Star Wars Day at the Science Museum brings learning, fun

Guests at the Science Museum of Minnesota on Saturday found the knowledge, entertainment and droids they were looking for.

Karolynn Bratten mimics Kylo Ren's pose at the Science Museum of Minnesota on Feb. 25, 2017. The museum hosted a Star Wars day that featured activities and events based on the series.

Maddy Fox

Karolynn Bratten mimics Kylo Ren’s pose at the Science Museum of Minnesota on Feb. 25, 2017. The museum hosted a Star Wars day that featured activities and events based on the series.

Katie Lauer

A Stormtrooper, Tusken Raider and Darth Vader himself were just a few of the Star Wars characters that greeted guests at the Science Museum of Minnesota on Saturday.

While the museum’s four-hour Star Wars Day event drew long lines and crowded exhibits, Vader and his crew helped facilitate the day of learning through science fiction.

One of the event’s main attractions was the attendance of real-life Star Wars characters. These characters were members of costuming organization 501st Legion, the “definitive imperial costuming organization.”

The Legion has been spreading the magic of “Star Wars” through costumes since 1997. Kevin Doyle, who was dressed as Grand Moff Tarkin, thinks that magic is why these events work.

“If the kids are coming for a Star Wars event, it generates interest in other areas, too,” Doyle said. “It’s the science fiction aspect of it. It’s a language that both parents and kids can talk in.”

This universal language was evident in the hordes of people dressed in Star Wars T-shirts and onesies. The floors were filled with people enjoying the day, ages seven to 57 (and beyond).

Janet Graham, who was with her grandchildren, was excited about the event. A Star Wars fan herself, she thought the idea was a great way to get people to come back to the Science Museum.

“It offers something different,” Graham said. “We’ll come back, and then they [will] continue to learn about life with the fun activities.”

John Showalter, a museum member and regular, agreed. He said the themed day gave him an excuse to return to the museum with his family.

“We were here on Monday, and [we] still wanted to come back today,” Showalter said.

No matter what themes or exhibits are on display at the St. Paul museum, Showalter thinks the most important part is what kids get out of their play. “You’re learning while you’re having fun,” he said.

“I like the [Star Wars] movies,” Showalter’s son, Michael, said. The seven-year-old also enjoyed making his own lightsaber and exploring all of the event’s different exhibits. He even learned about the science behind fire at a space-themed presentation.

Hands-on exploration is what the Science Museum strives for. While Star Wars may have brought many families to the museum, there was plenty of learning and fun to be had at the other exhibits as well.

While everyone seemed to enjoy the day, one eight-year-old from Montevideo named Nathan has a request for the next Star Wars Day: “Have a Millennium Falcon.”