Preparing for sandbox launch at the Hall

The Lawrence Hall of Science (“the Hall”) staff has been busily preparing its Shaping Watersheds exhibit for prime time. The Hall shop staff did a wonderful job customizing and adding key modifications: re-locating the ‘Drain’ button for improved ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access, adding a transparent lid and new frame to enable two modes of use (facilitated and unfacilitated), and adding a USB port in the former location of the original drain switch. The USB port allows a keyboard to be connected to access the computer within the cabinetry.

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A modified version of the ‘Shaping Watersheds’ exhibit is installed at the Lawrence Hall of Science. The modifications include improved ADA access and a removable, facilitation-flexible lid. A small stepping stool (seen in bottom left) allows little visitors to access the sandbox bin.

Once those modifications were complete, the exhibit was installed in its new home, the Hall’s Science on a Sphere room. The Hall staff worked with the UC Davis technical team to calibrate the exhibit for optimum performance, with the modifications and new location. This experience provided a good test to explore whether sandbox software upgrades and technical support can be provided remotely.

Lawrence Hall of Science staff Frank Kusiak (center) and Graham Patterson (right) and Exploratorium staff Chris Dang (foreground) calibrate the exhibit, with remote assistance from UC Davis technical expert Burak Yikilmaz (via Skype).
Lawrence Hall of Science staff Frank Kusiak (center) and Graham Patterson (right) and Exploratorium staff Chris Dang (foreground) calibrate the exhibit, with remote assistance from UC Davis technical expert Burak Yikilmaz (via Skype).

Since its installation, the Hall staff have been testing the sandbox with small groups of visitors, training adult volunteers as facilitators, and drafting a facilitator’s guide based on the lessons learned. We’re gearing up to make a public launch of the exhibit soon!

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