6 DignityHealth.org/Bakersfield | Fall 2019 Honey, I shrunk Bakersfield! A new interactive exhibit at the Kern County Museum’s Lori Brock Discovery Center promises big fun for little people. STEAM Town is a child-sized, interconnected city built with rich educational intention. The hands-on play space encourages kids to learn how the real world works by exploring jobs in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) fields. “One huge thing for kids is imaginative play. They can go into this tiny town and pretend to be a firefighter or a chef. They can pretend to work at a bank or go into the hospital and see what it’s like to be a doctor,” says Mike McCoy, executive director of the Kern County Museum. Mini spaces spark huge imaginations STEAM Town features mini versions of many beloved Bakersfield businesses. Kids can become bank tellers at AltaOne Federal Credit Union, construction workers at a Kyle Carter job site, or physicians at a Dignity Health hospital—which comes complete with a mini Hall Ambulance and a life-sized game of Operation for small surgeons to test their skills. “We want kids to walk out of the exhibit and begin to think about careers they are interested in. We hope to spark their interest at a young age so they can begin to think about the future,” says McCoy. The exhibit also includes a fire station, police crime lab, a gas station, and a Luigi’s Delicatessen and Restaurant. If they need a break from their pretend profession, kids can “cool off” in the Union Plunge ball pit, an homage to the old swimming pool on Union Avenue. Mini town gets outsized support Museum officials says the exhibit is truly a community effort. Many of the businesses represented in the exhibit are also sponsors. The eight-foot-tall vignettes were constructed by students from Foothill High School’s Career Technical Education Program. Much of the artwork, which includes several 3-D murals, was painted by California State University Bakersfield student Roy Goldstein. “The community support here is really, really unbelievable. We want to give a huge thank-you to everyone who contributed. Sponsors like Dignity Health, Chevron, and the Junior League of Bakersfield helped make this exhibit a reality,” says McCoy. The Kern County Museum is already planning for its next exhibit, Power Lab. The interactive display will teach kids about fossil fuels and wind, solar, and water power in a mad scientist laboratory setting. It’s expected to open in January. Come visit! STEAM Town is open from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and is included with paid admission to the Kern County Museum.