Niagara Gazette

Features

July 8, 2013

Buffalo Museum of Science focuses on physics in new studio

Niagara Gazette — Buffalo Museum of Science has debuted its latest permanent, interactive science studio — the third of eight — and this time it’s all about pulleys, gears, gravity, and racing and crashing cars.

The In Motion studio opened June 22 with a focus on physics, mechanical motion, engineering and organic motion.

“With each (studio) we’re getting better and better, and this one is quite fun and exciting,” said museum CEO Mark Mortenson, pointing out that the gallery space includes a mixture of permanent collection items and specially designed exhibit components.

The science studio includes a gravity machine, where visitors can transport balls through a maze of ramps, funnels and tubes; a crash-test simulator, where a touch screen can create different crash scenarios; a car race, where drivers can build and race small cars on different tracks; a feature where visitors can build a machine using gears, pulleys, belts and lever arms; an air table to create flying devices; a fluid dynamics simulator to explore aerodynamics and turbulence; and a device that allows visitors to record the motion of their own body.

When it comes down to it, physics is a uniquely interactive science to explore, Mortenson said.

“We can keep (kids’) attention a lot longer when they have to create and build things themselves,” he said. “We also like the fact that they can continue to explore time and time again. The whole purpose behind science is testing and fixing and refining.”

The museum pairs the new displays with items from its permanent collection in a way that makes them interactive for museum-goers.

There are “different collections elements (on one side of the display) and then activities on the other side driven by a monitor or an actual physical activity that will highlight and connect the collections element with the activity itself,” Mortenson explained.

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