The installation crew from the Science Museum of Minnesota returned for their second (of three) two-week installation trips on Monday. Once again a truck met them at our loading dock, full of new exhibits to be offloaded, unpacked, reassembled, and permanently installed. After two years of planning, it's exciting to see the final result taking shape. These are few images from the gallery earlier today.
(left) On the south side of the introductory gallery, there's a set of interactives about "Wind Energy." (center) In the first, visitors can manipulate a fan that causes a model windmill to react. What happens when wind speed and direction vary? (right) In the second interactive, visitors can see how a turbine converts wind energy into electricity. They can also explore more or less efficient blade designs and patterns. (click on an image for a larger view)
On the north side of the introductory gallery, visitors will "see" six panels about the "seas." There's a "Sea of Granite," a "Sea of Water," a "Sea of Ice," a "Sea of Grass" (panel missing in this photo), and a "Sea of Dust." All reference "The Land," that is the Great Plains, at various points in the past. What does it mean? Guess you'll just have to wait and sea!
Past the introductory area, past People of the Plains and the Tornado Theater, visitors will enter the main gallery. There's lots to explore here. One installation will feature Juanita Pahdopony, talking about creating a hide painting, with the actual hide that she made exhibited nearby. Not only can you see and hear the artist talk about her work, but you can view the finished product, and then you can try it yourself! A simple tracing activity on a light table will prompt visitors to tell their own stories.
We regret that Howard Council isn't around to see his recreated saddle shop at the museum. He was such a neat, amiable character, who really looked forward to seeing the exhibit. Genevieve, and their family, however, will get to experience the completed installation. Science Museum Minnesota, too, having spent time with Howard developing the exhibit, has taken a real interest in the presentation. It's going to be special. 1, 2
Everywhere you look there are theme panels, reader rails, furniture for interactives.... All of it is slowly but surely making its way to an appointed place.
The print shop, the "Gotebo Record-Times," is one of the last areas to come together. It has always been part of the plan, just one of the last installations to be completed. These massive pieces of equipment--the big cylinder press weighs tons--help illustrate what a chore print media used to be. Why, what if we had to communicate the information on this blog using sheets of paper instead? Times have changed. (click on an image for a larger view)
One of many fun and informative spots in the new gallery will be the chuckwagon installation. It's a little environment that visitors can explore. Pick up a "keychain" for prompts on what to see and do around the wagon. Rustle up some grub, croon like a nightingale, or rope a calf nearby--but just make sure you have your boots on your feet and a ten-gallon hat on your pointy little head.
Lastly, a piece of friendly advice. Be nice to the museum staff. We found this fellow wandering around the place, saying all sorts of disparaging things. So the museum director, aka "The Warden," grabbed him by his ear and put him to work cleaning a sod plow. Using only spit and off-brand cotton swabs! The last time I saw this unfortunate soul, he was crying softly in the gallery, just as we turned off all the lights and left until tomorrow. Guess he'll be there still in the morning. Hope someone thinks to feed him.
In addition to remodeling the gallery, we're also working on the foyer and store areas of the museum. For a long time now, it's been pretty quiet there, just empty and not much going on. But yesterday and today, things swung into high gear. Lots of demolition! For a glimpse of what the area will look like when it's complete, see this post. Meanwhile, here are a series of wrecking photos from earlier today.
Bet you didn't know that. Even though it's way north and east, Minnesota falls along the eastern edge of the Great Plains. So before the crew that came on the first installation trip went home on July 24, someone snapped this photo of them in our new "People of the Plains" diorama. It's their 15 minutes of fame!
In this post on June 26, we mentioned that our elk sculpture had fallen during the heavy storms in the Spring. A month later, on July 29, workers from the Parks & Recreation Department of the City of Lawton graciously helped us stand the elk up again. He weighs about 600 pounds, and tends to run away unless you have help. Anyway, here are some photos of the elk as it was returned to its former glory. I think you can just make out a smile in that last picture.
From time to time, we'll post info here about what's going-on at the museum.