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Children's Museum of Denver Digital photo tree helps visitors get in the mood for a joyous children’s museum

“That’s just silly.”

Would you smile or cringe if you heard someone say that, while they were using something you had worked on for more than two years?

Jonathan Goldstein smiles. As Director of Exhibits for the Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, silly was just what he was looking for. “You have to put yourself in the position of a parent or grandparent bringing kids to the Museum,” he explains. “It can be a headache to get everyone together, drive into the city, and herd them all into the building...

“But then there’s a moment when we strip some of that away, where we get you laughing and playing with your kids, get you ready to really start having fun in this wonderful place. That’s what the Community Tree is all about.”

The exhibit Goldstein is describing is a 20’ tall, abstract copper and steel tree-like structure with 30 Planar LED-lit LCD displays forming the canopy. Each shows a picture of a family. It’s the first thing visitors see when they walk into the Museum, and the first thing most people do is walk up to a camera and monitor at the base, shoot a photo, then watch as it appears above them.

There are props they can use — big red lips, mustaches and masks — because the point is to be as funny as you possibly can be, together as a family. “People love it,” Goldstein says.