150,000 to create such a display. But the donation created its own demand for resources — both financial and human — as the Medford children's center works to install the displays.

Spicer estimates it will take a year to complete construction of the new exhibit, and the museum is looking for community volunteers to donate time or materials.

The displays were a favorite of visitors at the Washington museum, Spicer said. They include a large interactive fishing boat in which children can "fish," weigh their catch, distinguish colors and even read books inside.

The boat adds another layer to families' activity options, said Spicer. "This boat's big enough for adults to walk around inside," she said.

Another display resembles an old town and includes a barber shop, boarding house, bank and a church, among other buildings. All pieces are designed to teach the children about the history of the Pacific Northwest.

"All of what we do is about early learning and interactive learning and making sure kids are ready for school," she said. Children visiting Kid Time! are typically age 8 and younger.

The museum also is working to incorporate information from the Southern Oregon Historical Society, which shares its building, to further educate parents and children about the Rogue Valley.

"Children should have a basic understanding of what makes this valley such a great place to be," said board member Andy Batzer of Batzer Construction in Medford.

Batzer strongly believes in the educational component offered in the museum, both for the child and the parent, as well as having parent play time with the child. He looks to studies of early childhood development as well as his own children as proof of the importance of what he calls "creative play."

"To have children with creative minds is the key to solving problems in our society," said Batzer.

Spicer said the museum draws 50,000 visitors every year. Some children visit repeatedly, sometimes as frequently as weekly or daily.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help assemble the displays are encouraged to visit the museum's website at http://kid-time.snappages.com or call 541-772-9922 for more information.

Kid Time! is at 106 N. Central Ave. in Medford. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Shannon Houston is a Southern Oregon University intern. Reach her at news@mailtribune.com.

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