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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.
Tornado: Visitors can stand beside our 11-foot tornado exhibit and watch a tornado form from water mist.
Engineering Studio: In this new section of the Experiment Gallery, visitors will have a chance to design and build solutions to real-world challenges in real time, using real tools. They'll make a "wind rider" out of common household objects, then launch them into a wind tube to see how high they can fly.
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.
Math Moves! This brand-new, hands-on section stimulates imagination and builds math muscle in visitors of all ages. Math Moves! encourages a collaborative approach problem solving, giving visitors challenges with ratios, proportions, fractions, geometric similarity, and more.
Nano: Nano is anything so small it can only be measured in nanometers—one-billionth of a meter or 100,000 times smaller than the width of a hair! Visitors to this area of the Experiment Gallery will learn what makes these tiny particles unique and what they're being used for.
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 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.