The Rabbit hOle in Kansas City, an immersive museum with a mission of bringing children’s literature to life through interactive exhibits, announced on Monday that it is issuing the national “hOle Lotta Time Exhibit Design Challenge” for children ages 5–12.
Contestants—either individually or in teams of up to three persons—are tasked with constructing models that demonstrate how they would transform their favorite story or picture book into an interactive three-dimensional exhibit. Materials used to create the exhibit should be items that can be found either inside the home or outside in nature.
Submissions can be either photographs or video documentation of the exhibit model and the deadline for entries is May 15. The Rabbit hOle staff will act as judges as along with “a group of esteemed book lovers from across the country,” said content and communications director Lindsey Foat.
According to the guidelines, “submissions will be judged for their thoughtfulness, creativity, and faithfulness to the spirit of the book.” Complete submission requirements can be found here.
Foat said that prizes will be announced in the coming weeks, “but the ‘ultimate prize’ is the possibility that one of the designs will be realized and actually built in The Rabbit hOle’s Explor-a-Storium in 2021.” The Rabbit hOle, which has been in the planning stages for the past five years, is scheduled to officially open “sometime in 2020” according to its website in an 165,000 square-foot industrial building in North Kansas City.
Rabbit hOle co-founder and co-director Deb Pettid explained that this exhibit design challenge, as well as Rabbit HOle in general, was inspired by childhood memories of pretending to enter the stories in her favorite books, such as Harvey’s Hideout by Russell Hoban.
“I would spend hours on the banks of a neighborhood creek digging out burrows and building rafts just like Harvey. Creating models for Explor-a-Storium takes me back to that time and that feeling, when anything was possible,” she said.
Co-founder and co-director Pete Cowdin noted that the Exhibit Design Challenge had been conceived even before the novel coronavirus spread and shut down schools nationwide, forcing children to stay at home.
“We’ve been thinking about the challenge for some time, but we weren’t planning to launch it until after we opened,” Cowdin said, “With everything that’s going on right now, it seemed like the right time. I can’t wait to see what kids create.”