National Geographic Society: Museum at Explorers Hall

Another cool thing to do at the headquarters of National Geographic is to visit the Museum at Explorers Hall, which offers free admission to a variety of rotating exhibits throughout the year.

Currently showing is Maps: Tools for Adventure, produced by the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in collaboration with National Geographic. It’s a super cool interactive exhibit for explorers of all ages, but of course, kids will especially love it.

The exhibit features a variety of hands-on games and displays all about maps and the people who use them. There are special presentations about mapping basics, how maps are made and how they have been used by different folks throughout the years, like this one about pilot Amelia Earhart:

Other adventurous explorers featured in the exhibit include a wildlife biologist, Hawaiian wayfinder, shipwreck explorer, Egyptian archaeologist and several NASA scientists. Kids have to hit a GPS button to begin each video presentation. And as they move through the different presentations, children and adults learn about the latest mapping technologies and see how the use of maps has evolved from the days of Lewis & Clark to modern time:

There’s a fun companion website to the exhibit, as well as a geographic education awareness website called My Wonderful World that parents, teachers and kids can use to learn even more. The actual Maps exhibit at Explorers Hall runs through the end of July. (It moves on to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry in November.)

Two other exhibits at the National Geographic headquarters — photo presentations on Uganda and Chad — will be on display through September. Be sure to navigate yourself to Explorers Hall sometime soon. All you need is a good map: