This exhibit gives kids a chance to see the science behind cartoons. They get to play with hands-on exhibits that let them be the animator.
In this exhibit (featuring one of the characters from The Kids Next Door cartoon), we could see how the character's mouth would change depending on what sound he was making. Using just those five images, we had to lay each picture on the gray square and take a snapshot of it. It took 21 images to say one short sentence. When all the snapshots were strung together it actually looked like the character was talking and we could see if we managed to make the mouth movements match the words.
There was another exhibit where we were shown a clip from a real cartoon and then we got to record our voices for the clip. It was much more difficult to try to match our voices to an existing cartoon than to make the cartoon match the voice!
We got a chance to be Foley Artists. I actually knew what that was from an old episode of ZOOM. (Come on and zoom-a zoom-a zoom-a zoom!) The Foley Artist is the person who makes the sounds (other than voices) for a cartoon. In this exhibit we were shown a cartoon clip, then the same cartoon clip was played in silence while we supplied the correct noises: fingers tapping on a table, paper being wadded up, etc. Did you know that an electric toothbrush provides the noise of a buzzing fly? I may never be able to brush my teeth again without being annoyed by the sound, now.
This was one of my favorite exhibits. First, you would arrange colorful shapes on the dark grid. Each time you moved them a little, then you took a picture, then you moved them a little more and took another picture. It takes a lot of patience to make even a short video clip. You also have to remember to move your hand out of the frame before you take the picture, but we all forgot to do that a few times.
This was Emily's animation:
This was one of the girls favorite exhibits. There was a camera which would take their picture every five seconds, giving them a chance to move to a new position between shots. Then it strung all the pictures together into a mini-movie. The girls staged a mock battle for this scene:
This was their other favorite exhibit:
This exhibit had a row of cameras which all took your picture at the same moment. Then it would string the images together so that it looked like you were frozen and the camera was moving around you. We tried this one over and over. (This is the part where comfortable shoes are necessary). Everyone else at the exhibit wants to try this one over and over also. You stand around a good bit watching all the different videos as each person thinks up a new pose they want to try out. It is a lot of fun though and you get great ideas for what you want to do when it's your turn.
If this comes to a museum near you, go! And take the kids!