Exploration Place seeks input on new aviation gallery

Exploration Place will host a town hall meeting Monday to gather ideas and input about the museum’s new aviation gallery.

The science center recently selected an Ohio-based firm, Roto, to overhaul the gallery, which will be named “Design, Build, Fly.”

Representatives from the firm will help lead the community meeting, which is 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean Blvd.

The museum announced the planning phase of a new $1 million aviation exhibit in September. The effort is being supported by six companies: Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier Learjet, Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft and Spirit AeroSystems.

The National Center for Aviation Training and National Institute for Aviation Research also will provide support and guidance, museum officials said.

Exploration Place’s 5,000-square-foot flight and design pavilion is much the same as it was when the museum opened 12 years ago. Its most striking element – a “Wind Wall” made up of 350,000 silver disks that shimmer and shift to demonstrate wind patterns — will remain, officials said.

The new gallery could include engineering stations where visitors can test materials, a hands-on assembly station where they can put together planes or flight simulators where they can try flying.

Representatives from Roto, a company that specializes in science exhibitions, will talk about possibilities for the exhibit and listen to feedback and critiques.

The meeting is free. Museum officials encourage parents, teachers and anyone with an interest in the exhibit – not just aviation professionals – to attend.