The Mary Baker Eddy Library is a unique cultural institution that strives to engage all who visit, including student and youth groups. A visit to the library combines history, geography, architecture, women’s rights and journalism, creating a one-of-a-kind experience. Standing in the center of the Mapparium — a three-story, stained-glass globe — leaves many awe inspired and can expand a student’s view of the world.
Unlike a flat map, the Mapparium gives a three-dimensional perspective of the earth. Visitors step inside the Mapparium to shared a view of the earth both geographically and geopolitically. They go back in time and are exposed to the world of 1935. Words, music, and lighting combine to illustrate how ideas have changed our borders.
For many, their first glimpse of the Mapparium is a lasting memory. Right away students begin to explore the exciting acoustics. This globe’s spherical shape and glass panels create two distinct sounds effects. Students and adults love trying out the acoustics when standing in the center of the globe, where they hear themselves in “surround sound.” They can also sample the “whispering gallery effect,” — standing at opposite sides whispering to each other it’s as if they’re standing side by side!
As the tour wraps up, students chatter about what they are experiencing and ask questions: What countries are different today? Do the colors mean anything? The Library’s Visitor Service Associates can highlight specific areas of the Mapparium, using the Teacher Feature programming to help answer these questions in an informal, educational environment. Leaving the Mapparium is always hard, but there’s more to discover in the library. The Gallery offers students opportunities to learn about Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) and how she became one of the most influential women of her day. Continuing on, they enter The Publishing House Lobby, a majestic hall with historic architecture, featuring materials sourced from all over the world. The library offers other spaces where groups can gather. Spend time in the historical Victorian parlor filled with images from The Mary Baker Eddy Library Collections, as well as books for all ages. Children gather here with the Educational Programs Coordinator for regular story times and other interactive activities that complement the Mapparium experience.
You can enjoy other attractions in the atrium and eat as a group in the lounge, which includes a vending area and lunch tables. Both these spaces offer the perfect opportunity to come together and reflect on your visit. The library welcomes young visitors to return year-round for a variety of fun and educational programming!
Arkansas State University
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