The Muse Knoxville is a not for profit institution and children's museum situated in Knoxville, Tennessee. The museum originally formed in 1960 and was known as the Student’s Museum. Further along the timeline, it changed name to East Tennessee Discovery Center and in 2013 became known as The Muse Knoxville.
Measuring close to 4,000 square feet, the space provides informative, educational and interactive experiences for children of all ages. The Muse runs an extensive range of educational programs and is home to a variety of inside exhibits and an outside play area. The building also contains a gift shop, private meeting room, lunchroom, restrooms, hearing impaired and hearing sensitive resources, and wheelchair accessible public spaces.
Admission fees are applicable for all aside from military personnel, educators, seniors over 65 years of age and children under two enter who enter free of charge. A range of memberships are available to the public with the purchasing of these enabling discounts on a number of services throughout the center. The museum relies on corporate partnerships, capital campaigns, gifts, donations, private events, educational programs, group meetings and community events to maintain the center and raise funds. For private or public events, sign language interpreters can be booked with two weeks notice.
Exhibits and attractions
The Planetarium is Knoxville’s only public access Planetarium. Visitors who enter the Planetarium must be aged 4+ and can see shows every hour although times may change due to Field Trip Programs. The shows are played through the Warped Media Full Dome Projection System. Shows are 20 - 40 minutes long and each video has an age certification. An example of this is Rust Rocket’s Last Blast, certified for children of seven years of age and older. Subjects in the videos range from black holes, electromagnetic spectrums, how telescopes work, stars, planets and other space related topics.
A further space exhibit is the Discovery Shuttle which is open to children of all ages. The shuttle has an entry door and once inside children can discover the inner workings of shuttles with interactive displays, hands on buttons, levels and screens. There is a cockpit, foam seating and windows with a view of stars throughout this spacious exhibit.
The Make Space is an exhibit which involves team work, creativeness and parents and children designing together. The exhibit is on rotation and changes crafts and activities frequently. Another creative and construction based exhibit is The Build Space. The Build Space is a soft play area with multicoloured soft shapes and toys which encourages the practice of engineering, balance and design with the shapes. Children can use the area to use a variety of testing areas and construction materials.
The Live Smart! Stay Well exhibit helps children to learn about food, health, the weighing of food on scales and nutrition. Full of grocery items to be felt, picked up and looked at, the area also has a set of large weighing scales to use, a play area, fenced in area for children still crawling and a series of areas with tills and toy money. The STEM station is an obstacle course for children's minds. The area is for children of 8 years plus and involves activities which have multiple outcomes and rely on the inquisitive nature of children to channel learning. The area is on rotation and often changes the activities.
Further attractions are the car lego ramp for children of all ages and a comfy play area for children who want to read and relax. The museum also has baby changing area next to the restrooms as well as hooks for coats and two aquariums with a range of fish, ecosystems and information plaques.Outside is a huge play area with slides, monkey bars, a climbing wall and other features. There is also the Science Garden and a floor map of the solar system.
Ongoing programs and education
The muse has a variety of educational programs which run throughout the year. Field Trips can be booked ahead for school groups by an educator. The themes are Garden We Grow, Live Smart! Play Smart!, Be Well and Planetarium on Demand and are suited to specific school grades. The Muse also designs school programs for single classroom groups in the form of its Outreach Program. Homeschool Tuesdays for Grades 5 to Kindergarten allows for a series of lessons taught on certain topics at the museum including STEM exploration and Chemistry of Water. Muse Mondays sees a weekly calendar full of sensory activities, craft projects and stories at Muse Stage too.
A program for families is STEM nights where members of the public can go to The Muse for two hours of programming from the museum’s educators. The event is open to 150 people and has in the past included activities involving art, math, engineering, science and technology. Many other programs are in place as well as Youth Programs involving the Teen Advisory Committee and Youth Service Opportunities.
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516 I St, Knoxville,TN 37914, website, Phone: 865-594-1494