Designing for Creativity - DuPage Children's Museum

Designing for Creativity

April 6, 2022

Designing for Creativity

By: Sharon and Peter Exley, Architecture is Fun

Most people have made all the drawings they will do their entire lives by the age of nine! That’s what research shows. Perhaps you are told you are not good at art, or creativity is not as valued by your peers or parents. Whether talented or not, making doodles, sketches, drawings, figuring things out on paper – any creative expression will make you calmer, more mindful. We connect to our inner selves and our world. Creativity and curiosity are important for our development and for our well-being. 

We were thrilled to be able to design The Questioneers: Read. Question. Think. PLAY! exhibit, turning favorite book characters and stories into interactive experiences where you can make drawings, even past the age of nine, and where you can let your creativity flow. 

Iggy is pretty much Peter’s alter ego; an architect full of imagination and invention. Iggy Peck is the architect we all want to be, the author of lovely, exuberant structures made from the most exceptional and unexpected materials. Who couldn’t help but love a Gateway Arch made from stacks of pancakes and coconut pie? We all want to build alongside Iggy – that’s why we made the  architecture table and bridge large enough for families to gather around. 

In high school Sharon was told she could not take industrial arts. She’d wanted to apply the science she’d learned in a hands-on way – but there was no place that supported that for girls. Perhaps that’s why Rosie Revere resonates with her. 

It was critical to both of us as designers that the exhibit spaces give permission to everyone to find their inner Iggy, Rosie, Ada, Sofia, and Aaron. We crafted each experience to be accessible and inspiring, from the irresistible Cheese Copter, to advocating for green parks. With a nod to mid-century modernism, the exhibits, reflecting the book illustrations, have a timeless aesthetic; one where children and caregivers will feel at home here as they read, think, draw, experiment, and think some more. 

Rosie and Ada’s homes with their fashionable interiors are synonymous with our childhoods. They resonate with us. From the Eames thinking chair to the chrome Peacock chair, these details, and the furnishings remind us to embrace innovation and beauty. They’re designed to align to the gutsiness of The Questioneers, helping shape witty, fun, and accessible learning experiences. 

The Questioneers exhibit is a place where no one says no. It’s a prompt and a reminder of the importance of expressing yourself creatively, before and after the age of nine.


About Sharon and Peter

Architecture Is Fun makes everyday life fun. Sharon and Peter Exley founded the collaborative studio on the ethos that architecture is one of the gateways to a more empathetic and equitable future. The playmakers believe making accessible places of learning, living, working, having fun are indispensable for human growth and development.