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Orlando Science Center's Jeff Stanford Says Statues May Not Come Alive at Kids Night at the Museum, But Event Revives Their Mission Post-Pandemic

Photo: Orlando Science Center
Photo: Orlando Science Center

The Orlando Science Center is bringing back its Kids Night at the Museum. 

Kids ages 5 to 12 can spend Saturday evening at the science center doing hands-on activities and taking a campus tour with safety precautions in place.

90.7 WMFE spoke with Vice President of Marketing Jeff Stanford about how events like this are helping the museum adapt to a new normal during the pandemic. 

Read the full conversation. 

Danielle: Tell me a little bit about what you can and can't do at a museum nowadays?

Jeff: There are some time limits on exhibit experiences, we make sure that we take time to do the the hand washing and the hand sanitizing.

There were some areas where we didn't feel we could promote social distancing, so those particular areas are still offline for right now.

For awhile, we didn't do movies. So we figured out you know, how we can now socially distance within the movie theater, but that took some time for us.

We are dealing with smaller capacities now. And we just can't have large groups of people around anymore. So we're focusing on you know, having those smaller groups and a little more individual attention.

Danielle: Can you tell me a little bit about you know why it's still important to have hands-on learning when it comes to science?

Jeff: Science is very much a, it's a certain set of skills that you learn through science, the STEM skills of problem solving and critical thinking and creativity and collaboration. And those are things that you learn by doing.

And so, we do feel there's a great benefit from being on site at the Science Center and doing these activities and having this connection with the staff that you wouldn't normally get in a virtual environment.

Everything is very different now. And I think we're all doing the best that we can. But I think it's also the Science Center is reminded now that our role is to support the community and to supplement what they're learning in schools.

Danielle: Can you tell me a little bit about the socialization aspect and why that's so crucial as well?

Jeff: So the Kids Night at the Museum was really inspired by the success of the summer camp program because we heard from so many families how they really benefited from getting the kids out of the house and back into an environment that everyone felt comfortable with that people knew that the health and safety measures were being enforced.

And so we started to think about what else we could do to support those families.

And so we saw it was important for the kids to be able to be around each other, to be able to interact, to converse, to just have a good time.

And then we also saw that there was an important role that we could play by supporting caregivers as well, because caregivers are stretched really thin like everyone is now but they need a break too.

Danielle: How is the museum doing and are events like this, helping make up for losses? I know you guys were closed for several months.

Jeff: We've really just tried to do what we can to meet the needs head on and we're still moving forward. Our attendance is not what it was prior to the pandemic but it is slowly climbing as people feel more comfortable being outside we continue to promote those health and safety protocols.

You know we we need to follow those guidelines.

We want a quality experience, but one that is focused on health and safety. We want people to come back when they're ready to come back.

Learn more about the event and RSVP here through next Thursday.
If you'd like to listen to the full conversation, click on the clip at the top of the page.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.