Children can experience hands on in a real courtroom
Thursday, October 27, 2011 10:00 a.m
CORNERSTONE UNVEILING AND DEDICATION of a SCALE rendition of the Historic Smith county Courthouse at discovery science place
The Honorable Judith Guthrie will perform the dedication
Attendees will include City of Tyler and Smith County officials
Representatives of the donors, CASA for Kids of East Texas, Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County and Discovery Science Place
Through the generosity of Texas Bar Foundation, Smith County Bar Foundation, Wolf Benevolent Trust and an anonymous donor, the new courthouse exhibit will give children and their families a better understanding of the judicial system and their rights and responsibilities under the law
Standing true to its mission, Discovery Science Place is working to continuously update its three exhibit galleries to genuinely ignite curiosity in young minds through fun, hands-on exploration. Thursday, October 27th at 10:00 a.m. is the Cornerstone unveiling and dedication ceremony of the scaled version of the original Smith County Courthouse that will allow families an environment to explore and learn together about the judicial system and citizens’ rights and responsibilities under the law.
The courthouse exhibit includes interior space furnished with a judge’s bench, witness stand, and attorneys’ desks complete with experiential props (i.e. costumes, gavels, etc.). Displays inside the structure will include informational materials to educate on the judicial process, performing your civic duty as a juror and explanations of what the participants’ duties are during a court session. It will also explain various sectors of the law that might be most directly applicable to children. This will help to educate museum guests on a variety of aspects of the legal process.
The historic courthouse replica will be used for other purposes as well. Discovery Science Place is creating unique partnerships with the Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) of East Texas to allow their exclusive use of the exhibit for their needs. These groups will have the opportunity to use the courthouse outside of regular museum hours. The goal of these partnerships is to provide a safe environment for children to be introduced to the judicial process, better preparing them for court appearances and ensuring confidentiality.
Mecca Design and Production, a leading event and trade show exhibit design group based in Dallas, was chosen to build the interactive courthouse for The Discovery Science Place in Tyler, Texas. The design is similar to the original downtown Smith County Courthouse, constructed in 1909.
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $12 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar association.
The Smith County Bar Foundation exists to further justice and the rule of law in Smith County. It was established for charitable and educational purposes and to aid an impoverished system for the administration of justice in Smith County. The Foundation accomplishes these goals by establishing programs designed to educate members of the general public as to their legal rights and responsibilities; promoting and facilitating the exercise of the legal rights of the poor; and serving the community through programs designed to assist those affected by the judicial system.
Recognized among the top 25 science centers in the nation by Parents magazine and named the Best Downtown Business in Texas in 2009 by the Texas Downtown Association, the Discovery Science Place is a non-profit, hands-on learning environment with a mission of igniting curiosity in young minds through fun, hands-on exploration. Located at 308 N. Broadway in downtown Tyler, it is supported by grants, donations, admissions, memberships and special events. For information regarding the hands-on family science museum or to pledge a donation, please call (903) 533-8011 or visit the website at www.discoveryscienceplace.org.