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Let’s Explore Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience

The iconic Barbie doll meets the world’s biggest and best children’s museum in BarbieTM You Can Be AnythingTM: The Experience. This new exhibit celebrates Barbie through interactive experiences, imaginary play, and programming in a way that can only be done at The Children’s Museum. You can learn about inspiring women who have broken down career barriers, try your hand at 11 different careers, and explore more than 45 additional careers that Barbie has had over the past 60 years in hopes of sparking conversations around future career possibilities!

Let’s take a look at what you’ll find in Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience.

Ruth Handler believed girls could be anything

We wouldn’t have Barbie without Ruth Handler’s vision. When Ruth was raising her children, she noticed that her daughter’s toy choices were limited. She could imagine herself as a mom or a caregiver—that’s all! Her son could imagine himself as a pilot, doctor, firefighter, astronaut, and more. Inspired, Ruth created the Barbie doll to show girls that they had choices and could be anything. Barbie has been inspiring girls to tell their stories and dreams for more than 60 years.

Entrance to Barbie You Can Be Anything The Experience at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

“My whole philosophy of Barbie was that, through the doll, the girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”—Ruth Handler

You can see an example of the very first Barbie doll as you enter the exhibit. You’ll also find a display case with some of the more than 200 careers that Barbie has had over the decades.

Insider tip: Don’t miss the Barbie astronaut in her bright pink space suit from the 1980s!

Meet Role Models from history

Role Models Ella Fitzgerald and Laurie Hernandez in Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience features five inspiring Role Models from history who helped pave the way for women today. They have broken down barriers and blazed new trails. With displays, Barbie dolls, and a few artifacts, you’ll encounter these five women and the impact they had on the world around them:

  • Laurie Hernandez
  • Katherine Johnson
  • Ella Fitzgerald®
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Florence Nightingale

You can learn more about these extraordinary role models during the live program called Up Close and Personal—Women Changing the World. This interactive program occurs several times daily. Check the web calendar for times.

Insider tip: Don’t miss your chance to examine Amelia Earhart’s aviator goggles from The Children’s Museum Collection and one of the 13 GRAMMYs that Ella Fitzgerald won.

Try new things and explore the possibilities!

The rest of the exhibit space is dedicated to exploring and experiencing 11 different careers with Barbie. This space is arranged in five different career categories. Each section includes a display case with Barbie dolls that represent careers in that particular category.

You can be an adventurer

You can be an adventurer in Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Barbie has had an adventurous spirit for more than 60 years. As you explore the adventurer area, you’ll find a display case with examples of the adventurer careers Barbie has held. Did you know she has been a Mars explorer, polar marine biologist, race car driver, scuba diver, and worked in other adventurer careers?

Adventurers like to be where the action is. They take risks to test their limits, help those in unsafe situations, and explore new places. In the adventurer area, you can try these careers:

  • Surfer: Hang 10 and catch a gnarly wave in the surfer interactive. Climb on the board and shoot the curl. Don’t wipeout when it starts to rumble!
  • Wildlife photographer: Navigate the rainforest in the Barbie jeep to find the perfect spot to take photos of animals for a wildlife magazine. Once there, “climb” into the back and test your photography skills.
  • Rock climber: Explore the natural treasures hidden through the mountainside.

You can “meet” everyday Role Model Suzi Eszterhas while you’re in the adventurer area. She’s a wildlife photographer who captures images of moments between baby animals and their mothers in the wild!

You can be a problem solver

As you examine the Barbie display case in this area, you’ll discover the many problem solver careers Barbie has held. Over the years, her problem solver roles have included a surgeon, paleontologist, naval petty officer, and more!

Problem solvers think through solutions to tricky problems and find ways to fix broken things. In this area, you can explore these careers:

Builder: Use your building skills to repair a broken fence. Robotics engineer: Write instructions for a robot to repair and test a Barbie car.

While you’re in the problem solvers area, you can “meet” everyday Role Models Sarah Aown and April Knauber. They are exhibit fabricators who helped bring this exhibit to life!

You can be a problem solving robotics engineer in Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

You can be a nurturer

On display in this area, you’ll find that Barbie has served others in nurturer careers over the years, including a veterinarian, sign language teacher, gymnastics coach, doctor, and farmer!

Nurturers use their skills to care for people, animals, and plants so they’re able to grow and thrive. In this area, you can learn about this career through an interactive display:

  • Beekeeper: Harvest honey from an imaginary beehive and learn how honey goes from the hive to your table!

You’ll also find the story of everyday Role Model Aba Ifeoma, who cares for bees in an urban farm in Detroit.

You can be a creator

Barbie inspires creativity. When you explore this area, you’ll find a display case that shows some examples of the creative careers Barbie has held for more than 60 years, including—but not limited to—a reporter, hair stylist, ballerina, and violinist.

Creators love to dream big and design things that make the world a more useful, beautiful, and enjoyable place. You can explore these careers in the creator area:

  • Fashion designer: Create outfits for clients—just like a real designer. Email your creations home so you can share them with the world!
  • Artist: Use a digital canvas to make a still-life painting with pastels, water colors, or oil paints.
  • Chef: Try your hand at being a head chef and creating a new soup.

While you’re in this area, you can “meet” these everyday Role Models: Artist Rita Spalding and Barbie Fashion Designer Judy Choi!

Insider tip: Don’t miss the Art Glass Barbie Doll! Inspired by the Fireworks of Glass exhibit, this doll was made especially for a different Barbie exhibit that was here 10 years ago!

You can be a leader

Dream big dreams in Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Barbie has worked in leadership careers for more than 60 years! On display in this area, you’ll discover that she’s been a film director, CEO, police officer, career girl, and held other leadership positions throughout the years.

Leaders change the world by guiding and inspiring people to work together to do great things. In this area, you can explore these careers as a leader:

  • Pilot: Take the controls and fly an airplane with your co-pilot and watch the clouds roll by.
  • President: Hail to the Chief! You can stand at the Barbie-inspired presidential podium and make important decisions or give an inspiring speech. While you’re here, be sure to take a few moments to learn about Captain Tara Wright—an airline captain and everyday Role Model!

Insider tip: Don’t miss the Barbie Doll Box! Type your name in the box and share what you want to be when you grow up. The box will display your name and dream job. Make sure to have someone take your picture while you strike a pose inside the box!

You can be a role model

It’s important to have role models. If children are really going to aspire to be anything they dream they can be, they’re going to need encouragement, inspiration, and support. The exhibit will introduce you to many different role models from history and today. Children’s grown-ups, however, are their most important and influential role models.

After exploring the world of 11 different careers with Barbie, grown-ups have the opportunity to take the Role Model Pledge. At this interactive station, grown-ups are encouraged to promise to be a role model and supporter for the child with big dreams in their lives. Once you’ve signed the pledge, you can email the certificate to yourself so you’ll have a reminder to continue to show your support by listening to their feelings, encouraging new experiences, and celebrating their achievements.

The possibilities are endless!

As you can see, there’s a lot to explore in Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience. But these 11 careers are just the beginning. We’re proud to partner with Barbie in helping to close the Dream Gap, providing girls with resources, inspiration, and encouragement to continue believing in themselves!

We hope this exhibit inspires children and their grown-ups to believe that if you can dream it, you can become it. You can be anything, so let’s start dreaming big!

Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience will be at The Children’s Museum through July 2022. It is included with museum admission.

©2020 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

® 2020 E.F. Licensing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Supported by Franklin Pest Solutions and KinderCare Learning Centers