Blueprints to Curiosity

Coming renovations in the children’s area at the Smoky Hill Museum will reshape the way generations look at – and interact with history.

When finished, “The Curiosity Shop” will boast over 20 interactive activities that will be spread across five distinct spaces.

Josh Morris, Curator of Exhibits at the museum tells KSAL News that he’s working on a Kansas Weather Room that will bring the sound and feel of a tornado to visitors.

“You’ll hear actual KSAL footage of them tracking storms and as that reaches its’ zenith then the lights go out and it will be a theatrical experience of going through a tornado in a basement,” Morris said.

The hands-on interactive areas include; “The World of Radio,” a place to connect with present-day audio files in 1930’s era studio, “Town Building,” students will have RC tools and vehicles to build Salina’s Post Office from 1938, “Kansas Weather,” a place to find a tornado tube and lighting balls, “The Dirty 30’s” clubhouse will have items and replicas from that time to surround visitors, “Tot Area,” anchored by a 4 by 8-foot Light Bright board to play with.

According to Museum Director Susan Hawksworth, 88-percent of the projected $421,000 budget has been raised by private donors with public monies being used only to pay for staff time, equipment and facility maintenance.

Hawksworth added that the bidding process for the construction begins this Friday with plans for construction to begin in December.

Museum’s Curator of Education, Nona Miller tells KSAL News they are hoping the new Curiosity Shop will be open by mid-June for the Smoky Hill River Festival.

“We want this to be a place where people can connect with each other and connect with Salina and connect with the past,” Miller said.