Tinkerfest today at the Museum of Discovery

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Tinkering, a popular activity that is a key component of the nationwide “Maker Movement,” takes place every day in the Museum of Discovery’s Tinkering Studio.

Once a year at Tinkerfest, tinkering takes over the entire museum and neighboring streets for a day-long event with more than 40 hands-on, interactive activities. Each activity engages children and adults, teaches visitors how everyday objects such as cars and computers work, and provides opportunities to explore the engineering and science behind building objects.

Check out the planned list of Tinkerfest activities:
(Activities subject to change; * Denotes an activity excellent for toddlers)

  • Meet 501st Legion (Star Wars Characters)
  • String Petting Zoo with Arkansas Symphony Orchestra
  • Circuit Blocks with Southwest Power Pool
  • Robotics with Museum of Discovery’s Girls in STEM Robotics Team
  • Tech Take-Apart with Best Buy
  • *Sensory Station with The Discovery Network
  • Chain Reactions with Garver
  • Soap Sculptures with Mid America Science Museum
  • Phenakistoscopes with Science Museum Oklahoma
  • *Tinkering with Food with Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center
  • Rope Making with Kenneth Matoka
  • Robot Demos with Harding Robotics Team
  • Airplane Design and Testing with Dassault Falcon Jet
  • *Wind Tunnels
  • Balloon Maze
  • Plastic Panel Polygons
  • Custom Stamp Making
  • LEGO Shape Matching
  • LEGO Linkages
  • LEGO Rovers
  • Stop Motion Animation with Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources
  • Artificial Intelligence with Central High Computer Science Club
  • *Sand Pendulums
  • Tapestry Table Weaving and Vine Making
  • Chromatography Flowers
  • Water Rockets
  • *Wind Twirlers
  • *Simple Machines Busy Board
  • Acrylic Sculptures with Mr. Plastic
  • Tinkering with Wax with Galley Support Innovations
  • Drones with Central AR FPV Experience
  • Vacuum Play with Welspun
  • Making with Arkansas Innovation Hub
  • *Wrenches, Nuts and Bolts Exploration with Baldwin & Shell
  • Giant Linker Logs
  • *Sanding and Rasping
  • Car Take Apart
  • Solar Powered Scribble Bots
  • Solar Panels with Entegrity
  • *Percussion Playground
  • Flappy Arm Inflatable Machine
  • Engraving Dog Tags and Wood Slices
  • Pyrography (Wood Burning Art)
  • Marble Art Nail Polish
  • *Sensory Sand with Arkansas Autism Foundation
  • *Pegboard Pixel Art
  • *Mega Murals of Materials
  • *Water Play with Cascading Water
  • *Water Play with Troughs
  • *Water Play with Water Tower and PVC Pipes
  • *Water Play with Water Walls

Tinkerfest is included in regular museum admission ($10 for adults and $8 for children) or free for members.

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Tinkering and Drinkering at Science After Dark tonight at the Museum of Discovery!

Image may contain: textGet a preview of Tinkerfest 2019 at tomorrow night’s Science After Dark: Tinkering and Drinkering from 6 – 9 p.m. Admission is only $5 or free for members. Here are all the tinkering and making activities you can enjoy with a drink in your hand:
Wind Tunnel Flying Machines
Fairy Houses
Plastic Panel Polygons
Historic Quilling – Old State House Museum
Cardboard Guitars – Old State House Museum
Sewing 101
Wood Cinging (Pyrography)
Native American Tools – The State Parks of Arkansas
Hydrobot Arms
Aluminum Can WWI Trench Art – MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
Free Tesla Shows at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Gondola Design and Zip Lines
Shrinky Dinks
Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub
Large Linker Logs
Needle Felting
Perler Beads
Game Goblins
LEGO Windup Critters and Linkages
Zoetropes & Kaleidoscopes
Chain Reaction

Be sure to bring an appetite to purchase food from our presenting sponsor Fassler Hall Little Rock as well as Damgoode Pies. Sponsors Stone’s Throw Brewing and Rock Town Distillery will also sell beer and cocktails! Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at https://sales.museumofdiscovery.org/generaladmission.aspx. You must be at least 21 to enter.

Museum of Discovery closed to public on Tuesday, August 27 for building repairs

The Museum of Discovery will be closed on Tuesday, August 27, 2019.

The closing is the result of a repair to the museum’s main air conditioning unit that requires all of the air units to be shut down for two days. The museum will reopen Wednesday, August 28.

The staff apologizes for the inconvenience!
Additional cooling units have been brought in for the museum’s animal residents to insure they remain healthy and happy. As always, the animals will remain under the care and supervision of the museum’s animal care team.

LR Movies Monday: THE STORY OF DR. WASSELL and MACARTHUR

With the Arkansas Cinema Society’s FILMLAND 2019 later this month (August 21 to 25), Mondays in August will feature movies with Little Rock connections.  Today’s films are both about World War II military heroes and both had their world premieres in Little Rock.

One was released during World War II and starred Gary Cooper as Dr. Corydon Wassell. The other was released in the 1970s and starred Gregory Peck as General Douglas MacArthur.

Dr. WassellBorn in Little Rock on July 4, 1884, Corydon McAlmont Wassell (called “Cory”) was born to Albert and Leona Wassell. A grandson of Little Rock Mayor John Wassell, he graduated from what is now UAMS in 1909. In 1911, he married Mary Irene Yarnell, with whom he would have four children.  In 1914, the couple volunteered to be Episcopal missionaries in China.  He served there until 1927. Following Mary’s death and his remarriage, he and new wife Madeline Edith Day Wassell returned to Arkansas in 1927.

Dr. Wassell resumed his medical practice. Given his experience with malaria in China, he proved to be an asset fighting malaria among Civilian Conservation Corps members in Arkansas. He was subsequently called to active duty in the Navy in 1936 and stationed in Key West.

After the outbreak of World War II, he was stationed in Indonesia. In early 1942, he refused to abandon his patients after the Japanese started invading Indonesia. Instead, he was able to evacuate a dozen severely wounded men over 150 miles to get to a ship. It took ten days for the ship to get to Australia, during which time it was attacked numerous times.  His official Navy Cross citation notes that he disregarded personal safety while caring for others.

He became an instant international hero. During the early days of the war, his heroism was one of the few bright spots.  President Roosevelt praised him in a fireside chat. James Hilton wrote of Dr. Wassell in a book which was then adapted by Cecil B. DeMille into the 1944 movie starring Cooper.  Originally Arkansan Alan Ladd was wanted to play Cooper’s sidekick, but Ladd was pressed into military service and unavailable.

From April 24 to 26, 1944, Cecil B. DeMille was in Little Rock for the world premiere screening of The Story of Dr. Wassell. Little Rock rolled out the red carpet (literally and figuratively) for DeMille and a contingency from Hollywood.  Dr. and Mrs. Wassell also returned to Little Rock for the festivities.  Unfortunately, Gary Cooper (who played Wassell in the film) was unable to attend due to illness.  His costar, Laraine Day, was making another film and could not attend either.    Those in attendance with DeMille (and Mrs. DeMille) included actresses Signe Hasso and Carol Thurston, and actor Melvin Francis.  The latter played himself; he had actually been one of the sailors saved by Dr. Wassell.

Sold-out screenings of the movie took place at the Capitol and Arkansas Theatres. On April 27, 1944, a regular run of the movie started at the Capitol Theatre.  It would be released nationally on July 4, 1944, which also happened to be Dr. Wassell’s birthday.

Thirty-three years after The Story of Dr. Wassell was released, MacArthur was brought to the screen by Universal Pictures.  It was their attempt to capitalize on the success of the movie Patton, including sharing some of the same members of the production team.

macarthur-gregory-peck-1977-everettTold entirely in flashback, it stars Gregory Peck as the fabled World War II general who was born in Little Rock. It focuses primarily on events in 1942 during the war, his dismissal by Truman in 1952, and his famous address to West Point in 1962.

Peck initially did not care for the subject or the script, but eventually stated that he grew to admire the challenges MacArthur faced.  Peck later called it one of his favorites roles, if not one of his favorite movies.

Producer Frank McCarthy, who worked on both Patton and MacArthur once said of Patton and MacArthur: “Both were complex men but General MacArthur was complex on a much broader scale. Patton had no ambition except to be a soldier and to command a field army. He was strictly command.”

Most of the film was shot on the backlot at the movie studio, which impacted the quality of the film.  The production budget simply would not allow for overseas location filming.

The film was released in July 1977.  One of the premieres was held in Little Rock. Peck attended a reception in the Arsenal Building where MacArthur was born. Now the home to the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, in 1977 the building still housed the Museum of Science and Natural History (now the Museum of Discovery).  Since MacArthur only spent a few hours in Little Rock as an adult, it is possible that Peck spent more time in the building than the General did.

The evening of August 5, 1977, started with an exclusive reception for 100 people with Gregory and Veronique Peck.  The movie itself was shown at the Cinema 150, where its general run would start on Saturday, August 6.  Following the film, a reception and silent auction brought people back to the museum.  Tickets ran $250 a person for all events, $100 a person for the film and post-show reception, and $25 for the movie.  It sold out.

Governor and Mrs. David Pryor escorted the Pecks into the theatre.  Former Governor (and World War II hero) Sid McMath introduced Mr. Peck to the crowd.  He extolled the virtues of Peck and MacArthur.  (It is interesting that he should admire MacArthur so much, since the General and President Truman had a well-publicized tiff, and McMath and Truman had enjoyed a warm relationship.)  Little Rock City Director Jim Dailey presented Peck with a Key to the City.

Shock the Rock tonight with world record Tesla Coil presented by Museum of Discovery

See World’s Largest Tesla Coil Shoot 60-Foot Bolts of Lightning at “Shock the Rock”Fans of famed inventor Nikola Tesla – as well as all science and technology aficionados – are invited to witness the world’s largest Tesla Coil in action at “Shock the Rock!,” a Tesla-themed, free event that begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 20, on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center. “Shock the Rock!” is powered by Entergy and presented by the Museum of Discovery.

Greg Leyh, a California electrical engineer and scientist, completed construction of the 40-foot Tesla coil tower in October 2018 and will display its awesome capabilities in Little Rock after his world-record device is featured at a Nikola Tesla birthday party celebration July 13 at the Tesla Science Center in Wardenclyffe, NY.

Entergy is the presenting sponsor of “Shock the Rock!,” and other sponsors include Landmark PLC; Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau; Meadors Adams & Lee; VIP2; Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort; and the McKibbon Group. Their support will help offset the costs to divert the coil’s journey back to California and to stage the event.

This is the third time Leyh has built the world’s largest Tesla coil, each exceeding its predecessor in height, power and the ability to produce what Leyh calls “lightning on demand.” At “Shock the Rock!” Leyh’s latest world-record coil will be centered on the large concrete pad at the western edge of the Clinton Center grounds cordoned off from the crowd, ensuring zero danger from being on-site to watch the awesome power of 60-foot bolts of lightning.

Pre-“Shock the Rock!” festivities will begin at 6 p.m. on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center. Museum of Discovery educators will present electricity-related demonstrations and host hands-on, interactive activities with guests at the event from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m.

The 40-foot Tesla show will begin at 8:45 p.m. and will last 45 minutes. Food trucks will be on site, and beer and other beverages will be available for purchase. Attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Coolers and outside food or drink will not be permitted. The public is encouraged to bring ear protection. Museum of Discovery will also provide earplugs at no charge.

Celebrate 50th anniversary of Moon landing today at the Museum of Discovery

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The Museum of Discovery is inviting people to join them to celebrate the moon landing 50th anniversary with space exploration activities!

There will be fun activities for all ages including the chance to see some actual moon rocks!

Events are from 10am until 3pm.

Tickets are included in regular museum admission or free for members.

June Science after Dark celebrates 50th anniversary of first moonlanding

On July 20, 1969, man stepped on moon for the first time.

On June 27, 2019, the Museum of Discovery’s Science After Dark program will celebrate that 50th anniversary milestone  The program runs from 6pm to 9pm at the Museum.

No word on whether anyone present will be a believer that it was all a hoax staged in a TV studio.

Apollo 11 was the first crewed mission to land on the Moon.  Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were the crew for this historic mission.

Who says the Museum of Discovery is only for kids?!? Not the hundreds of 21-and-older science-and-fun lovers who attend Science After Dark each month. Because, science is fun … at any age! Science After Dark provides visitors the opportunity to have fun and learn about science in a unique setting.

Museum educators pick a science-related topic and build an entertaining, interactive evening around it. You never know what will sprout, pop, fizzle, or glow. We invite you to discover the science of having fun. Museum partners are there to serve pizza, and a full bar from craft beer to wine to cocktails is available.

And beyond the themed activities each month, Science After Dark admission ($5, free for members) includes access to all museum galleries and our 90-plus hands-on, interactive exhibits.