“We are proud to have had children involved throughout the exhibit creation process, from the initial brainstorming of what could fit the space to the more extensive development of which components could fit the theme,” said Director of Operations Mike Mogard.
The Kidoodle Council Youth Advisory Board got a first look at the exhibit and helped plan the grand opening.
Two members of Kidoodle Council take part in a vote for the next exhibit space.
Through drawings and more children helped to explore different exhibit ideas.
Whiskers & Tails resembles a real-life veterinary office and features a reception desk, tools such as stethoscopes and otoscopes, a place to examine x-rays, kennels, a scale, a variety of animal books, and plush animals ready to be cared for.
“What surprised me most about the new exhibit is that they have a lot of real things that actually happen in a veterinary clinic like for example they have x-rays that you can look at and try to find what’s wrong with the animal,” said guest Kilea Moore.
Kilea is part of the museum’s Kidoodle Council Youth Advisory Board, which was instrumental in bringing the exhibit to fruition. The group helped to brainstorm ideas on what should happen with the space using the Museum’s exhibit goals, such as making it hands-on, collaborative, and engaging, as a lens.
What's Your Favorite Part of Whiskers & Tails?
Guests share their impressions of Whiskers & Tails.
Mogard continued his research in classrooms in Watertown, SD, and Brookings, SD, during Educator for a Day events.
“We had a lot of great ideas of exhibits to include,” said Mogard. “But the veterinary office was selected because of the empathy piece. Guests bring their personal experiences to the space, whether it is a pet of their own or a pet that they wish for. It’s fun to see how people play and use the space.”
The new exhibit also affected other areas in the museum. For example, the Post Office has a new delivery address and Market Fresh Grocery now stocks dog and cat treats. And for those who were hoping the Nintendo Wii would stick around, it is now located in the Sensations Gallery.
“This is the first permanent exhibit that we have fabricated completely in-house,” said Mogard. “Our Maintenance Manager Mark Schultz worked through a lot of problem-solving opportunities. Building it during a pandemic, working through shipping schedules, in addition to making things kid friendly and durable to meet 100,000 guests a year has been a rewarding learning experience.”
Take a tour of the exhibit via Instagram Reels and then make plans to come and visit!
Want to take care of your furry friend in Whiskers & Tails?