Rochester architect Von Petersen found himself creatively outclassed in his professional field at the Minnesota Children’s Museum on Sunday.
The museum unveiled its Young Architects exhibit Sunday. Dozens of families flocked there for the new interactive exhibit and free admission.
Petersen and his wife, Kristen, who also studied architecture, brought their two sons, Colten, 7, and Kacen, 5, to explore the exhibit and do some building.
“Kids will jump in and build a tower better than an adult,” said Von Petersen, an architect with TSP Inc. in Rochester. Children lack the biases that can hold back creativity in adults, he added.
As schools and educational institutions work to create learning experiences related to STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and math — Petersen said architecture covers all five in one vocation. He said he was glad to see his sons take to building and playing at the exhibit on Sunday.
“Having my boys here, digging around, asking me questions I can answer — I love it,” Petersen said.
TSP and Knutson Construction sponsored the exhibit. Bremer Bank sponsors free admission for families the first Sunday of each month.
The hands-on exhibit allowed kids to design, build or just play with architecturally themed activities.
“It’s a way for kids to have access to understanding the way the world works,” said Beth Sherden, director of the Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester.
The back wall of the museum was painted with an outline representation of Rochester’s ever changing skyline. Sherden said she hopes some of the visitors note those ongoing changes and perhaps someday play a roll in guiding them.
“This marries up well to Rochester with all the changes with all the new building and new homes being built,” she said. “This can help inspire a next generation of planners and builders and architects.”
Hunter Hamm, 9, of Dodge Center, jumped in to see how tall he could make a tower with plastic blocks in a sky scraper section of the exhibit.
“We only have the littler ones at home,” he said of the plastic blocks.
He learned a building technique to help him build his second ceiling-scraping tower.
“You have to kind of build steps to hold you up to make it go higher,” Hamm said.
His mother, Michelle Anderson, said the exhibit was perfect for both Hunter and his brother, Hudson Hamm, 6.
“My kids love to build,” she said. “Just to give them the materials and opportunity to build without having to purchase them is awesome.”
Lacey Gabrielson, of Austin, who studied architecture, echoed Petersen’s observations about the creativity the exhibit brought out in children as she watched her kids, Oliver and Eleanor build with wood blocks.
“They just kind of did what their minds came up with,” she said.
Maral Kenderian said the museum was a good place to have her kids, Jacob, 2, and Maria, 5, away from screens and working on what they enjoy.
“Maria loves to build things,” Kendarian said.
The exhibit will be open through June 9.