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Museum of Life and Science
Hideaway WoodsAn artist's rendition of Gateway Park, leading into Hideaway Woods
The Museum of Life and Science has announced plans for a $3.9 million initiative to build two new outdoor learning environments on the museum's 84-acre campus.
The Climbing Higher capital campaign has been met with enthusiasm and support from community partners, including Durham County — commissioners approved a lead gift of $500,000. The campaign has also received unanimous support from the Museum’s Board of Directors, who together have pledged 10% of the total goal.
“It’s an exciting next step in a rich history of growth for the museum,” Tracey Martin, president of the museum’s Board of Directors, said in a press release. “We have an outstanding team of volunteer leaders, exhibit developers and visionary donors who are coming together to bring this project to life.”
The museum, which is known for innovative hands-on exhibits and unique natural learning environments, is planning to add two expansions — Hideaway Woods, a two-acre, forested learning environment, and Earth Moves, an interactive approach to Earth sciences — that will encourage children and their families to interact with science and nature in new ways.
“We are creating a one-of-a-kind place that encourages children’s playful exploration of nature,” Barry Van Deman, president and CEO of the museum, said in a press release. “We believe children and their parents should have a safe, natural and wonder-filled place to come where they are free to explore, climb, crawl and use their imaginations.”
Hideaway Woods is set to open summer 2015, Earth Moves in 2016. Hideaway Woods will feature treehouse villages perched 15 to 20 feet off the ground, connected by suspension bridges. The exhibit will also include living twig and sapling structures designed by artist Patrick Dougherty that will invite games of hide-and-seek.
Earth Moves aims to immerse museum guests in Earth sciences. Exhibit visitors will experience how the Earth moves by natural forces and human interaction. Highlights include a large-scale digger pit with full-size excavators and an earthquake platform that challenges visitors to build structures that can survive simulated seismic activity. A free-standing waterfall will showcase water’s movement and force, and will be an ideal spot for visitors to cool off on hot summer days.
Additional information regarding the Climbing Higher campaign, including complete project renderings, can be found here.