After months of planning and deliberation, we have begun prototyping for our upcoming traveling exhibit Electromagnetism: One Big Theory, One Little Particle. Needless to say we are really excited about this project. I figured I should take some time to introduce the exhibit and give some insights into the philosophy behind its design.
Electromagnetism will introduce you to Eddy the Electron who will be your guide through the world of one of history’s most important theories. Guests will learn how Eddy and his friends are responsible for countless phenomena that we experience everyday; from static electricity and magnetism to generating electricity, electron microscopes and beyond. This exhibit will cover a vast array of content through graphics, artifacts and of course plenty of hands-on interactive exhibits.
We chose the topic of electromagnetism for a few reasons. Perhaps the most important is the total omnipresence of the content; with the occasional exception of gravity and a few other outliers the electromagnetic force is responsible for every physical experience we ever have. Beyond this, electromagnetism represents a massive achievement in the realm of modern science. Before the creation of this formal theory, scientists had studied its multitude of disparate phenomena without fully grasping the deep ways in which they were connected. Once the electron was discovered, these messy and seemingly unrelated events could be linked together and explained with clarity and elegance. This insight has also allowed us to delve into even deeper realms of understanding and create new technologies that has improved the lives of people all over the world. Truly a hallmark of scientific progress and worthy a great a exhibit.
But our reasons are not all so philosophical (or hyperbolic). Throughout our years of working in museums, we have seen many traveling exhibits, often with impressive set pieces and informative graphics. What we did not often seen was an abundance of interactives, with the exception of touch screens, which have becoming remarkably common. We knew that electromagnetism is a topic that lends itself to hands on discovery. That coupled with its place as a theory of both historical importance as well as current fruitful research makes it the perfect topic for our first traveling exhibit.
We will continue to post updates on the creation of this exhibit as we move forward. In the meantime, we have more exhibits to build.