The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is opening a high-tech exhibit next spring.
The new exhibit will link science with current events like the upcoming Mars rover landing, tracking hurricanes, or marking COVID-19 cases worldwide, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History said.
The new 2,500-square-foot studio was sponsored by Facebook with a $255,000 grant.
According to Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Current Science Studio will involve a low-touch, interactive experience and cutting-edge media, including holograms and a giant orb floating from the ceiling that can display content from NASA and NOAA.
"It's important we partner with organizations with a forward-thinking view on the use of technology," Doug Roberts, Ph.D., an astrophysicist and Chief Public Engagement Officer at the Museum, said. "This makes science relevant and accessible whether you are looking at big data or a physical object. And it aligns with what Facebook is doing to connect people around the world."
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History said Facebook's investment in these innovations will impact the thousands of children who come to the museum annually for field trips as well as the hundreds of thousands of museum visitors.
"Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is an incredible community resource. Facebook is proud to continue our strong partnership with the museum and support this new, marquee technology, which will directly impact STEM education in Tarrant County," Holli Davies, Facebook Community Development Regional Manager, said. "Facebook has been part of the Fort Worth community since opening our data center in 2017, and we're committed to playing a positive role in Tarrant County and supporting its students. We can't wait to see the exhibit come to life in 2021."
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According to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the new exhibit space will feature Science On a Sphere, a giant global display system suspended from the ceiling. The interactive, high-resolution sphere was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Science On a Sphere will use computers and video projectors to display around 1,500 views of Earth, planetary systems, and other animations. It will present images of Earth's atmospheric storms, climate change, ocean temperatures, and outer space phenomena, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History said.
"Our goal is to connect guests to relevant discoveries and news happening right now," Morgan Rehnberg, Ph.D., a planetary scientist and Chief Scientist at the Museum, said. "We could conceptualize an exhibit on the science of vaccinations, for instance, and how the new Covid-19 vaccine compares to other vaccines throughout history. Or we could track a hurricane or wildfires on Earth or space events like the rover landing on Mars next year."
The exhibit will react quickly to news events and change with the flip of a switch. It will also show history, displaying artifacts as holographic images and enabling visitors to superimpose holographic projections onto physical objects.
"We're trying to create fun, new ways to engage our guests inside the Museum," Roberts said. "Post COVID, people are going to want to get away from Zoom calls and engage in social learning." The Current Science Studio continues the Museum's tradition of engaging guests in immersive learning and exploring how we all will learn in the future.