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Flint museum’s $26M overhaul aims to better engage children

July 6, 2019

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A science-and-history museum in Flint is undergoing a roughly $26 million renovation to create more hands-on activities for children.

The project is expanding the Sloan Museum of Discovery to better engage visitors with interactive exhibits. The plans include a new science center, early childhood exhibit and an automotive gallery with rotating exhibits of classic cars.

Todd Slisher, the museum’s executive director, said the goal is to cater to a younger audience, which is mostly comprised of children.

“Really only 20% of our audience is a strict adult audience,” he said.

Slisher said interactive experiences improve children’s learning. He hopes the changes get children excited about science, history and technology.

“It’s really important in getting them that spark, that ‘aha’ moment,” Slisher said.

He added that Flint, in particular, needs “stronger educational opportunities for our children.”

The museum is seeking input from the community for the new exhibits. Officials have held focus groups and met with local organizations about the changes to the space.

“We want to make sure we’re telling everyone’s story and that everyone is included in the museum,” Slisher said.

The project is almost fully funded. Officials will need to raise about $4 million more to cover the renovation costs.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said she’s confident the revamped museum will encourage children to absorb more knowledge.

“They’re going to be learning and they’re not going to even know that they’re learning,” Weaver said. “This will be world class and it’s right in our own backyard.”

The museum held a groundbreaking ceremony in June. Officials expect the museum to reopen in 2021.

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