This week, Madeline and I stopped by to see Metamorphosis: The Transfer of Energy, the exhibit created by the Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art. This “museum without walls” creates exhibits at available spaces and events, but aims to open a full-fledged museum (with walls) in 2012. The gallery space at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center currently features several interactive exhibits such as Cloth Waves, in which you try to launch soft balls into the center receptacle by creating fabric waves, or the Gear Table, in which you can arrange gears to your liking to play music or spin optical illusions. I think my favorite was Wooden Wave, a table that converts flat pieces of wood into waves through a crank.
Of course, the challenge of a hands-on museum is maintaining the exhibits. The Water Wheel didn’t quite work properly and a few tubes in the Rainbow Drum were broken — all of which attests to the fact that a museum with walls (and a staff to maintain the exhibits) would be preferable. Fortunately, they seem to have the community’s backing — they’ve received a grant from RISCA and their recent Kickstarter campaign exceeded its goal. Of course, it’s a big leap from a $2,500 Gear Table to a multi-million dollar museum so they’ll need a lot more support to make it happen. So go check out their exhibit, offer your suggestions, and donate what you can (they’ll even take your old cameras and computers).
Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art
Their first multi-week exhibit Metamorphosis: The Transfer of Energy is currently open and free to the public through April 15, 2011.
Gallery at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center
175 Main Street
This is a great hands-on exhibit that helps to tell the story of what happened on the Blackstone River with the Birth of the American Industrial Revolution.
The exhibit space is managed by Slater Mill, which is across the street. Slater Mill will be open during the April school vacation week 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. for families and friends.
For more information visit http://www.slatermill.org