Children’s Museum opens renovated Smiles, Inc. exhibit, more museum facelifts to come

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( — A renovated exhibit at The Children’s Museum of Memphis is teaching kids the importance dental hygiene in a fun atmosphere.

The exhibit, Smiles, Inc., is a revamped space, open just in time for a busy fall break week at the museum. The space allows kids to engage in fantasy play that they’re a dentist for a day.

Before the remodel, the space was dull with white walls. Museum employees described it as sterile like a dentist office may be.

Now, the exhibit is vibrantly colored with graphic designs on the wall. It’s made to feel like you’re walking into a mouth.

“You want to demystify the whole experience of going to the dentist and then you also want children to begin to think, ‘when I grow up, I could be a dentist’ but then of course there’s the very real, right now today skill of learning to brush your teeth properly,” Avis Robinson, the museum’s director of education, said.

“Floss-cutting” at the Children’s Museum of Memphis

Along with the facelift, new games have been added such as an animal teeth section and a magnetized teeth cleaning activity.

Activities like a two-minute teeth brushing drill aim to promote good dental hygiene among children. In a CDC study, released earlier this year, it found that 1/3 of kids only brushed their teeth once a day instead the recommended twice daily.

“The idea is they come and learn about dental hygiene and get a chance to practice the skills that they need to brush their teeth properly,” Robinson said.

Executive Director Dr. Stewart Burgess said the Smiles, Inc. exhibit is the first to be renovated but the museum is currently working with all of its sponsored exhibits to bring

“We’re always in the process of refurbishing. Right now, is a big push though. We’re working with all of our sponsored exhibits like International Paper, AutoZone, FedEx, the dental groups to refresh with major refreshes rather than small refreshes,” Dr. Burgess said.

A “floss-cutting” ceremony was held for the renovated Smiles, Inc. exhibit on Tuesday morning. The space is sponsored by Delta Dental, Alliance to the Memphis Dental Society and the Pediatric Dental Group & Orthodontics.

The museum says even more exhibit renovations are on the way.

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