Naperville’s DuPage Children’s Museum opens the ‘Wonder Room’ exhibit

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“We’re in the Wonder Room, where children and families have a space to be calm and relaxed,” said Dustin Thacker, Arts & Maker Specialist at the DuPage Children’s Museum. “Maybe if you’re a little overstimulated, you have a place to come to and feel peaceful, while still having a sense of awe and wonder, but in a calm environment.”

DuPage Children’s Museum’s ‘Wonder Room’

The ‘Wonder Room’ exhibit at the DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM) is now open, giving guests a chance to take a breath in a relaxing environment. Video design company, Squawk Productions, and local artist, Rachel Davis, assisted the DCM with the project.

“We have so many exciting exhibits at the DCM, and we noticed the need for people to have a space to be calm and to have a moment of reflection amongst all of the beautiful science and art learning that happens at the museum,” said Thacker.

The ‘Wonder Room’ is for everyone, as it offers a place for the sensory needs of children. 

“As we started to develop this exhibit, we talked with lots of community partners and guests who attended our adaptive play times,” Thacker added. “We heard that they wanted a calm space in the museum, where we could de-escalate it a little bit and find that sense of calm, but also still be inspired and feel a sense of awe.”

“And then through those conversations, we started as a team talking about how to utilize the space the best,” said Thacker. “Coming up with a calm and interactive projection was a challenge because the museum is an exciting place.”

How children interact with the ‘Wonder Room’

“We noticed a lot of children in the museum are tactile, they love to feel things,” said Thacker. “So we came up with the idea to create these tactile sensory panels, and there are six of them in the room, and they’re cool to feel and beautifully made by artists.” 

Some of the sensory panels include rocks, water, flowers, trees, and stars. The picturesque videos can overlay with one another, and children can create plenty of different landscapes. 

“The tactile sensory panels also act as big buttons, that activate the video. So for instance, as you feel the rocks and admire the natural beauty of the screen, the rocks will begin to appear and slowly fade in,” said Thacker.

Also inside the ‘Wonder Room,’ the DCM built a live-edge bench made out of all-natural materials, a sound mural that’s lit to add to the environment while also taking down the noise level, a bookshelf, and squishy seating.

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