Iway Exhibit - Providence Children's Museum

An exhibit about solving problems


Tackle bridge building challenges, redesign the city and find out about the construction of the I-195 Iway.


Bridges take us over water, over roads, over land. Bridges solve the problem of getting from here to there. Engineers, architects and construction workers solve a lot of problems as they design and build a new bridge. The Museum’s Iway exhibit takes advantage of the I-195 relocation project, one of the biggest highway projects in the state’s history, to engage kids (and grown-ups) in an investigation of roadways and bridges.

Donning hardhats and safety vests, kids complete finish work atop a kid-sized replica of the Iway bridge and construct their own arch bridges big enough to crawl through. Kids and grown-ups redesign the city on the play-on landscape map and learn about the history of the I-195 relocation project that occurred near the Museum. A book nook contains carefully chosen books about road and bridge construction.

Iway is recommended for children ages 6 to 10 – and their adult friends – for maximum understanding and interest. Younger and older children also enjoy many of the exhibit’s interactive elements. Play guides are on hand to encourage fun and learning.

Some things to do in Iway

Preschoolers:

  • Put on a construction hat and vest and climb up on the bridge – pretend to be a bridge builder.
  • Drive the tugboat under the bridge.
  • Make a city on the map table with buildings, houses and roads.
  • Figure out how to move piles of rocks with the earth-moving machines.

Ages 5 to 7:

  • Put on a construction hat and vest and become a part of the bridge construction crew.   
  • Arrange buildings and roads on the map table. Figure out how the cars will get from place to place and over the water.
  • Look at the photos of bridges in the window. Find a bridge that’s shaped like the Iway bridge.
  • Use the big soft blocks to make a bridge between the two bases.

Ages 8 and up:

  • Design your own city at the map table. Where would you put the roads, buildings and bridges in your city? Think about the questions written on the bottom of the buildings.
  • Look at the photos of bridges in the windows. Find a suspension bridge, a beam bridge and an arch bridge.
  • Experiment with different bridge designs using the big soft blocks – try building an arch bridge or a beam bridge.
  • Examine the sliding road maps. Figure out how people got from Providence to East Providence before the highways were built. What do you think of the plan to move the highway?

Other Exhibits:

Play Power | Water Ways | The Children's Garden | The Climber | Underland
Strings Attached | Littlewoods | ThinkSpace | Coming to Rhode Island