[The 90’s raw: Capital Children’s Museum]

Raw footage for the award-winning series The 90's. Videomaker Eddie Becker visits the Capital Children's Museum in Washington D.C. Guided by Chris Grotke of the Children's Animation Studio, Becker speaks with employees and students about their experience in the communications exhibit. Becker also tours the other sections of the museum.

00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with a shot of a mural in the communications exhibit at the Capital Children’s Museum in Washington D.C. Chris Grotke takes the videomakers to the animation lab where a group of students are working on an animated film. The camera operator gathers footage from behind a large glass window looking in towards the studio.

01:39Copy video clip URL Grotke and his colleague, Jamie Carr, speak with a few students about their current projects. They are making an animated video for the LL Cool J song “Mama Said Knock You Out.” “You get a chance to make cartoons and do things you’ve never done before.” The two girls take Grotke through the process of creating an animated film. This lasts for several minutes.

04:08Copy video clip URL Eddie Becker speaks with a student about his animation project involving the city of New York completely disappearing. Grotke continues to speak with the kids about their work in the animation studio. They then take the videomakers over to another computer station to load up an animation project a student created. The student makes a few comments about his experience working with the technology and his project. He also plays a few animations he had already completed.

14:40Copy video clip URL Grotke gives Becker a tour of the Interactive Television Studio. A young man stands in front of a large blue screen. Becker then steps into the Experimental Television Studio where instructors show children how to apply special effects to video. An instructor runs through a brief demo for Becker.

17:26Copy video clip URL Tanara, an instructor at the exhibit, speaks with Becker’s guide about her experience helping children run the TV studio. Tanara, Grotke, and Becker talk about being camera shy. Tanara talks about her job in detail. She is a supervisor and tour guide for the many children who come through the exhibit. She then introduces Becker to her crew. Floor Manager Vallerie talks about her job responsibilities. She also talks about the difference between the museum exhibit and normal schooling, stating that the exhibits are more interactive. Tanara goes on to introduce her entire crew. Becker speaks with crew members Stephanie and Isiah before getting a more in depth tour of the facility from Stephanie.

26:51Copy video clip URL We follow Stephanie to the first floor of the communications exhibit where she describes the highlights. Grotke demos the strobe theater. Stephanie then takes Becker over to another section of the museum.

30:58Copy video clip URL Stephanie takes Becker through a Mexican themed exhibit, where children are learning how to make Mexican hot chocolate. Later, they record another group of student creating yarn paintings. Becker speaks with a few children about their projects.

35:20Copy video clip URL Stephanie takes Becker through the open air market in the Mexico exhibit.

36:04Copy video clip URL Grotke takes Becker to the Changing Environments exhibit. The two walk up two sets of wooden stairs. Once there, they record children playing in the Simple Machines section of the exhibit. A teacher speaks with Becker about the museum. “Well, this is one of my favorite places for a field trip. It’s very educational. The children get to participate and they really come back with a hands on experience of learning.” Becker then follows the teacher and her students into the Patterns and Shapes portion of the exhibit, where Becker tapes the students playing.

44:15Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from a bubble exhibit. Children make large bubbles, and the videomakers even take a shot at it. Becker then records children in the Metamorphomaze exhibit.

48:31Copy video clip URL Becker sits down with Grotke and Carr to talk about the animation exhibit. Carr explains to Becker that they’ve been hard at work on a three and a half minute animation sequence and describes the premise. He demos the first thirty seconds of the piece for Becker.

55:06Copy video clip URL Grotke talks about how he and Carr developed the animation facilities at the museum. Carr states that they had to develop the process of making animation on these specific computers because they are not truly built for those purposes.

57:17Copy video clip URL Carr talks about his reasons for liking computer animation. “Well, I feel although I like cell animation…it’s very laborious in production.” Carr also talks about his experience teaching animation to children. “I’ve only been teaching animation for four weeks. These kids have never done animation before, and I’ve had a really good experience with them. They started off–they couldn’t draw, they had very negative feelings about what they could do, they were being told that they weren’t succeeders, that they were going to fail, basically. All their life they’ve been told they were going to fail, and so gradually, I tried to show them how to draw. I showed them how color works, and I showed them the animation process and then with time… they’ve gained a little bit of self confidence.” Carr also states that the students became a lot more sociable as they went through the class.

01:00:44Copy video clip URL Grotke talks about the need to provide children with alternative ways of learning. He goes on to talk about a few of the pieces they have sent to The 90’s, specifically a piece called “Top That.” Grotke also talks about some of the technical aspects of animation work.

01:07:54Copy video clip URL Cut to footage of the videomakers recording a piece of music off of a tape player. This lasts for the remainder of the tape.

01:47:30Copy video clip URL Tape ends.



  1. Kim says:

    Thanks so much for this, I remember doing this when I was a kid and the video is very meaningful.

  2. Nina says:

    Thank you so much for publishing this footage. I remember going to the museum as a kid (maybe 4 or 5) and the hot chocolate making was my favorite part. I think about it all the time, I still remember how it tasted and have yet to find hot chocolate better. It’s such a shame that the museum closed down, it was such a vital part of my childhood. This means a lot to me.

    • Chris says:

      Nina, I had the opportunity to go back to the museum several times when I was in late elementary school. The hot chocolate they used was Nestle’s Abuelita, which is widely distributed. In the Washington area, Giant carries it at most of their stores.

  3. T says:

    This video brings back really good old memories, I wish the museum was still around.

  4. Holly says:

    Omg. I had a moment yesterday thinking about my childhood! I loooved the hot chocolate too and making the circular wax ornaments with the yarn and the nail. They would pour more wax once you were done making your design so it would stay. I remember the illusions part of the children’s museum. My neighbor Ms. Gertrude used to work there and she would take a few kids in the neighbor. I will never forget that!

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