Digging Into Dogs: More Than Pets

By: Matt Jetty, Exhibit & Facility Manager

In May of 2018 I became the Exhibits and Facilities Manager here at ExplorationWorks.  Around that same time a truck left Louisville, Kentucky full of dog related fun. The new dog exhibit opened to the public on May 26th and it has been a hoot watching the kids interact with it.  There are beautiful statues of various breeds and realistic stuffed dogs for the young ones to take for a walk on a leash. There will be a live dog event every Saturday at 10:30AM at ExplorationWorks, but I’ve noticed that kids treat the stuffed dogs as if they are live animals anyway.  

There’s a ton of great dog information for the grownups as well.  Did you know that the early humans probably lived next to wolf packs on purpose so to scavenge their kills and to get fair warning of sneaky man-eating predators?  Thanks wolf pals.

You can also test out your sense of smell at several scent stations.  I got a D+. I eat bananas almost daily and could not guess the banana scent.  In my own defense - scents are a bit of brain trickery. Scents are not consistent from brain to brain as they are tied to specific memories.  I could easily pick out my grandma’s lemon meringue pie, but carnation is a bit more elusive for my brain to detect. But don’t worry, it’s not all flowers and spices - there’s also some putrid smells.  The answers are hidden so that you can watch the fantastic reactions of peoples faces as they take a big whiff of “decay”. It’s like feeding your toddler a lemon for the first time. Sure it’s a bit cruel, but totally worth the guilt when you see the reaction.

There’s an Adoption Center with a computer program that can match you up with a breed of dog that will be a good fit for your family.  Come find out what breed matches your ideal dog. Turns out that I should be walking around with a Tibetan Terrier by my side. There aren’t any live dogs at the adoption center so there’s no need to worry about anyone talking you into a new pooch, but there are several stuffed dogs for the kids to hang out with while they’re here.  The best part of the adoption center is an area where visitors can tell us about their own dogs (..or lack thereof) with a sticky note.

Whether you have a mutt or a Tibetan Terrier - there’s one truth to be learned at this exhibit: Humans need dogs and dogs need humans.  

This kid really nailed it:


Dogs: More Than Pets will be on exhibit through September 16, 2018. For more information on this exhibit, click here.

Northwestern Energy Gives $5,000 to ExplorationWorks

By: Amie Thompson, Northwestern Energy

A new hydro display that will teach kids about river flow, how dams work and environmental
stewardship at ExplorationWorks in Helena opened last month and has experienced constant kid traffic and increased membership for the science museum.

The display was partially made possible by a $5,000 donation by NorthWestern Energy.

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“We got within $5,000 of our goal and then Howard called,” said Kelly Posewitz, executive director of ExplorationWorks, the children’s museum situated in the Great Northern Town Center next to the Great Northern Carousel in Helena.

NWE’s Howard Skjervem, community relations manager for Helena, knew about what they would need to complete the project and called to offer the company’s assistance. Howard and Andy Welch, leader of hydro power license compliance, see an opportunity for future education of both children and their parents. Education ideas include how precipitation is routed through a watershed, how dams create water storage to supply water for later in the season and how water is aerated as it cascades over water falls that adds oxygen to the water to the benefit of fish and other aquatic life. The display also demonstrates to children how watersheds support multiple uses including hydropower, agriculture and recreation — all while supporting multiple fish and animals in its course.

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“Yeah, I could play with this for a while,” said Andy as he reconfigured eddies in the river stream of the display to allow a kayak to safely pass through.

Already kids have enjoyed learning about dams as the museum has seen record numbers in the past two weeks.

“And membership has gone through the roof,” Kelly said.

The display uses 280 gallons of water that is recirculated throughout the display that includes a model of Mount Helena. There are three filtration systems keeping the water clean.

“It’s been a really, really big hit. It’s been very popular,” said Kelly.