Imagination Station officials unveil schedule of new exhibits planned through 2016

10/11/2012
BY JENNIFER FEEHAN BLADE STAFF WRITER
Imagination Station exhibits director and chief scientist Carl Nelson address reporters and staff Wednesday on the day that also marked Imagination Station's 3-year anniversary.
Imagination Station exhibits director and chief scientist Carl Nelson address reporters and staff Wednesday on the day that also marked Imagination Station's 3-year anniversary.

Snot, farts, and vomit are a great way to get some young people interested in science, but the Imagination Station has some classy exhibits planned too — from the history of the guitar to artifacts from the Titanic.

On the third anniversary of the Imagination Station’s 2009 debut, officials on Wednesday unveiled a schedule of new exhibits planned through 2016, beginning with “Grossology” next May.

“It is so cool because it is gross,” said Chief Scientist Carl Nelson. “It’s ooey. It’s gooey. It’s sticky, but it also has really good science in it as well.”

Visitors will walk through a giant nose to see what job nose hairs do, and they might experience a sneeze from the inside. They’ll learn about bodily smells, why we burp, and why warts, pimples, and moles pop up on skin.

In February, 2014, the museum will host an exhibit of artifacts from the Titanic, including parts of the walls of the doomed ship, glassware from its dining rooms, and portholes damaged in the collision.

Mr. Nelson said visitors will receive a boarding pass with the name of an actual passenger, and at the end of their visit they'll be able to check to see whether they survived the disaster.

“Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World” is coming in January, 2015. The exhibit focuses on the history of the guitar, its design, the science that goes into engineering guitars, and the cultural impact of the instrument. Mr. Nelson said the exhibit will feature the world’s largest playable guitar.

“It’s over 43 feet long, 16 feet wide,” he said. “You can climb on top of it. You can strum its strings. You can hear it play music. You can get a sense of how those vibrations go through those strings as well, and that’s just really cool.”

In October, 2015, the Imagination Station will host “Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition,” which will bring to life some of the popular TV show's favorite experiments, including the duct-tape canoe and the mechanical shark.

In May, 2016, “Design Zone” will give visitors the opportunity to design a roller coaster, create their own video game, or mix music in a studio.

Chief Executive Officer Lori Hauser said a portion of the proceeds from the five-year, 0.17-mill operating levy help bring new traveling exhibits to the downtown science museum — something she promised would continue if the levy is renewed Nov. 6.

“We’re trying to be as fiscally responsible as we possibly can especially with the support of the public funding that comes into our facility,” Ms. Hauser said. “I describe the science center best as a private-public partnership and about 40 percent of our budget is from public funding.”

Although the levy initially was intended to generate about $1.5 million a year, it actually brings in about $1.3 million annually because of a reduction in property values, she said. Between 25 and 30 percent of the tax revenue is dedicated to bringing in new exhibits.

The levy, which was first approved in 2008, expires at the end of 2013.

Ms. Hauser said more than 500,000 people have visited Imagination Station since it opened in October, 2009. The museum is free to children from Lucas County on Saturdays.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-724-6129.