For my math loving oldest daughter’s 9th birthday on New Year’s Day, we visited the new MoMath: The Museum of Mathmatics in NYC.
We had a taste of what MoMath offers when its traveling exhibit Math Midway visited the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. The Square-wheeled Trike and Tessellation puzzles were a huge hit and they are now permanent exhibits at MoMath.
MoMath: The Museum of Mathematics, across from Madison Square Park, is really all about math. The door handle is a Pi symbol, there are shapes and patterns all throughout the museum even in the bathrooms, which have tessellated tile designs and pentagon-shaped sinks in the bathrooms. Every hands-on, interactive exhibit opens up the world of math to kids and adults of all ages. Throughout the two floors of MoMath, you’ll be able to spin and twist cables in the “Hyper Hyperboloid,” pull yourself across acorn-shaped balls in the “Coaster Roller,” get the answers to multiplication problems light up in a two-story math line that reaches from top to bottom floors, play math mind games in the Enigma Cafe, see yourself as a fractal or a tree, make tessellated puzzles on a huge M.C. Escher-like board and many other activities.
All were fun and engaging, but many were not explained thoroughly. That is one, of a couple of, criticisms I have of MoMath. There are computer displays that offer three levels of explanation to each exhibit (from basic to advanced), but they don’t offer clear enough explanations or instructions for children or an adult who may be mathematically-challenged (like me.) Another problem, aside from the several broken exhibits (MoMath is brand new, so I’ll forgive them a few glitches for now) is that there weren’t many or knowledgeable staff throughout the museum. There were a couple of people who stood out and truly engaged visitors and explained things very well, but others just stood there and didn’t say much.
My kids did have a great time and when I asked my 9 year old if she thought MoMath was worth more trips, she said “definitely.” So we’ll definitely be going back.
MoMath: Museum of Mathematics
11 East 26th Street, NYC, (212) 542-0566
10 am – 5 pm, 7 days a week
Online prices: Adults $15 / Kids 12 and under $9. NOTE: Tickets purchased at the door have a $1.00 surcharge.