INDIANAPOLIS — Summer is in high gear, and parents are once again faced with the prospect of keeping kids both entertained and cool through the long summer days.

A visit to The Children’s Museum exhibit “Inside Hollywood Film & TV! You’re on the Set,” on display now through July 26, can accomplish both with its interactive approach to television production.

Through the exhibit, visitors are invited to go behind the scenes and learn what goes into the making of some of the most popular movies of all time and the television shows we watch every day, from “Spider-Man” to “The Simpsons.” Visitors learn about animation, storyboarding, and the technical aspects of production such as lighting and sound.

Story continues below gallery

The Children’s Museum has a penchant for sparking creative thinking.

Among the several live interactive presentations is a chance to help a TV pitch team decide whether the show they’re planning to promote to television executives should be a courtroom drama, a situation comedy or a science-fiction show.

The three skits the Museum actors perform for the audience all use the exact same dialogue, but each scene is presented in a different setting, with scene-related props and costumes, and a different plot twist.

The audience then votes to decide which genre would be the most entertaining.

One display features a studio set complete with a couch, a coffee table and a window on the New York skyline. Visitors can sit and create a talk show scenario or a situation comedy.

A visitor tech crew can be in charge of filming the show by moving the large television camera around and zooming in for a close-up.

Another popular display is a green screen disaster movie scenario. The backdrop is a blank wall — green, of course — with what appears to be a skyscraper falling over.

Visitors can step up to the wall and place themselves in position to be stopping the building from falling over. On the accompanying television screen, the actors appear as heroes, surrounded by a bustling city and saving the citizens from the falling building.

This exhibit spans the generations with the assorted Hollywood memorabilia on view. Barbara Eden’s costume and bottle from “I Dream of Jeannie” are on view, as is the dress worn by Ouvenzane Wallis in “Annie.” Fonzie’s leather “Happy Days” jacket and Dustin Hoffman’s costume from “Hook” are part of the exhibit, as are props from “Jurassic Park,” “Ghostbusters” and “Men in Black.”

The hands-on experiences and the limitless opportunities for role-playing make “Inside Hollywood Film & TV! You’re on the Set” fun for adults and their kids, and the interactivity of the exhibit goes a long way toward teaching children the basic tenets of television and movie production.

Visit the museum’s website for hours and admission fees at

Author photo
Christine Schaefer is arts editor and editorial assistant at the Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3222 or