Hands-On Galleries

“This is a source of ideas to stimulate all ages to create and appreciate the facts and feelings of life.”

~ Alden B. Dow

Hall of Ideas

Connecting through Interactivity

Three levels make up the fun, permanent interactive Hall of Ideas designed especially for toddlers through grade school students. This handicap-accessible space traces the spiraling evolution of civilization in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Advancing through each level, visitors learn about Michigan’s geological formation and early inhabitants, and explore the interconnection of science and art.

  • Create your own dramatic image with our interactive artwall, then email it to yourself, a grandparent or friend!
  • Work together to make an Alexander Calder-style mobile
  • Explore the Periodic Table of elements and create over 350 virtual “chemical reactions”
  • Merge science and art when you design and shoot off your own virtual fireworks
  • Sit down to the electronic keyboard, grab drumsticks or an electrical guitar for a musical jam session
  • Make music using light beams with our Beamz Player – No strings attached!
  • Become a singing sensation in our new Karaoke Studio, or use our Digital FX Station to shape the sound of your voice
  • Explore the art of architecture the Alden B. Dow way
  • Immerse yourself in a whole new selection of challenging and interactive green screen games
  • And lots more!

Saltwater Aquarium

Over 100 fish occupy our beautiful 450-gallon saltwater aquarium, delighting visitors of all ages. MCFTA and the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library have teamed up to research information about the tank and its inhabitants. Come discover facts about the fishes’ home regions, ecology, habitat, food, symbiotic relationships and more! Visit often, because our aquarium is an ever-changing learning experience!

Located near the Information Desk, the aquarium is free and open for public viewing during building hours.

Made possible through a generous donation from David and Patti Kepler of Midland.

Foucault Pendulum

Alden B. Dow Museum of Science & Art pendulum children school tours

While it had long been known that the Earth rotated, the introduction of the Foucault pendulum in 1851 was the first simple proof of the rotation in an easy-to-see experiment.

At Midland’s latitude of 43.6156 degrees, our Foucault Pendulum takes about a day and half to return to its original orientation.


ViewSpace - Alden B. Dow Museum of Science & Art Permanent Exhibition

Winner of the 2003 Muse Award, ViewSpace brings the wonders of celestial exploration to the Museum through recent photographs from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. See it in our Falling Water Video Theatre.

Purchased with funds from the Todd Gunkler Memorial Fund and with a grant from the Alden B. and Vada B. Dow Family Foundations, ViewSpace entices and mesmerizes visitors with beautiful, high resolution images, digital movies and animations, interpretive captions and evocative space music.

ViewSpace features:

Celestial Tours: featuring breathtaking Hubble photographs.

Hubble Update: providing the latest images and discoveries from the telescope as they are released.

Celestial Update: featuring news from the frontiers of astronomy with emphasis on the latest from the NASA Great Observatories.

Astronomy Picture of the Day: presenting a new “astronomically-themed” image each day with interpretive text.

Mars Exploration Rover Update: stay informed on the Mars Exploration Rovers.

Cassini-Huygens Update: reports from the Saturn orbiter and the Titan Entry Probe now en route to the ringed planet.

Skylines: beautifully illustrated introductions to the constellations, planets, deep sky objects and special astronomical events of the night sky updated monthly.

Science as Art: visualizations of astronomically inspired and informed poetry.

New programs are continually added by the Space Telescope Science Institute of Baltimore.