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SEP-OCT 2016

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Page 56 of 77 55 S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 M A K E G R E A T S T O P S veryone knows that museums have galleries full of informa- tion, artifacts and artwork. But some of the best experi- ences that museums have to offer take place outside the galleries. Throughout the Grand Central states, museum administrators have created facilities and programs that draw visitors in more deeply than do simple exhibits. Whether itís an interac- tive, hands-on program, a first-rate restaurant or a high-tech theater with a multimedia program, these museums use every tool at their disposal to thrill and teach groups. Hutchinson, Kansas The race into space dominated the news for decades and pitted the United States and the Soviet Union in a battle of technology and sheer determination. Cosmosphere tells that story like no other place with the largest collection of combined rocket and space artifacts in the world. "We pride ourselves on being the only museum that tells the space program story in chronological order, which is unusual," said Janet Fischer, the museum's group sales manager. "It goes back to World War II early rocket technology and continues to the space programs of the two nations, including our Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, and us being the first on the moon. Then it gets into the International Space Station." The museum has four distinct sections. The popular Hall of Space has all the cool space equipment. "We're preserving history," said Fischer. "You can read about these things but not really experience them unless you see actual spacecrafts." Justice Planetarium has a state-of-the-art digital projector that will expand the minds and delight the senses of group members who grab a seat inside. Dr. Goddard's Lab is dedicated to the father of modern rocketry, Robert Goddard, and is an "explosive" inter- active show. The Carey Digital Dome Theater screens special f ilms and documentaries. Groups can arrange their own activi- ties, such as attending a seminar on the challenges of living in space presented by a space science educator, or constructing paper space rockets and launching them. "These experience are customized, and not on the daily schedule for the public," said Fischer. Cosmosphere also arranges corporate team building and leadership training. Employee groups attend half-day or a full-day sessions designed especially for them. The sessions will reinforce employees' problem-solving skills, instill confidence and improve communication. Little Rock, Arkansas With more than 90 hands-on exhibits and ever-changing program- ming, the Museum of Discovery is a great destination for any group visiting the capital of Arkansas. What group members see and do is strictly up to them. "It depends on what a group wants," said Kendall Thornton, chief marketing officer for the museum. "Groups can come in and get a tour of the facility. But we also offer special programming for groups. That's when they come into our theater and enjoy a science show with one of our educators." b y D a n D i c k s o n The Chickasaw Cultural Center features indoor exhibits and outdoor gardens.

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