Come to Newburg and enjoy a visit to the only Natural History Museum between Springfield and St Louis. There is something for children of all ages, and fun, and a challenge to learn something you never knew before this day.
The museum was officially opened on May 18th 2008. It is situated in the 2-story annex of the Houston House, accessible from First Street, through the Garden of Houston House.
There are 8 rooms with exhibits and hands-on activities relevant to our primary goal of expanding the horizons of our young people. To fulfill this goal the concentration is on four relevant domains, namely: earth, water, sky and man.
The history of the earth is represented by exhibits of rocks and fossils, information on the movements of tectonic plates, and the impact of earthquakes and volcanoes. Plants, birds, and animals are represented on the walls and in the conservation room. The world we live is shown on a globe and is connected to a set of interactive questions and answers. Programs on these subjects are available on TV screens.
The sea room, where dolphins and Manta ray swim on the walls, is full of specimens of seaweed, sponges, corals and shells from the Caribbean, South Africa and the shores of America. A sand table containing starfish and shells gives pleasure to the little ones. Pudgy, the Beluga whale, built of paper mache by the children, graces a bathtub. A plasma TV screen donated by Rotary of Rolla shows a series of underwater scenes and planet earth created by Nova. Our studies will extend to rivers and all life depending on water by field trips to the nearby Little Piney River.
The sky room contains models of the planets built to scale in relation to a meter size sun on the wall. The phases of the moon are represented as are pictures of outer space taken by the Hubble telescope, the workings o which are also described. In this room are interactive games for learning about the planets and a hand-held planetarium that projects the stars of the Zodiac for any designated month of the year. A telescope is available to be set up.
ManThe ethnic room shows diversity of cultures, yet the inter-relatedness of man from his early beginnings to the present. His adjustment to his environment is evident in photographs, beadwork, masks, tools and weapons. There is a hands-on science room demonstrating the use of electricity, magnetism, light, illusion, and sound. There are demonstrations regarding the human body, and, beside a small microscope, there is one that projects images on to a television screen.
There is an old fashioned trading store, where children can learn the value of knowledge at the same time as the art of trading.
There is a children’s activity room containing children’s crafts, and books. Most Thursdays it is used by a group of children after school.
There is a puppet stage, and on the porch is a water table and a giant bubble making machine.