The Soucy Family Exploration Station
This gallery invites you to look closely and listen carefully at the world around us. This is an interactive space where curious minds of all ages get to generate electricity, play with time, listen to birds, look closely at butterfly wings, and test the strength of bridges.
The Naturalist's Corner
Bring your bugs, rocks, bones, plants and questions for our naturalists to help you understand the ecosystems, habitats and species that are in your neighborhood.
These interactive stations are all about what happens when your push, pull, connect, and crank — movement is required with very satisfying results.
The first display is about stress — the kind that engineers test when they imagine connecting roads across a river or over an abyss. Take a really close look at the bridges you cross every day. The trick to a successful bridge is distributing stress. Depending on the distance covered and the materials used, bridges rely on various engineering principles to allow traffic of different weights to cross from one side to the other. Bridges use arches, trusses, suspended cables, or beams to carry weight.
Using colorful “photoelasticity” to visualize the distribution of stress on a variety of bridge constructions, you’ll see where the stress points are as you maneuver a weight across the bridge. The interactive exhibit illustrates the differences between a suspension bridge that might connect a mountain trail across a chasm and a truss bridge created to support freight trains across a river, and more.
What happens when an electric charge that you have generated is released below a metal ring? Watch the ring jump, reaching higher when you’ve maxed out the generator at 750 volts. And you can try rings of different weights and sizes to study the effects of these variables. You can decide how much energy to generate by cranking a wheel. Once you’ve seen your energy release, let your imagination go! This powerful display captures the excitement of generating energy … and it sparks fresh ideas about the transformations that came through this invention!
Circuits carry electricity — flowing from negative to positive — making movement, noise, and light when enough power comes through and reaches a machine. In this circuits station, you’ll create a path for the charge to follow, choosing where to direct the electricity you generate. In one set of panels, you’ll feel — by the number of rotations that are required on the generator — the difference between LED and conventional light bulbs. In another panel, you can set wheels in motion as you crank the generator. Whether you select light or motion, the electricity must travel across circuits you lay out.
Each display invites play and delivers discovery. The newest displays are designed by Flexhibit, a company that specializes in modules for science centers and museums. These interactive exhibits focus on STEAM fundamentals: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, subjects that are considered central to success in today’s economy. The Fairbanks Museum’s education programs continue to provide essential services to schools through innovative, hands-on experiences, and these stations will provide fundamental learning tools, plus they’re fun for all ages.
These new exhibits invite experimentation and observation. Let us know what you discover!