Halle Heart Children’s Museum

A heart guide teaches children about the dangers of tobacco at the Halle Heart Children’s Museum in Tempe. [Photo by Erik Merkow]

After receiving a grant, the American Heart Association’s Halle Heart Children’s Museum is now open to the public.

The grant from Insight, Inc. has allowed the Halle Heart Children’s Museum to open its doors for the general public. The museum, which opened in 1996, was reserved exclusively for school groups and private tours before it received the grant.

To celebrate their new public hours, the Halle Heart Children’s Museum is hosting a two-day event on Feb. 6 — National Wear Red Day — and Feb. 7.

Halle Heart Children’s Museum’s Director of Philanthropy, Len Gutman said National Wear Red Day is the American Heart Association’s way of acknowledging heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women. He also said heart disease kills more women than all of the deaths from cancer.

To celebrate being open to the public, the Halle Heart Children’s Museum has scheduled a two-day Public Hours Launch Celebration. The celebration is at the museum’s location at 2929 S. 48th St. in Tempe.

Admission to the museum is $5 for anyone age 4 and older, while anyone 3 years old or younger gets in for free. However, on Feb. 6, visitors will receive free admission if they show up to the museum wearing red in honor of National Wear Red Day.

The Public Hour Launch Celebration is meant to be a hard opening for the museum since the museum had a soft opening for the public last October, Director of Programs and Operations Claudine Wessel said.

Wessel said the museum is planning several demonstrations and activities for its guests for the two-day celebration. There will be face painting and an appearance by the museum’s very own mascot, Lub Dub.

Additionally, Wessel said there will be a ribbon cutting to celebrate the museum’s official public opening on Feb. 6.

The museum has eight main exhibits that present lessons covering topics from the benefits of eating healthy, exercise, and the dangers of smoking. Additionally, the museum teaches its guests what to do in case of an emergency where someone is either having a heart attack or a stroke.

Gutman said the earlier a person learns to take care of his or her health, the less likely they are to get heart disease in the future.

Whereas the tours for groups are led by the museum’s Heart Guides; self-guided tours that are aided by video kiosks are provided for the public. Along with its video kiosks, the museum offers its guests hands-on exhibits and various demonstrations and pop-up activities.

While the museum is named the Halle Heart Children’s Museum, the museum offers people of all ages valuable information.

“I think adults are surprised when they come to the museum,” Gutman said.

He went on to say that many adults come to the museum as chaperones, but they end up learning just as much as the kids do, like signs of person may display if they have had a stroke or heart attack.

Gutman also said that the museum’s kitchen exhibit helps teach children guidelines for eating healthy and how to read product labels; learning that is beneficial to both children and adults because there is a lot to learn.

Regular public hours for the museum are noon to 4 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

More information about the event and the center can be found at www.halleheartchildrensmuseum.org or the Halle Heart Children’s Museum’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/aha.hhcm.

• Elise Anaya is a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She is interning this semester for the AFN.

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