Color Play: the Art and Science of Color
through Sunday, March 17, 2013

This exhibit's centerpiece is the Color Playhouse which beckons children to enter and explore.


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There's something new in each room of the Color Playhouse. In the Yellow Light Room, changing light dramatically transforms all the colors in the room.

Older children will enjoy the Stroop Test. It looks easy-- reading aloud the names of colors printed in the wrong colors! The words are simple to read, but the brain sees the colors, not the words. The Yellow Light Room is the dress up room too, where kids don whimsically colorful Costumes that transform like the walls when the light changes.

Turning the crank in the Black Light Room causes an ultraviolet spotlight to uncover many surprises. An invisible wallpaper pattern, footsteps on the walls and other hidden things appear. Even a plain white shirt literally glows.

The next room is the Rainbow Room. A rotating chandelier makes moving rainbow reflections on the ceiling, which is covered with holographic refraction material. There is also a graphic showing how real rainbows happen.

A row of Color Windows lines one side of the Color Playhouse. Through these windows, Mom, Dad and the rest of the world outside turn green, yellow, red and blue.
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The Neon Swirl is an interactive sculpture that displays many of the bright colors used by neon sign makers. When kids turn a crank the tubes flash on and off in sequence.
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Bright colors appear like magic when kids hold clear plastic objects between the two polarized filters in the Polarized Window. Kids can use ready-made plastic objects or make their own patterns with cellophane and plastic.
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Kids lift a bubble frame to make the Soap Bubble Window and the colors stand out against a solid black background.
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A series of hands-on activities will stimulate sensory awareness. A Prism’s Rainbow introduces the basic science concept that white light is made of colors. Kids move a prism into the path of light from a slit lamp, making a rainbow. When they move a second prism in the path of the rainbow, the rainbow recombines back to white light.
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Color Creations shows visitors how to create new colors by combining transparent plastic pieces.
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Picture Printing shows how colored pictures are printed. Even younger children enjoy rolling out the cyan, magenta, yellow and black transparencies that are used in four color printing and watching a full-color picture appear!
Color Dance invites more active play. Red, green and blue theatrical spotlights form sharply defined circles of light about six feet in diameter. Motor-driven, the lights wander. When they cross, new colors form and children love to dance to the rhythms of the moving lights.
A hands-on exhibit invites children to see themselves in TV Colors. A real television set with a large magnifier in the screen lets children see individual pixels to reinforce what happens when red, green and blue lights mix. Children can see themselves in their polka-dotted costumes and experiment with a color wheel in front of the camera.
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More stations include Pigment Palette, Color Spinners, Color Storm, Big Kaleidoscope and After Images.

Color Play is a joyful, creative exhibit that engages all ages, toddlers through adults. Younger children can simply enjoy the rich sensory experiences it provides, while older children can experiment and investigate, encountering concepts that will inform future experience with science and art.