Last weekend I got a chance to explore the World Chess Hall of Fame's new exhibit "Kings, Queens and Castles" with the kids. If you didn't know, St. Louis is chess central holding the world hall of fame, top tournaments and the largest chess piece in the world. The Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center are located in the Central West End just down the street from my office. We love chess at our house and this was a perfect opportunity to make it an immersive experience.
The Chess Hall of Fame usually has three exhibits focused on the art, history and cultural significance of chess. This is the first exhibit that I've seen that is specifically focused on children. It is co-sponsored by the Magic House which contributes to the fun, hands-on atmosphere. For the grown-ups there is also a feminist art exhibit and a WWII exhibit.
If you've ever wondered what a full contact chess match would look like this is your chance
When you first walk in you are met with a giant castle encompassing a chess board with pieces as large as a child. If you've ever wondered what a full contact chess match would look like this is your chance. Along with the board, there are capes, crowns, thrones and dungeons for fantasy and role play. This immersive experience helps children see chess in a whole new way. If your child has yet to get into chess this would be a great introduction.
They didn't blink an eye at our creative mess
In addition to the play opportunities, there are two craft tables for your little artists. We made crowns complete with glittery metallic stickers, which the kids loved. There are also shields for the warriors in your clan, which could also be a fun opportunity to make a personal or family coat of arms. The staff there are really welcoming and accommodating. They didn't blink an eye at our creative mess and were very encouraging and complementary of the creations.
The exhibit goes until September 11th, 2016 so there is plenty of time to go visit. Be sure to pick up an exhibit poster and program which display the moves of all the pieces in a cute and fun way. Download the exhibit brochure here.
From the World Chess Hall of Fame Website:
Explore a castle, become your favorite chess piece on a life-size board, and create your own crown, all while learning about one of the world’s oldest and best loved games. The World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) is pleased to present Kings, Queens & Castles, an innovative exhibition that brings the chessboard to life and provides an engaging introduction to individual chess pieces and game strategy. Commissioned by the World Chess Hall of Fame, this exhibition was developed in partnership with The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum.
For the first time, the WCHOF is presenting an exhibition solely focused on children and chess. With a giant medieval castle, slides, life-size chessboard, large-scale chess pieces, and chess-playing and art-making stations, children of all ages and chess-playing ability will be able to experience the ancient game in a brand new way. A variety of rich programming opportunities will take place over the course of the exhibition, including toddler programming, Family Days, field trips, an interactive app, and a photo booth. Our award-winning gift store, Q Boutique, contains gifts and toys curated for children with custom apparel, activity books, craft projects, and chess sets.
With our mission to build awareness for the cultural and artistic significance of chess, the WCHOF along with the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis looks forward to celebrating this important game and fostering a new generation of chess enthusiasts.