Children’s Museum opens newly renovated waterworks exhibition

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Children are once again splashing water as they send wooden tugboats down river in the TVA Waterworks Exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge.

The exhibit recently reopened with some
new additions that highlight learning through play.

In addition to operating small locks and dams in a flume donated by TVA, children now may climb aboard a child-sized tugboat for an imaginary trip down the Tennessee River.

After boarding, children may walk around the deck before entering the pilot house and crews’ quarters of the red, white and blue tugboat, a small scale replica of Ingram Marine Group’s working tugboats.

The tugboat is named “Franky the Tugboat” for its builder, Children’s Museum volunteer Frank Peishel, whose carpentry craftsmanship and attention to detail give children the opportunity to learn about life on a river.

Nearby, brightly colored graphics and murals designed by TVA cover the exhibit’s walls.

The graphics and murals describe how people and goods are moved along a river, along with TVA’s role in managing the river and creating power.

At the recent opening of the renovated exhibit, Children’s Museum Deputy Director Carroll Welch thanked the many volunteers and contributors, including TVA, Ingram Marine Group of Nashville, and Peishel, who shared their time, expertise and generosity to revitalize the TVA Waterworks Exhibit.

“We can now offer children and their families the opportunity to explore navigation on the river and learn how river transportation is the single most efficient, economical and environmentally friendly choice to move freight,” Welch said.

The floors of the waterworks exhibit, damaged by years of water play, had to be replaced during the exhibit’s renovation.

The tugboat, wall murals and graphic displays were added.

The flume, closed during the renovation, came from the TVA’s Valley
Adventure exhibit on
the barge at the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair.

The flume has delighted children with water play at the museum since 1988.

The Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge is at 461 W. Outer Drive.

It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

General admission is $7 for adults, $6 for ages 62 and older, and $5 for ages 3-18.

Admission is free for those younger than 3 and museum members.

For more information, call the Children’s Museum at 865-482-1074 or visit www.childrensmuseumofoakridge.org.