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Sticky Situation

Amazeum celebrates birthday with ‘Tape and Tunnels’

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Dustin Griffith got wrapped up in a sticky job this summer at the Scott Family Amazeum. As lead exhibits developer, he was tasked to package a new offering, titled "Tape and Tunnels: Ordinary Materials, Extraordinary Uses."

His medium? Clear packing tape. His goal? A "Habitrail"-style climbing, slithering and sliding structure for kids.

FAQ

Scott Family Amazeum

Third Birthday

Ickstravaganza

WHAT — An afternoon of fun on the lawn with bubbles of all sizes (including ginormous), gobs of oobleck and water rockets, along with “some pretty messy, sticky, gooey, spectacular” special events around 3 p.m.

WHEN — 1-5 p.m. July 15

WHERE — 1009 Museum Way in Bentonville

COST — $9.50 for 2 and older; younger than 2 free

INFO — 696-9280 or amazeum.org

BONUS — From 4 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays in July & August, the Amazeum offers pay-as-you-wish admission. Regular hours are 10 a.m. -5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays.

"This idea was inspired by the 'Tapes and Tunnels' exhibit at the Discovery Lab in Tulsa," Griffith says. "It was brought to our museum by the Arkansas Discovery Network, [but] the structure and layout were designed in-house to fit our space.

"We used [all] 3M tape for our exhibit, and they have pages of information available for the different models of tape," he says. "It lists substrate material, tensile strength, adhesive information -- it's amazing. It also shows how different varieties of tape work for one purpose but not for the other."

He says he "had no idea there was such a variety of packing tape."

Josh Siebert, one of the founding partners of Modus Studio, an architectural design firm in Fayetteville, laughs when he adds that "no one knows more about packing tape than Dustin does now. He is definitely the guy who has learned and taught the most."

Modus has been involved in several projects with the Amazeum, in this case to make sure what the staff created was structurally sound.

"It's been interesting," Siebert says. "You can make almost any form with tape. The secret is layers -- just keep layering it!"

"It takes at least six layers of tape done in an overlapping, bi-directional pattern to make it stable," Griffith says in an aside.

"We jumped in and helped them one night -- stayed until 10 o'clock taping and taping and taping," Siebert adds. "It was fun. But the creativity behind it can be really amazing. It's a medium that you wouldn't have expected could do so much. It's just clear tape. You have to get the good tape, though!"

His kids, Siebert says, tested the 32-foot wide, 16-foot high structure the next morning.

"They just took off," he says. "Because it's clear, it gives that sense of transparency when the kids are rolling through it. That's what I love -- challenging that imagination. You're never too old to re-create that magic."

"The exhibit has been a huge hit," Griffith agrees. "Kids seem to love it. They just make lap after lap going up the short tunnels and coming down the long slide."

Open until October, the basic layout of "Tape and Tunnels" will stay the same, he adds. Although, "there may be some small embellishments added if time allows."

"What we tried to do was create something dynamic and fun for kids but challenging for their imagination," Siebert says. "I'd love to continue to elaborate on it until October!"

"Tape and Tunnels" is one of three temporary exhibits helping celebrate the third anniversary of the Amazeum, which opened in July of 2015. Also on show is "a great exhibit of automata from the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre and Science Projects in London," says Amazeum spokesman Paul Stolt. "Each piece in the exhibit is a hand-made, articulating sculpture that tells a short, humorous story. The movement is enabled by a system of gears, pulleys, cams, levers, cranks and ratchets."

And "in our outdoor PlaySpace, we set up a Pop-Up Adventure Playground for kids to engage in 100 percent organic, free-range play," he adds. "Popular in Europe, Adventure Playgrounds are constructed by kids working collaboratively using common materials -- cardboard boxes, pieces of wood, barrels, plastic pipe, rope and other found materials. The idea behind Pop-Up Adventure Playground is to let kids' natural curiosity guide their play and what they build.

"In our first three years, we've welcomed approximately 805,000 guests and 5,500 member families to explore, discover and think about science, technology, engineering, art and math in new ways," Stolt says. "We are excited to continue igniting curiosity in local, regional, national, and, increasingly, global families in the years to come with the Amazeum's interactive exhibits and programs."

Photo courtesy Josh Siebert "We jumped in and helped them one night -- stayed until 10 o'clock taping and taping and taping," Josh Siebert says of col...

NAN What's Up on 07/08/2018

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