"Our Nevada," a new display at the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada, will focus on history, government and a host of other Silver State topics of interest to young and old alike.
A composite of the state Assembly building - with a dome and flagpole - has been carefully fashioned from what used to be a reading area.
The concept for this permanent exhibit came from members of the 2006 Leadership Carson City class, who spent hundreds of hours working on the project.
"We thought it would be of benefit to the community," said Erin Lehman, acting museum director and a member of the group. "Not only will children get something out of it, so will adults."
Bringing in the miniature capitol dome required the museum doors be removed, possibly for the first time since the building was constructed during the 1930s. And when it was time to hoist it atop the assembly building replica "the flagpole was too long," said Tom Finch, one of the volunteers who helped put up the new display. He's also director of development of Citizens for Affordable Homes, Inc.
"We had to shorten the pole and try again," he said. "But we finally got it up there."
This highly interactive exhibit will allow youths an opportunity to create a state law of their choice while sitting at a diminutive version of the governor's desk. Or they can dig for dinosaur bones. They could even test their Nevada knowledge using trivia doors or assemble a large wooden puzzle of the state comprised of pieces shaped like each county.
Inside is a mural depicting natural Nevada and a host of animals that call it home. Stuffed toys and hand puppets help the children remember the significance of each native animal and have some fun.
"A class could come in and do reports," said Christina Rice, a Leadership graduate who brought her children, ages 2 and 4, to the museum to see whether they would like it. "It's very exciting."
Rice's kids especially seemed to enjoy digging around in a small sand area in search of fake dinosaur bones and other trinkets, she said.
"Our Nevada" would have cost an estimated $25,000 if the group hadn't donated time, materials and money and brought in sponsors to make it happen, said Dee Frewert, a museum volunteer.
The ultimate plan for the museum would be to offer a miniaturized version of Carson City. It already has interactive examples of a hospital, grocery store and other locales.
"It takes work - and money - to build a town," Frewert said. Even if it's a miniaturized version, which is why volunteers and donations are always sought after by museum personnel.
"We're beginning to see a theme," she said.
This new display will be open to the public Wednesday, after an invitation-only unveiling party with Gov. Jim Gibbons, Sen. Mark Amodei and Mayor Marv Teixeira this evening, Lehman added.
Leadership Carson City is a civics-based program offered by the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce.
If you go
WHAT: "Our Nevada" exhibitWHEN: Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Exhibits closed Mondays.
WHERE: Children's Museum of Northern Nevada, 813 N. Carson St.
COST: Adult $5, children $3. Yearly memberships $50.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.