Any child who thinks museums are boring will have that notion well and truly shattered following a visit to Imaginosity, a new museum in Dublin which is sure to enthrall anyone aged between one and, well, ninety-one!
Imaginosity is not a museum of childhood – with displays of toys from yesteryear – but a museum for children, an vital distinction. It is a richly interactive experience, where children can move freely, engaging in role play activities and experiencing things for themselves.
They’ll be learning as they go, but they won’t notice it!
Featured image by nathaniel s
A Journey of the Imagination
The central feature inside the museum is a soaring climbing tower, where children climb up to a high tree house, passing though a ship, a wizard’s lair, Rapunzel’s castle and a rocket as they do so. On the rooftop there is a spongy floored playground, with spectacular views over Dublin and out to the Irish sea.
Elsewhere there is a small world to explore. In the doctor’s surgery a huge drum will beat in time to your heart when touched; in the bank you can try your hand at a little safe cracking, while for the younger and less criminally inclined picking apples or planting vegetables in a velcro garden can provide hours of amusement.
A supermarket with working old fashioned scales and cash registers is cleverly designed to teach kids about making good nutritional choices while they shop or operate the checkout.
Theatre & Art
There is an art studio, where it is planned that there will be special events and exhibitions and an artist in residence programme, and a theatre, with squashy child sized beanbag seats, will have regular performances.
The more technologically minded can go to work in the television studio, where they will be filmed while reading the evening news from an autocue or hone their skills as camera or sound operators.
The Museum Building
The glass fronted building, which is bright, airy and colourful, stands on stilts over water and was built on a scale and to a design intended to appeal to and to work for children rather than adults.
A central part of a visit is learning about the environmental principles underlying its design, again in a fun way. By following a badger’s paw prints through the building, up to his lair on the roof where he can be seen sleeping peacefully, children learn about the the green technology behind the museum.
Ultra thick insulation, extensive use of wind and solar energy, natural air conditioning and a structure that ‘breathes’ mean that the building is expected to have extremely low running costs.
The museum, which is open seven days a week all year round, is located at the Plaza, Beacon South Quarter, Sandyford, Dublin 18. The easiest way to get there from central Dublin is by Luas, taking the Red line to Stillorgan. The numbers 114, 75, 46B and 11A bus also pass close by. There is ample parking for those who drive.