A new traveling exhibit at the Koch Family Children’s Museum of Evansville gives children a chance to try their hand at fishing, building campfires and rock climbing.
On Monday, the Downtown museum, popularly known as cMoe, officially opened Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl Home Sweet Home, an exhibit that focuses on the outdoors and environmental themes in both natural and urban areas.
Created by the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in Milwaukee, Wis., the exhibit is in Evansville through Jan. 29.
The Smokey/Woodsy exhibit is the largest traveling exhibit that cMoe has hosted since the museum opened five years ago.
Stephanie Terry, the museum’s executive director, said traveling exhibits are important for any museum because they can help lure both new and repeat visitors.
“A lot of times a visitor comes and they really won’t come back because they don’t see anything new here,” Terry said.
One challenge that museums face: Hosting a traveling exhibit is not cheap.
Vectren recently gave cMoe a $50,000 grant. Of that amount, $25,000 pays the rental fee for the Smokey/Woodsy exhibit.
Vectren Foundation President Jeff Whiteside said Vectren was pleased to sponsor the exhibit because it fits in with the company’s environmental stewardship efforts.
Terry said Alcoa also gave cMoe a $20,000 grant, and a portion of that money will cover transportation costs for schools that bring student groups on museum field trips.
The exhibit incorporates forest pals Smokey and Woodsy into a range of hands-on activities for children ages 2 to 8.
Visitors, for instance, can climb into a miniature rowboat and grab a fishing pole in hopes of catching a fabric-covered fish.
They can also put on a puppet show featuring Smokey and other forest creatures, listen to radio messages in a fire tower and explore a kitchen stocked with cans, bottles and other recyclable materials.