The Bottom Line
- Visitors can touch and play with all the exhibits
- Fun, accessible and educational
- Recently extended opening hours
- Displays sometimes get broken, so not every exhibit may be working
- 9740 Grand Ave. S, Bloomington, MN 55420
- (952) 888-4262
- Open every day except Tuesday and Wednesday. Hours change for school release days, holidays and during the summer.
Guide Review - The Works Science and Technology Museum
Located in the Twin Cities suburb of Bloomington, The Works is a technology museum operating on the principle of "hands-on, minds-on" learning. It is packed with interesting, interactive exhibits that children can, and are encouraged to, touch, operate, and experiment with.
The Works may be smaller than the larger and more well known Science Museum in St. Paul. But it's packed with exhibits, and each one demonstrates a scientific principle in an elegant, interesting, accessible way, and explains how it is relevant in today's world.
Favorites include a "light harp" with no strings, played by optical sensors (the same that make a CD drive work); various pulleys and weights rigged in such a way that toddlers can lift their parents off the ground. There's a room with house brick sized foam blocks (which, I admit, are great fun even for parents to build with. Children particularly seem to like being bricked up and then bursting out! And then supplies of more bricks and wheels and gears and axles than your little scientist could have dreamed of. Build cars and race them, or construct a super marble run.
A second room hosts temporary exhibits. An upstairs Design Lab space has workshops and more hands-on activities, projects and engineering challenges, included in the admission price.
Sometimes the displays are experimented with too vigorously and get broken, so not everything may be working when you visit. But there is so much to see here, that it shouldn't be too much a problem.
The Works hopes that their exhibits will interest children, help to demystify science and technology, and inspire confidence in learning about technology. They especially hope to connect with those traditionally underrepresented in the sciences, such as women, girls and people of color.
The Works's plan seems to be, well, working. The museum was busy with children were playing happily when we visited, proof that science can be interesting to everyone when it is accessible and not locked up in stuffy laboratories.