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Mid-America Science Museum is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and the festivities kick off Jan. 19 with a few nods to its history.

"On Jan. 19, we will have throwback pricing," said Diane LaFollette, executive director of the museum. "General admission to the museum will be $4 per person and the Tesla Theater shows will be only $1. We are also launching our annual campaign, 'The 1979 Society.' Donors who give to this campaign will receive special benefits throughout the year."

There will also be a Mid-America Science Museum Memory Wall located in the Marvelous Motion Gallery next to the Peanut Fountain exhibit, she said.

"Mounted on this wall are several vintage photos from the past 40 years, some of which have notable figures in them from Mid-America's past," LaFollette said. "We are encouraging guests to share their fondest memories that they've had at the museum on this wall by writing on Post-it notes that we have made available nearby. Many guests enjoy sharing memories they have of traveling exhibits and programs that have taken place here over the past 40 years."

Educators will hold a new throwback tinkering activity every week in the museum's Alliance Rubber Company Tinkering Studio and there will be weekly throwback social media posts to highlight the museum's past.

"We have found numerous photos taken throughout the years and we are having some of them blown up and installed in the galleries," she said. "Guests will be able to stand at certain vantage points and see what the museum looked like the day it opened. Believe or not, we still have some of the exhibits that have been on display for several years. We are placing signs on these exhibits which will note some history of these exhibits as well as when they were first placed in the museum."

Another exciting activity that day, she said, will be the Oaklawn Foundation Digital Dome's new, fully immersive show -- Global Soundscapes: Mission to Record the Earth.

"Global Soundscapes: Mission to Record the Earth takes viewers on an immersive ear-opening journey into the science of sound and the emerging field of soundscape ecology," LaFollette said. "Guests can discover what soundscapes tell us about the health of our planet as viewers learn about tools that scientists use to record and analyze sounds, explore basic acoustics through interactive activities and watch incredible slow-motion footage of pulsating musical instruments, vibrating vocal chords, and more. Mid-America Science Museum is one of nine museums in the country and one of 13 in the entire world that will be showing Global Soundscapes."

The day's events serve as the first of several dates in the works to celebrate this milestone in the museum's history.

"Mid-America Science Museum first opened its doors to the public beginning in January 1979, which is why we're hosting this year's anniversary kickoff on Saturday, Jan. 19," she said. "The museum is currently planning more events to take place throughout the year to celebrate its 40 years of bringing science education to the community and visitors to Hot Springs."

LaFollette said the museum was dedicated by then-Gov. Bill Clinton on April 22, 1979.

"To mark that date, we are hosting a special 'interactive' party at the museum in which we will invite all donors who have contributed at least $1,979 to our annual donation campaign by then," she said. Anyone who would like to contribute so that they can attend this party may contact Harmony Morrissey at, call the museum or go online to make a contribution of at least $1,979.

On Sept. 26, there will be a grand rededication ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary that will be held in the new exhibition gallery.

"We will have hands-on science activities, a special keynote speaker and we will honor community members who have contributed to the success of Mid-America Science Museum over the past 40 years," LaFollette said.

The new exhibition gallery is on track to open Labor Day weekend, she said.

City voters approved issuing up to $2 million in bonds to fund construction of the 7,000-square-foot facility in a Sept. 11 special election, to be repaid using revenues from the existing 3-cent advertising and promotion tax on prepared food and lodging inside the city.

The Hot Springs Board of Directors on Oct. 30 authorized the private placement of a $1,575,000 bond issue. As of Dec. 13, about $1.5 million needed for the project had been secured by the city of Hot Springs.

LaFollette said in December the museum plans to break ground on the project in March.

"Additionally, this year's Taste of the Holidays will be the 20th annual event and we thought it would be fun to make it a throwback party with a '70s twist."

Local on 01/12/2019

Print Headline: Museum kicks off anniversary with throwback events

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