Dialogue with Time

June 26th 2013

Dialogue with Time ExhibitLocated just outside of Tel Aviv, the Children’s Museum in Holon employs unconventional and compelling ways to educate visitors about what it’s like to have physical differences. The newest experience, called “Dialogue with Time,” was designed to help visitors experience first-hand the many physical changes that go along with normal aging.

Like its related experiential museums – “Dialogue in the Dark,” which simulates the experience of blindness, and “Invitation to Silence,” in which visitors learn to communicate completely non-verbally – the goal of “Dialogue with Time” is to foster an appreciation for the challenges and gifts of aging and to dispel stereotypes associated with the elderly.

The Tunnel of Questions asks visitors such questions as, “How old do you think you look?” and “Did you ever lie about your age?” In another part of the exhibit, a computer program alters pictures of museum guests to show what they will look like as they age. In discussion, visitors are encouraged to reflect on and share what they think about as they see themselves age.

In another experience, visitors try to unlock a front door with hands that are trembling. Wearing weighted shoes helps visitors simulate the feeling of walking with reduced muscle mass. Other experiences include activities that simulate dealing with hearing and memory loss and interactive games that involve, among other things, judging an older person’s suitability for specific jobs.

All the simulations are highly interactive and were designed to be experienced in small groups. Each group is led by a guide who is at least 70 years old. The guides encourage visitors to reflect on and share general impressions and prejudices they have of the elderly. The guides also explain the challenges and the special joys of aging from their personal perspectives. While the reactions of young visitors are consistently different from those of older visitors, Dialogue with Time is suitable for all adults and children who are at least 12 years old.
Developed by Andreas Heinecke and Orna Cohen, the same team who designed the other two exhibits on the grounds of the Children’s Museum, Israel is the first country to open a Dialogue with Time exhibit.