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Around the Columns

A museum all about you


The Snackster, an interactive exhibit at the YouZeum, doles out nutritional information on common snack foods at the touch of a button. Nicholas Benner photo.

Although Washington, D.C., has nothing to worry about just yet, Columbia is becoming a city of museums. The short list has long included two museums on Francis Quadrangle that display collections of fine art and archaeological artifacts. Now a new venue, the YouZeum, offers a high-tech, interactive take on the human body. It opened May 1 at 608 E. Cherry St. in downtown Columbia. Admission is free for children ages 3 and under, $5 for ages 4 to 13 and $8 for everyone else. 

Anyone who inhabits a human body should find something of interest among the YouZeum’s exhibits covering (in fun fashion) anatomy, physiology, fitness, health care and more. Most exhibits use electronics and involved Mizzou’s Ali Hussam and his staff, including several engineering students. Hussam, director of the School of Medicine’s Strategic Technologies Group, oversaw dozens of exhibit projects for which his staff wrote software. For a few projects, they also designed circuit boards that engineering students fabricated. Some students even filmed themselves and became talking heads for an exhibit about food. 

Wardrobe alert: To make the most of the YouZeum, be prepared to move. For instance, Hussam’s group wrote Wii-esque software for an exhibit where participants can either jog in a local rails-to-trails park or dodge attacks by acorn-throwing squirrels.