Miami Children’s Museum has a new permanent exhibit, “My Green Home,” designed to educate children and their families about energy efficiency (sun, wind, water) in and around a modern-style house. It opened to the public Aug. 1.
The 300-square-foot exhibit, designed by New York-based Lee Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership, sports a roof wind turbine, insulation, infrared camera (a monitor shows kids the heat being released from their own bodies) and a mockup of an electric car, which children can charge to learn about battery power and distances. The exhibit also focuses on the use of recyclable and renewable materials.
“My Green Home” replaces a previous exhibit that identified various architectural styles.
“This exhibit is about things being built smart. It’s better for kids to see a house of the future instead of the past,” said Lucia Williams, director of Museum Experiences. “Although this exhibit is small, it’s chock-full of information, and serves as a launch pad for teachers and guardians to start speaking with their children about green energy.
Williams said the museum is also offering “green programming” to complement the exhibit.
“We’ve been having children build solar ovens to bake chocolate chip cookies as well as teaching kids about how common materials such as jeans and bamboo can be recycled and reused. It’s relevant and doable.”
In addition, the museum has retrofitted its own facility to become greener. Most of the building’s interior lighting has been replaced with energy-efficient LED lights; a 1 ½ inch-thick roof coating — featuring foam used in freezer insulation — has been installed, and the museum’s new exterior paint contains an insulating additive.
According to Williams, these changes have helped the museum save about $40,000 in electricity costs during the past year.
Funding for the retrofitting and the My Green Home exhibit was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Miami Children’s Museum plans to install solar panels on its roof in the future, and a panel in My Green Home will monitor the amount of energy being harnessed.
The Museum is at 980 MacArthur Causeway, on Watson Island. Regular admission costs $14 for Florida adults and children ($18 for nonresidents). The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. For details, call 305-373-5437 or visit www.miamichildrensmuseum.org.