St. Paul, Minn. – Discovery awaits this fall at the Science Museum, with new features and a brand new paleontologist sharing center stage with visitor favorites, special events, and live theater programs to create memorable and meaningful learning and fun all season long.
The Machine Inside: Biomechanics exhibit
Along with perennial visitor favorites like the Dinosaurs and Fossils Gallery, the Human Body Gallery, the Sportsology exhibit, and the RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit, the museum will host a new traveling exhibit from the Field Museum, Chicago called The Machine Inside: Biomechanics. This new hands-on exhibit showcases animals and plants as sophisticated machines that are built for survival – complete with pumps, pipes, insulation, motors, springs, and intelligence gathering devices. It opens on Friday, October 12.
Using real specimens, models, video footage, and interactive displays, Biomechanics investigates how cheetahs run and fleas jump; how the bite force of an extinct fish made it a top predator; how a Venus fly trap detects its next meal; and how many other organisms function as machines in order to survive, move, and discover. The exhibit also features a full-size replica of the Field Museum’s famous SUE, and the world’s largest and most complete T. rex. No human has ever seen a T. rex in action, but SUE’s skeleton has taught us about the way the dinosaur moved, chomped on prey, and saw the surrounding world. Biomechanics fits nicely into the Science Museum’s 2018 Year of the Engineer initiative, which is designed to showcase the ways all kinds of engineering impact our lives.
Biomechanics will run through January 6, 2019. Admission is included in regular exhibit gallery admission ($18.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids 4 to 12 and seniors).
Mental Health: Mind Matters exhibit
Since its opening this past spring, the Mental Health: Mind Matters exhibit has beengiving visitors of all ages a memorable, impactful experience exploring mental health and its prevalence and impact in society. It has also provided a safe space to have important conversations about a subject that some see as taboo. Mental Health continues at the Science Museum this fall, building understanding and awareness by giving visitors the opportunity to see how mental illness has been treated in the past, as well as the chance to better understand what it’s like to live with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The exhibit also connects visitors to valuable resources to help them better their own mental health and support those with mental illness who are close to them.
Mental Health: Mind Matters runs through January 6, 2019. It is included in regular exhibit gallery admission.
Living in the Age of Airplanes Omnitheater film
Also opening on Friday, October 12 and part of Year of the Engineer is Living in the Age of Airplanes, a new Omnitheater film that explores the wonder and grandeur of flying on the only screen large enough to convey it.
Filmed in 18 countries across all seven continents, Living in the Age of Airplanes explores the countless ways the airplane affects our lives - even when we don’t fly. Not that long ago, traveling between continents was a migration. Now, on any given day, rapid technological and mechanical advancements have led to a world in which 100,000 flights transport people and products between any two points on Earth in a matter of hours. Today, just 175 years after the introduction of the steam engine, boarding a jet to travel thousands of miles is viewed as an inconvenience more often than as a world-changing technological marvel.
Narrated by Harrison Ford and featuring fascinating history, breathtaking visuals, and soaring sound, Living in the Age of Airplanes delivers an Omnitheater experience like no other – a tribute to one of the most extraordinary and awe-inspiring inventions of the modern world.
Living in the Age of Airplanes will run through Thursday, January 3. Tickets are $9.95 for adults and $8.95 for kids ages 4-12 and seniors. Combination Omnitheater and exhibit gallery admission is also available.
Dr. Alex Hastings, Fitzpatrick Chair of Paleontology
In October, the Science Museum will welcome Dr. Alex Hastings as its Fitzpatrick Chair of Paleontology, a position previously held by Bruce Erickson, who recently retired after 58 years on the job.
Hastings comes to the museum from the Virginia Museum of Natural History, where he served as assistant curator of paleontology. He has worked on a wide variety of fossil projects, ranging from dinosaurs to insects. His research interests and interpretation achievements, in addition to his unique ability to translate complex science topics for non-science audiences, make him the perfect fit for the position.
Hastings is passionate about the importance of science knowledge getting out of the labs and in front of the community. “The opportunities to collaborate with other research groups, as well as the museum's Exhibits and STEM Education and Equity departments, is another major selling point,” he says. “My view of science is that community outreach is a necessary component of what we do, and the Science Museum has many different avenues to interact with the public and share its amazing resources. Paleontology has been my life's passion and I can't wait to share that love of ancient life with the people the Science Museum serves.”
Dr. Hastings will make his first public appearance at the Science Museum on Saturday, October 13 at the annual Fossil Day event. He will do a brief presentation and share his background on the Atrium Stage at 10 a.m. and greet visitors briefly following. Then, from noon to 4 p.m., he will participate in the museum’s first-ever Object ID event, where visitors are invited to bring in archaeological objects and biological, geological, and paleontological specimens and get a professional opinion about its identification from the museum’s Science Division staff.
In addition to the Dr. Hastings’ inaugural Science Museum appearances at Fossil Day and Object ID Day on October 13, the museum will host a full slate of special events this fall, including Preschool Party (October 3); Discover Your Inner Engineer Day with Medtronic (October 6); Social Science: Sci Fi Con (October 11); Explore Science: Let’s Do Chemistry Day (October 20); the Zombie Adult Camp-In (October 26-27); Boo-ology (October 27); Microscope Day (November 3); Girls, Science and Technology (November 10); and Paper Airplane Day (November 24). Visit the Science Museum’s website at smm.org for more information about these and other upcoming events.
The Science Museum of Minnesota is located on Kellogg Boulevard in downtown St. Paul. Admission prices and Omnitheater show times are available at smm.org/hours. Convenient enclosed parking is available in the Science Museum’s ramp. The museum is also accessible by bus; please call Metro Transit at (612) 373-3333 for a complete schedule and listing of routes.
Advance reservations are recommended to ensure that visitors get the Omnitheater show times that best suit their schedules. Reservations are available online at www.smm.org or via phone at (651) 221-9444. For specific directions and other museum information, visit www.smm.org.