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Museum opens 'We the People'

Exhibit to debut today focuses on patriotism, 9/11

By Laura Bollin

A new exhibit about voting and democracy in the United States is scheduled to open today at the Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn.

The “We the People” exhibit will feature two beam pieces from the World Trade Center towers, said museum director Adam Woodworth. The beams are pieces of the beams used in the 9/11 first responder’s memorial erected last year at the Metra station adjacent to the museum, 5100 Museum Drive.

The museum added the exhibit to help children understand the events of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and explore what it means to be patriotic, according to museum director Adam Woodworth.

“On Sept. 11, 2001, our world changed and history was written,” Woodworth stated in a press release. “The tragic events of that day shaped us as a nation. Now, over 10 years later, it is our responsibility to educate youth on what that day meant to our country, to help other people, and to come together with a common purpose.”

Woodworth has said he wants the museum to be able to educate children without it having being a negative experience, and had to figure out how a 9/11 exhibit would fit into the facility. The exhibit will be about the days and weeks that followed 9/11, with the focus on patriotism, friendship, helping other people and coming together as a country.

At the site of the beams on the second floor, visitors can press buttons and hear patriotic songs. There will also be a digital talk-back board intended to promote literacy and which will feature a new patriotism-themed question every few days. Children will also be able to see the answers other people have written.

The museum received a $3,450 donation from the Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce from this year’s Spring into Summer event to help fund the exhibit. The 2012 Oak Lawn Stars & Stripes Gala held in April also contributed funds.

The museum is still raising money for an interactive, child-sized voting booth expected to cost $25,000. Children will be able to vote for their choice for president, or during non-election years subjects such as their favorite ice cream or pizza.

The museum is still raising money for an interactive, child-sized voting booth expected to cost $25,000. Children will be able to vote for their choice for president, or during non-election years subjects such as their favorite ice cream or pizza.