Remember those extremely bouncy little balls you used to buy for 25 cents from grocery store machines as a kid? They have a name. They’re called the Super Ball…and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh‘s new special exhibit is full of them.
BOUNCE! Inspired by the World’s Most Amazing Ball exhibit opened on October 11th. A visit to BOUNCE! is guaranteed to teach your kids something you’ve known for a very long time. Super Balls are fun. They come in a tremendous variety of colors and patterns. They feel gloriously smooth in the hand. And they bounce really, really high.
The exhibit was inspired by local artist and collector, Henry Simonds, who rediscovered a coffee tin full of his own childhood Super Balls and was intrigued. His fascination blossomed into an entire body of creative work, ranging from Super Ball-filled specimen boxes to Super Ball-capped walking sticks to captivating photographs of Super Balls caught in motion. Children’s Museum leadership discovered Simonds during a recent gallery exhibition of his Super Ball-inspired art at the Mine Factory and thought his work would translate well into an interactive exhibit for kids.
The new BOUNCE! exhibit helps families discover what Simonds learned along the way–there’s more to the Super Ball than meets the eye. Taking a peek through the Ball-0-Scope reveals the complexity of its surface anatomy. Throwing the ball across a green screen illustrates its trajectory through air. Reading informative wall panels shows that the Super Ball even has a rich historical context. After visiting BOUNCE!, Simonds’ passion makes more sense. After all, this favorite children’s plaything curiously blurs the boundaries of art and science, aesthetics and physics.
“The Super Ball is very simple, available for 25 cents at most stores ” says Simonds, “And yet, I hope that this exhibit will show Pittsburgh families that there is huge educational potential in even the least complicated of toys.”
BOUNCE! will be at the Children’s Museum until March 8, 2015. Entrance to the exhibit is free with admission to the Museum. For more information, visit https://pittsburghkids.org/exhibits/bounce.
Story written by Nadine Champsi with contributions by Jill Greenwood.