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Experiment Gallery Fact sheet
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The Experiment Gallery
Science Museum of Minnesota, level 3
The Experiment Gallery is filled with hands-on exhibits in the physical sciences and mathematics that invite visitors to "be a scientist for a day." In this gallery, visitors can carry out simple experiments and find the joy of discovery as they uncover the fundamental properties of physical events.
Energy Transformations: These hands-on components let visitors experiment with the basics of electricity generation, transmission, distribution, and use. A visitor-operated steam power plant, and a huge magnet, and a bike-powered generator that invites visitors to pedal-power lights, a radio, and a fan are just a few of the fun components.
Atmospheric Explorations: These time-tested favorites include an 11-foot tornado, a cloud-creating pump, and computer models that let visitors experiment with high and low pressure areas and winds that they produce. They can explore the tilt of the Earth and the resulting seasons, as well as the mid-latitude cyclones that govern the Midwest's signature winter weather. They'll investigate the mysterious Coriolis effect and learn why we get rotating weather systems, and they'll watch sand dunes and avalanches form in Aeolian Landscapes.
Air and Air Dynamics: Visitors can test the wind resistance of airplane wings, cars, and trucks. They can see Bernoulli's Principle at work with a “floating ball” activity.
Waves and Resonance: The Experiment Gallery's 32-foot Wave Tank allows visitors to make waves that break over a reef, pound on a rocky ledge, or swell and break on a shelving beach. Other features include the snake-like Lariat Chain and the Harmonograph, where museum-goers can make beautiful patterned postcards to keep.
Handling Calculus: Visitors can use a variety of hands-on activities to demonstrate the applications of calculus in everyday life. They'll find the slope of a hill and help Casey the 'Slope Rider' tackle snowboarding challenges. Visitors can run on a special carpet to create and graph moving stories, they can graph their position and velocity as they walk, they can integrate the flow of the Mississippi, and more.
Light: Visitors can create microscopes and slide projectors as they explore how lenses work in the Optics Lab. Then, they can use their bodies to separate white light and see their shadows in three different colors. The eye-dazzling Spectrum Window and spectacular works of original art fill this area with bright ideas.
Activity Station: Learners of all ages love to join museum volunteers in experimenting with more than a dozen hands-on science activities, including paper chromatography, building electric motors, playing with math puzzles, and exploring the chemistry and physics of dry ice.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
The Experiment Gallery was built almost entirely in the Science Museum's Prototype Shop with funding from 3M and several grants from the National Science Foundation. The first exhibit components were produced in 1990, and the gallery itself opened the following year. The number of components continues to grow to encompass hands-on exhibits on waves, resonance, air, mechanics, weather, sound, geometry, calculus, light, and optics.
Kim Ramsden/Chris Bauer, Public Relations Co-Directors, (651) 221-9423