Longview WOW children’s museum adds new Hardware Store exhibit

Longview WOW children’s museum adds new Hardware Store exhibit
Longview World of Wonders children museum has a new exhibit called the Hardware Store. If features a tactile play area that includes lock-and-key sets, light switches and levers (Source: Arthur Clayborn/KLTV)

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - A new exhibit at Longview World of Wonders lets children experience items commonly found in a hardware store.

Ashley Perkins, the assistant director of Longview WOW, tells KLTV the structure for the Hardware Store exhibit was gifted to the museum by the City of Longview.

“It was originally the calaboose, which was part of the Longview sesquicentennial celebrations,” Perkins said.

The calaboose — a drunk tank or detox cell used in the old days — was built by the East Texas Builders Association and Mobbs Builders.

“Since we are a nonprofit, we always appreciate any partnerships with our local organizations and generous donations,” Perkins said.

After some discussion about how to best use the structure, Perkins said doing a hardware store exhibit was a way to connect the new exhibit with existing exhibits, which include a house and a marketplace.

And, Perkins tells us the exhibit has been a hit with kids.

“Especially going through, wearing a hard hat, playing dress-up, going through that creative play,” she said. “You’ll see some kids come here in and grab tools and go over to the house and try to fix things. So, even though you think they’re just playing, they’re actually mimicking what they see in real life, and they’re also applying what they learn. This collaboration provided a new hands-on learning experience for them.”

As with all of the exhibits at Longview WOW, Perkins said the Hardware Store was built with play and learning in mind. The tactile play area includes levers, lock-and-key sets and light switches.

“Through a hardware store, a lot of the nuts and bolts and manipulatives that a child would play with, they’ll be able to expand their gross motor and fine motor skills,” Perkins said. “This is a way to capitalize on that within the center.”

The Hardware Store exhibit is open to the public. Longview WOW is open 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Click here for more information about Longview WOW.

Anyone 10 years old or older is required to wear a mask. All patrons are asked to wash their hands upon entry.

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