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South Jersey Times: Garden State Discovery Museum Opens Remodeled Cooper Hospital Exhibit

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the South Jersey Times on June 18, 2014.

Garden State Discovery Museum Opens Remodeled Cooper Hospital Exhibit

By Kristie Rearick/South Jersey Times
on June 18, 2014

Eight years ago, when the Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill opened its Children’s Regonial Hospital at Cooper exhibit, the focus was on “easing your visit to the doctor,” said Kelly Lyons, museum director.

What the staff found was that, nowadays, kids aren’t nearly as frightened to go for a doctor’s visit as they might’ve been in the past.

So it was time for a renovation.

“We wanted to make it more science-y,” said Lyons. “We wanted to focus on acute care.”

The exhibit, sponsored by the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper, featured activities that allowed children to dress up as health care workers to learn about caring for patients.

This newly-renovated exhibit focuses on what it’s like to help people when they are ill and need to go to the hospital. It puts the ER in the spotlight complete with an ambulance that the children can climb into and either “drive” or tend to patients in the back.

“The ambulance will have a little bed in the back and there’s a control panel here with authentic electronic sounds,” said Lyons.

There’s also an area where your little one can “Stitch-Up Suzi,” piece together a giant X-ray puzzle, dispatch the Cooper Hospital helicopter, sit in the examination room where visitors can be the doctor or the patient and take care of newborns in the nursery.

“We wanted to make a visit to the ER less scary,” Lyons said.

The newly-remodeled exhibit is also more “gritty” than the old exhibit.

“We went from rated ‘G’ to ‘PG,'” said Lyons, adding that everything in the space is still “appropriate” for young children.

The exterior of the exhibit space was hand-painted by the museum’s staff and it looks just like the exterior of the hospital. As always, all of the work done to renovate the exhibit is done in-house by staff members. Mark Orleans, museum exhibits manager, said they had to visit the hospital a few times before they got started.

“We mimicked Cooper as much as we could,” he said.

Cooper University Hospital also had a hand in what the exhibit would look like, Lyons said.

“We’ve taken a much more authentic approach in the renovation, creating real scenarios that kids might see when entering the emergency department,” she said.

The museum also renovated its children’s theater, giving it a more 1920s-style look, Lyons said.

If you go: The Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper exhibit is now open at the Garden State Discovery Museum, 2040 Springdale Rd., Cherry Hill. The museum is open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, with extended hours until 8:30 p.m. Saturdays from October through April.

Admission is $12.95 for adults and children; $11.95 for seniors. Children younger than 12 months are free. For more information, call 856-424-1233 or visit