The Soucy Family Exploration Station
Hands on learning has always been a core part of our museum, and The Soucy Family Exploration Station is the focal point of our public efforts to develop new and exciting ways of learning about science, technology and the natural world. 14 cutting edge exhibits, many designed in-house, invite you to explore concepts relating to heat, weather, aerodynamics, electricity, and much more.
Each display invites play and delivers discovery. In January, 2018 new displays from Flexhibit in addition to exhibits designed in collaboration with The Exploratorium in San Francisco joined our already exciting collection. These interactive exhibits focus on STEM fundamentals: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, subjects that are considered central to success in today’s economy.
Did you know that your body emits a type of light that our eyes cannot see? Our state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera allows you to explore a different part of the electromagnetic spectrum and see yourself in an entirely new way! Experiment with heat tattoos, infrared “lipstick”, or play with material that appears opaque to our eyes but is actually see-through in infrared!
Stress & Bridges
Everyday we driver confidently over bridges, rarely wondering how they work. The trick to a successful bridge is distributing stress. Bridges use arches, trusses, suspended cables, or beams to carry weight. Engineers use colorful “photoelasticity” to visualize the distribution of stress on a variety of bridge constructions and you can too! You’ll experiment with different bridge types to see where stress points form as you maneuver a weight across the bridge.
Not all shadows are black. When lights of different colors shine on the same spot on a white surface, the light reflecting from that spot to your eyes is called an additive mixture because it is the sum of all the light. We can learn about human color perception by using colored lights to make additive color mixtures. Now you can make your own colored shadows and experiment with how different colored lights create different colored shadows!
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. 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.