Local museum channels Disneyland for new, interactive experience - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Local museum channels Disneyland for new, interactive experience

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A local museum is channeling Disneyland to make a major comeback.

Things have changed at the Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center one year after closing. You can't change history, but you can change the way you teach it.

"This area is representative of the Devonian sea when the falls of the Ohio was located south of the equator and it was a shallow tropical sea," said Dani Cummins, Executive Director of the Falls of the Ohio Foundation, as she points at items in an exhibit. "You will really feel like your under the sea, so this is a really exciting exhibit."

The one year renovation at the Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center is nearing completion. The museum is one of the places almost every elementary child in the area visits for a field trip. It tells the story of Ohio River before it was called "the Ohio River," starting 390 million years ago.

"It's a big difference since the end of last year," said Jonathan Noffke, exhibit designer. "We started out by demolishing all the old exhibits walls, put in new systems for lighting, and prepared the space for all these immersive exhibits."

Gone are the old "see-and-read" displays. The new approach is "touch and experience."

Noffke said he hopes the new experience will, "make people feel like they're in a time and space and create an environment and a feeling that engages all of their senses in a different way,"

At times, the place looks like an amusement park, as much attraction as exhibit. Take for instance the interview WDRB's Gilbert Corsey conducted in a Wegiwa.

"It will have Shawnee Indian language being spoken," Cummins said, of the Wegiwa. "People will hear with nature sounds in the background."

The museum raised money for nearly a decade to pull off this update -- with $6 million in construction expected to wrap up in about a month. The staff will start training and bringing in test audiences.

"We're eager for the public to get in here, so it's very gratifying," Noffke said.

You can't change history, but for the Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center, you can write a new chapter.

The museum will host ribbon cutting and open the museum to the public in January.

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