Three Long Island parents who dreamed of opening a Museum of Mathematics for children in Manhattan moved their vision a step closer to reality this week when they unveiled their space on East 26th Street between Fifth and Madison avenues to journalists and potential exhibit sponsors.
About 50 people gathered Tuesday for a tour of the cavernous, two-story space, in which cardboard cutouts, photographic renderings and paper laid on the floor showed what in the future will be 45 interactive exhibits. The museum — known for short as “Mo Math” — targets fourth- to eighth graders and is set to open at the end of next year.
“They say the first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem. The United States has a problem — a cultural problem with mathematics,” said Glen Whitney, museum executive director and Stony Brook resident. It’s popular to say, “I was terrible in math in school” and laugh, but it’s considered geeky to be a math whiz, Whitney said.
The museum’s goal is to get children more excited by math by showing how it integrates into sports, art and nature.
Exhibits include such hands-on displays as “Hoop Curves,” which lets users first shoot a basketball into a hoop, then plot the angle and velocity of their shot. They then can try to improve it on a computer to make it more likely the ball will make it through the hoop and program a “Ball-bot” robot to rethrow the ball to their specifications.
Target admission price will be about $15 for adults and $9 for children, Whitney said. The museum will also include classrooms and space for events.
The museum is looking for individual or corporate sponsors to pay at least $50,000 to sponsor each exhibit. Potential sponsors should call 212-542-0566. The group has already raised $22 million to create the museum.
The other Long Island parents involved in the museum include Cindy Lawrence of Port Jefferson Station, who is chief of operations, and George Hart of Stony Brook, who is chief of content. A fourth core member of the group is Tim Nissen, who is chief of design and lives in Manhattan.
Lawrence said: “I think we’re going to create something wonderful for the kids in the city, the state and even the country who come to visit New York City.”
For more information, visit mommath.org.