Takers to Givers

Children's museum design and fabrication

Takers to Givers

Shifting Imagery to build community leaders

Takers to Givers is the first in a series of articles about the groundbreaking work we are doing for the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast.

We Started with Pirates

When we first talked to the leadership at the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast, we knew that we had some work to do. They had already begun work on their new Explorer’s Gallery. The first thing that they built was a massive merchant ship in the middle of the gallery. Not only would we need to work around this ship, everyone referred to it as a pirate ship.

Pirate ships are great and kids love them, but we were looking to build a sense of ownership and stewardship. The Explorer’s Gallery was going to be centered on the natural resources of the Treasure Coast in Florida. We wanted guests to imagine themselves as part of their larger community. We wanted them to see that helping their community and protecting its resources was important and that everyone can make a difference. We wanted to empower them to begin a lifetime of stewardship and Pirates were not the best imagery to begin with. We needed something more positive.

How could we help guests feel less like pirates and to not only learn about the challenges their community faces, but to also show them how they could make a difference? We needed to make them feel welcome in a new kind of community. One that will come together to help each other learn about their local community and to become active in protecting it.

The Guardians were born

Guardians of the River


The Guardians of the River is an organization that will guide the new activities in the Explorer’s Gallery. The first thing that guests see when they enter the gallery is a recruitment station. Here they meet the guardians, learn about the mission and are introduced to all the activities in the Gallery. Those activities include the newly designed Mission: Mangrove, but there are many new activities already planned for further development. The guardians will be introduced by their leader, Red Hawk.

red hawk poster“Hello, my name is Red Hawk and I lead the Guardians of the River. We are an elite force who fight to protect the beauty and natural resources of the Indian River and the Treasure Coast. I started the Guardians with my friends who are a Manatee, Blue Heron, Crab, and Raccoon, but I need more help. That’s why I have partnered with The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast to help me recruit and train new members.” 

“Together, we will transform guests to this museum into Guardians of the River. Becoming Guardians will give them the knowledge and confidence they need to begin a lifetime of leadership, stewardship, and a love for the place they live. They will become tomorrow’s community leaders and continue protecting the Indian River far into the future.”

Guests will become part of this team that is here, local and can fight for the things that are important. They will fight by engaging and educating members of their community. But before they can begin fighting for the mangroves, they need to learn more about them and why they are so important.

Mission: Mangrove Control Center

Mission: Mangrove Control Center


In order to complete Mission: Mangrove, guests will need to complete five quests. The first four quests are led by the Manatee, Blue Heron, Crab, and Raccoon. The purpose of these quests are to build knowledge. Guests will learn about the mangroves and the other organisms and creatures that rely on them for support. The final quest will be led by Red Hawk and it is the most important one. The activities in this quest require guests to take the knowledge that they have gained through the other quests and apply it in a positive way outside the museum. This helps them begin a lifetime of stewardship and service in a fun and engaging way.


RecruitmentCenter-frontelevationThe Guardians of the River are an elite force who fight to protect the beauty and natural resources of the Indian River. Their secret power is knowledge. You see, most of the people who hurt the Indian River do so not because they are bad people, but because they don’t know that what they are doing is hurting the river.

The Guardians of the River, led by Red Hawk are currently conducting Mission: MANGROVE and they need your help! There are 5 quests that are required to complete the mission. By performing the first four quests in the Mangrove Forest within the Explorers Gallery, you will gain the knowledge that you need to do your part to protect the Indian River. The last and most difficult quest will show you how you can become a community leader by taking action to protect and preserve the Indian River. That’s what the River Guardians do.

With the Guardians, we are going to continue to build a place where guests can play and learn. We are going to transform those guests into heroes and superheroes. Not only that, we will give them the tools and confidence to begin a lifetime of leadership, stewardship, and a love for the place they live, wherever that is, but starting where they live now – the Treasure Coast. We will begin to develop the tools they will need to carry this for the rest of their lives.

We want to help develop tomorrow’s community leaders. The Guardians of the River are going to help us do that.

Guardians of the River Recruiting Posters

Guardians of the River Recruiting Posters

As we transform the Explorer’s Gallery over the next couple of years, we will give this next generation of leaders the tools that they need to live and act responsibly, to make their own communities better places, and to appreciate and care for the resources that they might otherwise take for granted. We will include them in them an organization that fights not to take what belongs to others, but fights to preserve and protect the things that belong to us all. What could be cooler than that?