Close to 500 people stopped by the Arlington Heights Memorial Library on Saturday evening, January 20 to get a first look at the library's newest traveling exhibit, XOXO: An Exhibit About Love & Forgiveness.
The opening night party filled the Marketplace and Kids' World and gave partygoers of all ages the opportunity to explore the power of feelings with many family-friendly activities.
"It's nice to see so many different families. So many different ages, so many different faces," said Sheila Whiteside, who came to the party with her husband and two children. "I think [the exhibit] reminds us to come back to the basics. It reminds us of what is really important. My kids are smiling and we're happy."
The main attraction of the night was the debut of XOXO. Families couldn't get enough of exploring the different parts of this hands-on exhibit. Some popular activities included Holding Hands, which allows people to hold hands to get a memorable quote to appear; Talk to Someone, where families can communicate with one another using telephones set up in the library; and Release the Negative, an activity where participants can write down negative feelings and send them into a paper shredder.
"There's a lot of things you can do here with people that you love and care about," said nine-year-old Kanon Koshin as she got ready to send a photo she drew of a thunderstorm into Release the Negative's paper shredder. "You can show how you feel angry, sad and happy."
Attendees also visited the Hub for button making and yarn art activities, the Training Center for a virtual Google Expedition to Paris and Kids' World for a scavenger hunt, storytimes and arts and crafts.
Another highlight of the evening that impressed partygoers was an hour-long performance from Istvan & His Imaginary Band that kept children engaged with bubbles, tambourines and fun music. Istvan performed in the Hendrickson Room to an enthusiastic crowd, which included Tracy Brooks and her three children.
"[XOXO] is great, it's keeping the kids active and giving them unique things to see and touch," Brooks said. "I like that [Istvan & His Imaginary Band] passed out tambourines, they got to feel and touch their own instruments."
Visit XOXO: An Exhibit About Love & Forgiveness during regular library hours from now to Saturday, March 31 in Kids' World and the Marketplace. This exhibit was created by the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh with support from The Fetzer Institute and is made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Library.