Art adventures: Arizona Science Center

The Arizona Science Center is currently undergoing expansion

The Arizona Science Center, originally called the Arizona Museum of Science and Technology, opened in 1997 — when my children were all about grade school age.

Rosson House hosts especially charming events during the holiday season

My husband, James, then an attorney with a large Arizona law firm, served on the board of directors for Rosson House, located at what we now know as Heritage and Science Park.

Exploring Heritage and Science Park makes for a great day with family and friends

So we were close to some of the action surrounding the museum’s opening, and among its earliest and most frequent visitors — thanks to its vast offerings of hands-on exhibits and activities of interest to children and adults.

View of the Children's Museum of Phoenix from the entrance to Heritage and Science Park, itself home to several museums

Today the corner on which Rosson House sits is adjacent to several other downtown attractions, including the Children’s Museum of Phoenix (in the historic Monroe School building) and the ASU downtown Phoenix campus.

Like Mesa, Glendale and other Valley cities -- downtown Phoenix is rich in arts and culture

The Arizona Science Center is just blocks from other arts and cultural cornerstones — including the newly renovated Herberger Theater Center, Symphony Hall, the Orpheum Theatre and more.

The ASU downtown Phoenix campus houses programs in nursing, journalism, teaching and more

I hit the Arizona Science Center with my 21-year-old son recently, eager to see how it’s expanding and improving — and excited to explore the “RACE: Are We That Different?” exhibit (there through Jan 2, 2011).

Arizona Science Center visitors are greeted by this giant photo, plus audio recordings of people sharing their definitions of "race"

Our photos don’t do justice to the exhibit, at once comprehensive and accessible, but I hope they’ll inspire you to hit the Arizona Science Center yourself to explore “RACE” and other offerings.

Arizona Science Center visitors walk across this giant world map as they enter the RACE exhibit

"Race," according to exhibit materials, "is a recent human invention."

The RACE exhibit considers controversies surrounding the U.S. Census, and invites visitors to "vote for the census of the future"

The exhibit features a portion of the Declaration of Independence, adopted July 4, 1776 by the Continental Congress

Exhibit images show just how far we sometimes fall from the ideals of our nation's founders

The RACE exhibit features several interactive areas and conversation spaces

This part of the exhibit asks "How do you experience race?" and shares video clips of others sharing their experiences

This Arizona Science Center exhibit invites visitors to ponder the intersection of race and privilege

Have your children ever asked you why so many dolls feature white faces? How might you answer them?

These puppets represent a more accurate picture of humanity -- and children are free to play with them on a large round carpeted space at the center of the RACE exhibit

One wall features pictures of various people with their own handwritten notes about their identity

The RACE exhibit features people telling their own stories about race, inviting Arizona Science Center visitors to consider their own stories

This notebook features children's answers to the question, "How does race affect you at school?"

You'll leave the exhibit wondering how we can all focus less on our perceived differences and more on our common humanity

Having witnessed the Arizona Science Center growing from a new to an expansive museum, I’m reminded again of Phoenix’s growth in arts and culture during the past two decades — and eager to see what we’ll all create together during the next twenty years.

— Lynn

Note: On a sad note, the Phoenix Museum of History — located next to the Arizona Science Center and Rosson House — has closed due to lack of funding. Please don’t take our arts and cultural resources for granted. Your visits, your volunteerism, and your donations are truly critical to keeping them here for our own and future generations.

Coming up: More art adventures — but where will Stage Mom strike next? Send your suggestions to rakstagemom@gmail.com.

Photos by Lynn and Christopher Trimble

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