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“Alice’s Wonderland” at the Long Island Children’s Museum

Alice in Wonderland” is one of the worlds’ most famous and beloved children’s stories. Written in 1865 by author Lewis Carroll (whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), “Alice in Wonderland” is regarded as being one of the best examples of the “literary nonsense” genre. The characters in “Alice and Wonderland” have made an enormous impact on popular culture and they have influenced movies, TV shows, toys, games and collectables. Most recently, the story of “Alice and Wonderland” has inspired the Long Island’s Children’s Museum to host a hands-on exhibition that is intended to enable small children to explore the imaginary world of Wonderland in a safe and age appropriate environment.

Images of the events and features of the “Alice’s Wonderland” exhibition at the Long Island Children’s Museum.
Images of the events and features of the “Alice’s Wonderland” exhibition at the Long Island Children’s Museum. Maureen Mangan
"Alice in Wonderland" is one of the most famous children's books.
"Alice in Wonderland" is one of the most famous children's books. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The “Alice’s Wonderland” exhibit was created and is circulated by Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, California, with major funding from the National Science Foundation and the MetLife Foundation. “Alice’s Wonderland” has been traveling to children’s museums and science centers throughout the nation for several years. An interactive story based on the exhibit can be found on www.cdm.org.

Since 1993 the Long Island Children’s Museum (LICM), located in Garden City, has been dedicated to educating and entertaining children via interactive and interesting exhibits. The 40,000-square-foot children’s museum is often described as a “learning laboratory” where hands-on exhibits invite visitors to experiment, examine, and play. The museum welcomes approximately 250,000 children and adults annually. This private, not-for-profit institution chartered by the New York State Board of Regents, offers museum-based educational programs and cultural experiences. The museum also offers an extensive community outreach program for schools, libraries and youth centers across Long Island. The Long Island Children’s Museum is the recipient of the 2012 National Medal for Museum & Library Service which is the highest honor conferred on museums for extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions.

Since May 30, 2014, LICM has been hosting an interactive exhibit called “Alice’s Wonderland…A Most Curious Adventure.” Based on the beloved book, “Alice’s Wonderland” is an interactive exhibit containing 1,500 square feet of hands-on experiences for children to explore. As they wander around the exhibition space, visitors will read quotes from the original book and encounter some of the tale’s most famous characters.

According to the official description:

“Visitors enter LICM’s Wonderland at the same place that Alice’s dream adventure begins: at the streamside knoll where she nodded off to sleep in her sister's lap. Curious museum-goers may find themselves following the White Rabbit into the Underground by crawling through the rabbit hole and "falling" through the earth. And, as the story goes, they soon discover they are in the Hall of Doors, an atmosphere filled with optical illusions, scientific puzzles and surprises of many sizes! As the exhibit experience unfolds, visitors test and experiment while at a Mad Tea Party, investigate geography in Digging to China, and understand animation at a Caucus Race, to name a few of the experiences visitors will encounter. The adventurous at heart may choose to challenge Alice and the Queen to a game of Crazy Croquet where balls in motion are surprisingly predictable.”

The “Alice’s Wonderland” exhibition is an innovative approach to helping children and adults build a shared foundation for science and math literacy. By taking one of the most memorable pieces of literature in the English language and bringing the heroine’s bizarre experiences to life through a series of interactive exhibits, “Alice’s Wonderland” encourages children to delve into important educational concepts in uniquely accessible ways. “The story of Alice’s adventures is filled with opportunities to introduce science and math concepts to even very young children,” noted LICM President Suzanne LeBlanc.” “Because so many parents grew up with the story, the exhibit encourages them to play and learn together with their children as they have conversations about Alice’s experiences in Wonderland.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, the LICM planned a variety of complementary workshops to extend the themes introduced in the exhibit. In fact, on August 7th the museum is scheduled to host a “Mad Hatter Party.” This nighttime event—which is set to take place between 6pm-9pm—will celebrate Lewis Carroll’s enduring characters including Alice, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter.

The “Mad Hatter Party” will involve making Wonderland-related crafts, face painting, costumed characters, a crazy hat contest and, of course, tea and light refreshments. Visitors will be able to create hats and join in a parade to show off their crazy creations before the Queen of Hearts. A grand prize basket (provided by Whole Foods) will be bestowed on the lucky winner. Families will design their own flamingo mallets to test their skills at croquet and other themed games, and become the Cheshire Cat as they design their own lingering “grin” (or choose another Wonderland image) in the face painting parlor. Attendees will also meet and pose with Wonderland characters as they all sit down to tea (and refreshments) and watch a performance by the Queen of Hearts’ court jester.

The evening is described as a “Family FUNdraiser,” allowing visitors to support LICM while enjoying the hands-on activities and play-based learning that brings them to the museum throughout the year. Tickets for this special Wonderland night cost $20 per person and they are available online at www.licm.org or by calling (16) 224-5802. Ticket donations are fully tax deductible and support the Museum’s exhibits, programs and performances. All activities will be held at the Long Island Children’s Museum, 11 Davis Avenue, Garden City, NY. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

General Museum Hours: 10 am.-5 p.m. every day in August
Museum General Admission: $12 for adults and children over 1 year old, $11 seniors, FREE to museum members and children under 1 year old. Additional fees for theater and special programs may apply.
For additional information, contact 516-224-5800 or visit:
http://www.licm.org/