Free choice learning and learning through play is the main focus of Discovereum the first children’s museum in Harare. Officially opened in February 2017, Discovereum is a learning centre for children and young adults as well as a sanctuary for families to learn collaboratively with each other. With the mission of providing a fun-filled environment for creativity, learning and discovery through exhibitions the children’s museum is proving to be a great success.
Catering to the educational needs of children from 2 years old to 18 years old, interactive elements are found throughout the museum. Permanent exhibitions include the Zimbabwe Heritage, Ancient Egypt, Grocery Store, Life Sciences (human and animal anatomy), Transport/Maritime and Energy (planes, trains, automobiles and boats), Dinosaur Cave, Science Laboratory (Chemistry, Physics, Biology), Arts and Crafts, Auditorium, Technology Centre, outdoor stage and games, library as well as an environmental science and conservation site (air, wind, water and soil).
Some of the events that have taken place at Discovereum are Matters of the Heart (Valentine’s Day), Pharaoh Fun, Africa Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day. And more recently Harry Potter Day a theme which will be carried throughout the month of August, celebrating 20 years of Harry Potter.
Harare News spoke to the Managing Director of Discovereum, Wesley Maraire about what inspired the museum. Maraire said “there is no doubt Zimbabwe has a strong education system, despite the economic challenges, however the classroom type of learning on its own is not enough to build well-rounded citizens. Discovereum was founded to break the barriers presented by classroom learning and introduces free choice, self-directed learning through play.”
Despite the success of the children’s museum, they are in need support from the general public and corporate world in the running of the museum. The museum needs help with medical and technological supplies (monitors and audio systems), information packs on prevention of diseases such as Malaria. They also need a human skeleton and stuffed animals, materials to create a safe outdoor environment space, printing material, and even voluntary time to come and speak about people’s different experiences in Zimbabwe in ancient times.
The museum has a Giving Tree where they put up names to acknowledge their donors and sponsors who have given towards the museum’s growth through different ways.
“We will continue to enhance existing exhibits as well as develop a few more, including activities that will complement the school curriculum. Holiday programmes are central to us going forward, we want to avoid a situation where children sit around the house with nothing to do over the school holidays and public holidays,” said Maraire.
The museum will exhibit at the upcoming Harare Agricultural Show and St John’s Fair and they will be hosting a fundraising Golf Day towards the end of year.
The museum is open for school tours, family visits and groups charging a flat fee of $5 per head. Visit them at 18399, Hillside Road Extension, Msasa. Tel:04 446 900. For more information on the museum visit their website: www.discovereum.org or Facebook page: Discovereum.