New museum expected to combat dwindling creativity

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Museum of Natural Curiosity_1
A rendering of what the museum will look like once it is completed this spring. (Courtesy Thanksgiving Point)

Millions have watched “Will it Blend?” videos on YouTube, where Blendtec’s CEO, Tom Dickson, tosses bizarre items into a blender. Action figures, smartphones and even a skeleton have been successfully ground to dust. But recently, Dickson blended two different kinds of things to entertain the public: creativity and imagination.

Utah Valley will welcome a new $28 million museum at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi this spring called The Museum of Natural Curiosity. Dickson is one of many donors to the museum and has pledged $2 million toward the project.

Some wonder what led to the decision to build such a museum in Lehi.

“Lehi was a natural fit because the location of Thanksgiving Point is focused on the family and on education,” Dickson said, in an email response. “The problem with our society is we do not offer many places for children to enhance existing and develop new desires for learning or to express their creativity.”

Dickson said the Museum of Natural Curiosity will be a great alternative for children instead of “creativity-killing forms of entertainment.”

The Museum of Natural Curiosity will have more than 150 hands-on exhibits, featuring activities that will challenge not only mental but also physical abilities. Children will be able to learn about a variety of topics such as energy, weather, ecosystems and music.

There will be five main exhibit areas throughout the building. One of the areas, the Children’s Discovery Garden, will be a place where children can journey through a hedgerow maze and learn about cave formations. The Garden’s Archimedes Playground will teach lessons about science and motion.

“The museum is not so much about role playing but about being active and having actual experiences,” said Erica Brown, vice president of marketing for Thanksgiving Point.

“Utah Valley has one of the youngest populations in the U.S.,” Brown said. She explained that one of the purposes of the museum is to respond to rising concerns about the decline in child creativity and to help kids get outside and be engaged.

Cally Flox, program director for the BYU Arts partnership, an initiative for getting more arts programs into schools, talked about what married college students can do to help their children remain creative during the busy school year.

“They should play imagination games with their kids,” Flox said.

She also said it really helps when parents act out plays and stories with their children that stimulate imaginative thinking.

The museum can also be a great resource for married students with children, according to Dickson.

“It will allow for hours of fun for the kids and will be budget friendly for the student parents,” he said.

Since curiosity and creativity are not just meant for children, the Museum of Natural Curiosity will aim to be a source of creative learning for people of all ages.

The museum is still seeking $200,000 to fund the project. For more information about The Museum of Natural Curiosity or how to donate, visit http://www.museumofnaturalcuriosity.org/.

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