So I spent Monday through Thursday of the previous week in class. 9AM to 5PM, with occasional coffee refill breaks (you know how I am about my coffee) and of course time for lunch (you know how I am about eating). But IST 612, alternatively known as Youth Services, was a great class. Can’t underscore that enough. I absolutely loved it minus the parts where I was slightly overwhelmed and I learned entirely too much for my brain to comprehend in 4 days.
So, my new perspectives, ideas, thoughts, and creative quirks have spilled over into real life. Ack! I spent the weekend decompressing and continuing to caffeinate in Rochester, a city that’s right down the thruway/canal. May as well explore while I’m living in Upstate!
So, Friday late afternoon, I found myself at the The Strong. If you glance at their website, you’ll discover that The Strong incorporates several different facets of life and fun and museum-ish things.
- The National Museum of Play!
- International Center for the History of Electronic Games
- National Toy Hall of Fame
Now, in my I need to decompress immediately before my brain collapses state on Friday, I chose to focus most on the National Museum of Play because…well… play. That sounded fun.
And it WAS. I sat on the stoop at 123 Sesame Street. I read children’s books. I built towers of blocks. I drove a stunt racecar using my hands with an XBox Kinect. I organized a laser light show. I tried on superhero capes. I played an electronic harp in the Giant’s kingdom. I discovered a secret door in the Mystery Mansion. I walked through a tilted room to see perspectives change. I saw the Lorax in person!
Short summary: I had a lot of fun. But I learned stuff, too. Which is even more fun. (That’s just how I roll.) But there’s something else that, as a newly-escaped-from-intensive-class-school-media-student, I appreciated all the more.
The public library system of Monroe County has an entire collection at the Strong. The books are located throughout the museum – expect to find graphic novels in the superhero section, and primary-age books on color and letters and numbers in the Sesame Street section, and books of all shapes, sizes, and silliness in the ‘reading adventureland’ section. Kids who don’t have a library card can sign up for one – right there inside the museum – and take books home. Then they can be returned to any library in the whole county system! For those who return often, there’s a book drop at the entrance to the museum.
While I won’t spend enough time giving this idea justice… think about it for a moment. How awesome is that, as an example of how to reach your community? Parents accompany kids to the museum – especially if they’re younger kids – and now, they can combine their fun trip to play with a trip to the library. No extra car seat wrangling involved.
I love it. And it made me quite happy to see it. And my poor boyfriend had to hear about how much I loved it, in between me trying on superhero capes and trying to make them swirl through the air dramatically, so I figured I’d blog it out of my system so I can stop talking about it. What do you think?
(Edit0r’s note: no promises to stop talking about it anytime soon. Also, I spent 4ish hours playing the museum. It’s fantastic. Take your kids, take your self!)