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Basin Buzz: Museum of the Southwest opens long-awaited Fredda Turner Durham Children’s Museum

The open space provides several learning and interactive opportunities for children of all ages.

MIDLAND, Texas — First it was COVID, then it was supply chain issues. Now, the long-awaited Museum of the Southwest's Fredda Turner Durham Children's Museum is finally opening its doors.

Three years in the making after what was supposed to be a nine month project, every bit of the museum is finally worth the wait. 

"To hear about the improvements from those who grew up here when they were younger and brought their young children, now those adults are coming back to see this, they're really overwhelmed and blown away," said Mary Katherine Marshall, Senior Director of Development and Communications. "I think it's a really unique space and a lot more open than it was so that's what's really exciting."

The toddler room offers busy boards and helps children with fine motor skills. They can play with laces or learn how to open cabinets and objects in a safe environment.

For older children who can learn a thing or two about commerce, that's where My Town comes in.

"That's the playhouse town of all playhouses," said Marshall. "There's a café, gas station, the mechanic shop and construction site as well as a market so you can do business in My Town."

One area for minds for molding includes the Chevron Maker Space that teaches kids about engineering and creating.

"That's a cool area because we will be doing STEAM activities for students so you can draw a picture, have a portrait done," said Marshall.

Another place where you can get artsy is the painting zone. You can paint on a transparent wall with washable paint.

The museum also dedicates a low-sensory room with toys for anyone with special needs. The room is low light in a quieter setting. 

Throughout the museum, children can take a step back hundreds of millions of years ago with the dinosaur exhibit. 

From digging dinosaur bones, to learning about about the creatures that once roamed the earth. This is part of an exhibit that rotates every 120 days so there's something new during the year.

"Children's development is so seated in hands-on activities and they have the opportunity to use the cash register, learn to fill up their gas tanks when they drive in 10 years, they can interact with other children in real-life experiences so we're grateful we have that opportunity," said Marshall.

The museum is also working on future projects including a saltwater aquarium and a sound garden. If you're interested in becoming a member and learning more about the Museum of the Southwest, click here.

Opening day is set for May 1 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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