9. RHODE ISLAND MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND ART

explore3_main
THE EXPLORATORIUM

Bonnie Epstein's push for a Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art was inspired by a visit to San Francisco's Exploratorium — a colorful riot of interactive exhibits that test visitors' tiptoeing prowess and teach them how to turn a pickle into a battery.

But for Epstein — a scientist, former New England Aquarium administrator, and mother of young children — there is a larger motivation at work, too. A concern about how the 21st Century child is learning.

"A lot of people are turning toward the virtual," she says, "so much so that children don't get to play with the actual."

The "actual" will be very much at the heart of RIMOSA, which aims to unite the scientist's and artist's penchant for curiosity and experimentation in a series of hands-on, open-ended exhibits for kids who have graduated from the Providence Children's Museum.

RIMOSA is, at the moment, a "pop-up" museum, with small, portable exhibits showing up at cultural events like AS220's Foo Fest and WaterFire. In March, Epstein et al. hope to place a wall of gears — developed with assistance from Hasbro designers — at the Slater Mill's Visitor Center in Pawtucket.

But the long-term goal is to raise more than $5 million, open a permanent space, and perhaps buy a few pickles.

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