On Exhibit

Visit the Museum at Prairiefire for an EXCITING year of Exhibition at the MAP! Here is a preview of our 2019 exhibitions and experiences. We will cover a range of topics with diverse as well as interrelated themes, providing an exciting year of edu-tainment!

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Liberty Bell 7: The Peril & Promise of Space Exploration


The Space Race and the ultimate United States’ victory in reaching the Moon began with spacecraft designed for one human. The Liberty Bell 7 is one of those spacecraft. The story of its mission, and its recovery after 38 years on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, is fascinating. Using the actual Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft as its foundation, this exhibit sheds light on how America’s first astronauts were selected and how they prepared for the unknowns of travel to space.


LB7, privately owned by the Cosmosphere, is an authentic, flown spacecraft from Project Mercury - the United State's first human spaceflight program. It is the ONLY privately owned, flown, capsule from the US manned spaceflight program.

  • LB7 was the second manned U.S. spaceflight.

  • Astronaut Gus Grissom successfully completed a suborbital flight in the Liberty Bell 7. (John Glenn followed him a month later with the first orbital flight by an American.)

  • The LB7 mission was successful in almost every way, except during splashdown…when the hatch door unexpectedly opened and sea water began filling the vessel.

  • A problem with the hatch led LB7 to sink after splashdown.

  • LB7 astronaut, Gus Grissom, who would perish in the Apollo 1 fire six years later, almost drowned when the hatch malfunctioned and was deeply disappointed his craft was lost at sea.

  • Grissom was able to escape the sinking spacecraft, but Liberty Bell sank to the Atlantic floor and remained there for almost 40 years, until the Cosmosphere and the Discovery Channel were able to recover it in 1999.

  • LB7 was salvaged from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean - 15,000 feet, which is 3,000 feet deeper than the Titanic. The hatch was never recovered.

  • The craft was restored by the Cosmosphere's SpaceWorks division.

  • Every piece of LB7 was taken apart during the SpaceWorks restoration, including the light bulbs and even the paint, and then reassembled in only six months!

On Exhibit August 30, 2019 - January 2020 in partnership with the Cosmosphere

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Apollo Redux


Guests will soon have the chance to touch history in a new interactive exhibit from the Cosmosphere, an International Science Education Center and Space Museum in Hutchinson, KS. At the center of the exhibit is an authentic Apollo-era Mission Control back room console from Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX—the same consoles which helped Man get to the Moon. The console is part of an immersive, bilingual experience that highlights Mission Control responsibilities from the Space Race-era to the future. 

On Exhibit September 2019 - January 2020 in partnership with the Cosmosphere

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Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs


Step back in time 290 million years when bizarre-looking animals dominated life on land and sea, and find out about the greatest extinction the world has ever seen in Permian Monsters: Life before the Dinosaurs. This unique exhibition brings the past back to life with fossilized skeletons and full size life models of the animals that ruled the world millions of years before the age of dinosaurs, in a time known as the Permian.

The Permian period ended with the largest extinction Earth ever experienced, which wiped out 90% of all species on the planet. The cause of the end-Permian extinction had baffled scientists for the past 20 years but a recent discovery shed new light on the cause of this catastrophe: global warming. Find out how this familiar phenomenon, started by a huge volcanic eruption, set off a chain of events that led to the greatest extinction on Earth.

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The Discovery Room

Children enter a world of authentic hands-on science and interactive discovery. Explore major fields of scientific research, from anthropology to zoology. Excited, engaged children will find an array of artifacts and specimens, animals, bugs, puzzles, and scientific challenges. Bonus... find ancient fossils in the stone walls of the balcony! Children must be accompanied by a caregiver.


The Discovery Room is a happy home for many animals and insects! Their health and welfare is our number one priority. While we enjoy allowing visitors to interact with them as much as possible, sometimes this means they may not be able to come out of their habitat or be held. There’s still so much to take in… Chico the Chinchilla taking a dust bath… Bearded Dragons going out for a walk… a Hissing Cockroach in your hand!

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Gordon Family Foundation 360 VR Experience

The possibilities are limitless when it comes to this 360 degree virtual reality experience! Find yourself on the International Space Station... Go spacewalking as an astronaut... Watch a volcano erupt right before your eyes! Shows every 15 minutes.  

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Voyager VR: Stonehenge

Now playing in the Michael and Sasha Kahn VR Theater, Stonehenge VR is a one-of-a-kind virtual reality experience that transports you to the most mysterious of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. Stonehenge VR is a fully interactive digital experience that tracks your movements as you tour through the stone columns of this ancient monument in England. All tours are shaped by your actions! 

*RESERVATIONS required for the Virtual Reality Theater/Stonehenge Experience. Please see the Welcome Desk, call (913) 333-3515 or email us at info@visitthemap.org and we will assist you with your reservations.

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Stanford Ocean Experience

Explore reefs in virtual reality as part of a study by Stanford University researchers. 

*RESERVATIONS required for the Stanford Ocean Experience. Please see the Welcome Desk, call (913) 333-3515 or email us at info@visitthemap.org and we will assist you with your reservations.

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Paleo Kansas City

Paleo Kansas City invites visitors to go back three hundred million years ago to see the fascinating fossil remains when Kansas City’s home was on the paleoequator. This engaging exhibit features a prized collection of dozens of fossils found in Kansas City courtesy of Dr. Richard Gentile, professor emeritus of geosciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and curator of UMKC’s Richard L. Sutton, Jr. Geosciences Museum. Paleo Kansas City brings to life the oceans, rain forests, palm trees, giant ferns, mastodons, mammoths and grizzly-sized sloths that populated the area millions of summers ago.

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In Search of the Higgs boson

The background for world renowned artist Xavier Cortada’s banners, also hanging at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, honors scientific collaboration. It is composed of words from the pages of 383 joint publications and the names of more than 4,000 scientists, engineers and technicians who worked together to find the elusive Higgs boson. This exhibit explores The Standard Model, scientific theory and the ways we begin to understand their meaning in our lives the world we live in.

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Alive! AR Experience

Step into the ancient world and create a creature from the past! Select from modern-day sites, find a fossil, then start digging. Learn myth-busting facts about T. rex, Velociraptor and even a Kansas Pteranodon. Once your creature is complete, give it a name and watch it come ALIVE in the Great Hall! 

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The Real Story of T. rex

Learn about the first Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered! Find out what scientists know now about this amazing creature, and meet Barnum Brown, the boy from  Kansas who discovered the very first T. rex!

Barnum Brown’s Desk 

This desk is a replica of the one Barnum Brown used at the American Museum of Natural History in New York for over 50 years! Watch a video about Barnum Brown, open the drawers, and learn about the ‘Greatest Dinosaur Hunter’ that ever lived.