Museum Impressions: Museum of Science, Boston

May 30, 2019

I have been to a number of museums during my childhood and in current years. This week’s post is a museum I visited during my childhood: the Museum of Science in Boston, Massachusetts. I visited the museum with my family and one of the exhibits that stood out to me was the history of roller coasters. The exhibit took place inside of an IMAX theater where visitors sat in front of a screen that not only showed a documentary of roller coasters but the chairs we sit in simulate being on a roller coaster. Another exhibit that I found interesting was Museum of Science: Then and Now exhibit. The Museum of Science: Then and Now is a permanent exhibit that shows visitors how the museum evolved over the last 180 years to meet the changing needs of society through interactive displays and artifacts. It tells the story of the Museum of Science beginning in 1830 when a group of doctors and lawyers met in Boston to establish the Boston Society of Natural History, which quickly amassed a collection of specimens from across New England and around the world. Then the exhibit continued with various changes and the museum’s plans for the future. I recently visited the website and saw what they currently have to offer for the visitors.

The Museum of Science in Boston’s mission, according to their website, is to play a leading role in transforming the nation’s relationship with science and technology. One of the current events occurring at the Museum that stood out to me was Red Sox weekend since I grew up in a Red Sox family and I thought it is an interesting partnership that I have not seen before in other museum programs. The Red Sox and the Museum partnered together to host a fun-filled roster of activities combining the spirit of baseball with the learning opportunities of STEM. During the weekend, visitors can participate in activities including a Sox-themed Design Challenge where they can build and test prototypes to solve a problem. Their aim is to produce baseball-inspired STEM material for the members of Red Sox Kid Nation and collaborate on family-friendly programs, activities, and events throughout the year at Fenway Park and at the Museum; at Fenway, they offer the mascots Wally and Tessie’s STEM workbook for kids to use. It takes place this weekend on June 1st and June 2nd, 2019 from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

It is impressive how much is offered at the Museum of Science in Boston. For instance, they have live presentations, drop-in activities, IMAX Films, Planetarium Shows, 4-D Films, Butterfly Garden, Thrill Ride 360°, Summer Courses, and Duck Tours. The Museum offers a number of live demonstrations every day, most of which are free with Exhibit Halls admission. A couple of examples of the live demonstrations include live animal presentations, live animal story time for preschoolers, science magic, and the amazing Nano Brothers juggling show. The Museum offers a variety of hands-on activities daily, and encourage visitors to stop by during program hours and stay as long or as little as they like; a few examples of the drop-in activities are Astronomy After Hours, Design Challenges, and hands-on laboratory.

The Museum of Science also screens IMAX films in its theater, the Mugar Omni Theater, which has the world’s largest film format is projected onto a five-story-tall IMAX® Dome screen. This theater wraps audiences in larger-than-life images of flora, fauna, and faraway places, and a state-of-the-art digital sound system completes the immersion effect. The current screenings show Cuba through the eyes of Cuban artists, historians, and scientists, the Great Barrier Reef, and Volcanos. In the museum, there is a planetarium called the Charles Hayden Planetarium where visitors can explore our universe and beyond with one of our many space science Planetarium shows, like Undiscovered Worlds: The Search Beyond Our Sun and Explore: The Universe.

Also, the museum offers screenings of 4-D films which combines the visually captivating high-definition capabilities of a 3-D film with in-theater special effects such as wind and snow. A couple of examples of 4-D films are Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles: 4-D Undersea Adventure and Small Foot 4-D Experience. Based on the hit PBS Kids show Splash and Bubbles, the film follows Dunk who has lost his lucky pebble and his best friends Splash, Bubbles, and Ripple want museum visitors to join them in the search. In Small Foot 4-D Experience, a yeti discovers a human and tries to convince the rest of the yeti community that humans, or small foot, exist.

The Museum also has a Butterfly Garden that overlooks the Charles River and offers an opportunity to get close to a variety of living butterflies from New England and across the world. Visitors can explore the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly by learning about the four stages of a butterfly’s life and exploring the terrariums with a variety of live specimens that offer insight into the butterfly’s relationship to its animal and insect ancestors. In the Thrill Ride 360°, participants can twist and turn in the simulators with full-motion, 360-degree pitch, roll, and spin technology, and surround sound as they can either design their own roller coaster and ride it or ride in the pilot’s seat to fly over Boston’s famous landmarks. The summer courses are offered to students entering grades 1 – 8 who can choose from a variety of hands-on, week-long courses with topics ranging from bugs to robots to food chemistry.

Museum visitors can also participate in Duck Tours departing at the Museum of Science’s entrance. The tours give visitors a great overview of the city, show many unique neighborhoods, and take people into the Charles River for a view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines. I have participated in a few Duck Tours in my lifetime, and a couple of times were with my family; one with just my siblings and parents and another time was a family reunion with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandmother to celebrate the life of our grandfather who passed away earlier that year. The most recent Duck Tour I participated in was with my now husband for one of our dating anniversary celebrations. I enjoyed not only learning about the history of Boston but spending time with my loved ones and interacting with the people of Boston.

I could go on and on about what is offered at the Museum of Science in Boston but it would be an extremely long blog post for this week. Therefore, I recommend checking out their website to learn more about what they offer throughout the year.

Resource:

https://www.mos.org/

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