Posted April 23, 2015 by Cooper Point Journal in Arts & Entertainment

Night At The Hands on Children’s Museum

Unleashing Your Inner Selfie

By Sara Fabian

The Hands on Children’s Museum is a place full of wonder, intrigue and play. Though usually a place for a child and adult accompaniment, the Adult Swim series which started in January of 2014 has opened the amusement to adults at night fall only a few times a year.

I’m sure most of you have seen “Night at the Museum,” you know, the one where the museum comes to life at night. Well that movie fantasy has become a reality with the Adult Swim event series. The first event, Beer Craft, which took place in both January 2014 and this past fall, has been a huge success. The latest installment in the series was Selfie Science, on April 17, a night of self-introspection amongst the Olympia adult community. The museum lent each of its rooms to a cornucopia of games, activities, and experiments linked with the sociology of the self.

“The Adult Swim events as a series offer an opportunity for people without children to come in and see the museum. It is a chance for adults without children to come and see what this beautiful building in Olympia is all about. It’s a great way for adults to embrace their inner child,” said museum educator and Adult Swim event co-coordinator Adrienne Testa. She adds “it’s also a place just for them to learn. We give it this social/party atmosphere to make interacting with each activity a little easier. We want to break down some of the inhibitions or boundaries we put up.”

The event lasted from 6:30-9:30 p.m. and each room, floor, and crevice was filled with people. As I showed up fashionably late, the weather was perfect for alfresco dining and outdoor activities. As I and many others entered the museum door, we were pleasantly greeted with the delicious smell of local food, provided by Abby’s Cupcakes and Barb’s Barbeque. Even the drinks served went with the theme of the self with cocktails such as the “Me-mosa” and the “Picasso punch.”

The Adult Swim series, and the Selfie Science event in particular, attempted to integrate the worlds of science and art in a casual social setting. Selfie Science, Testa said, was a way “to focus on the science of someone, their self, and their role in the world. We wanted something having to do with pop culture and to play with social science.” Selfies were a perfect expression of pop culture, and easily curated into a science setting.

There are many who are quick to judge the idea of a selfie as purely vain and narcissistic. Selfie Science, however, created a safe space for every individual feel comfortable in their own skin all the while enjoying playing games, and laughing with friends. Selfie Science encouraged the mantra that to love another, you must love yourself. Each activity explored philosophical questions but in a fun, energetic and light hearted way. The “social ball pit,” for example, which is literally a pool filled with inflatable balls, welcomes the audience to dive in, have a seat, and play with each ball, which has random surface-level or in-depth questions for all to answer. One of them asked, “Is it more important to finish the race or to finish first?” I was clever with my answer and remarked “It depends on the kind of race. A marathon I’d be happily glad to finish but a 15 yard sprint, I would hope to finish first.”

On the event poster even, there was a picture of Picasso, which both indicates and invites reflection to our multifaceted personalities. Selfie Science gave the opportunity for people to be a little bit introspective, but also in a social way, talking with their friends but thinking about themselves in their various interaction with others and during each activity.

Another great moment of the night was seeing the Random Acts of Kindness, which was a table full of fortune cookies with a dare you were hopefully able to complete by the end of the night, such as smiling at a stranger, or giving a high five. I admit, I was surprised to see the amount of adults truly engaging in play. Many enjoyed decorating and wearing animal masks as well as creating animals and figurines made out of clay.

By 8:30, the event was in full swing, with many enjoying the “self scavenger hunt,” where you put your hand under a microscope and got up-close-and-personal with your literal self. The karaoke was definitely a fan favorite of the night. I even got over my own fears of singing in public and summoned up the courage to be a back up vocalist and dancer to a performance of TLC’s “No Scrubs.” Other attendees chose a variety of fan favorite tunes such as “I Will Survive” and “Dead or Alive.” One incredibly talented woman showed tremendous bravery in singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables.” The Selfie Science event was a night I will never forget, and I’m sure that’s the same for the many who attended and helped made this event truly a night full of fun. As Testa so perfectly said “There’s a lot fun to be had when you turn the camera on yourself.”

The next Adult Swim event at The Hands on Children’s Museum will take place on June 26 and the theme will be CSI Oly. I can’t wait to see what they have planned next!