MSI’s Holidays of Light

I was at the Museum of Science and Industry today for their Holidays of Light exhibit. It was the first trip there for me in about 4 months, which is a long time for me. The exhibit was great as usual. There’s a tree representing each of over 60 countries, decorated with ornaments representing that particular country. The larger tree in the middle of the rotunda is decorated with ornaments representing many of the museum’s exhibits. I took plenty of photos, and plan to post them to my new virtual tree in the next few days when I get the design and database up and running. Keep your eyes peeled here for the link.

Some other changes at the museum include the entire west pavilion being shut down for the construction of the new Science Storms, opening in spring of 2010. That’s going to be a rework of the old Hall of Basic Science, with a weather related slant. The centerpiece of it will be a 20′ tall tornado. Also, the southern balcony is under construction. The body exhibits are also being reworked and will open next spring.

Also of note was the Mechanical Cabaret Theater. This was a showcase of cam and pulley driven animated scenes. One of my favorites was the cat lapping up poisoned milk, as the sign described it. After about 10 licks the entire wooden cat collapses. In true Museum fashion, the museum inner workings of the display are completely exposed, allowing the curious mind (mine included) to look at what exactly causes all of the motion.

The former Robots and, prior to that, Time exhibit hall now is an exposition of where new technologies may take us. There is a lot of interesting content there, and it looks like they’ve set it up so they can keep it up to date very easily, which will be critical to keep the information fresh.

Finally, the Omnimax theater refurbishment has been completed. There are new seats in the theater, new carpeting and a DLP projector that displays movie theater-style pre-show questions and answers, instead of the old slide based system. I saw the Grand Canyon Adventure which was excellent, like every Omnimax film. The film was also shot exclusively for Omnimax (or they have outfitted the projector with a lens that corrects for it) as there was no distortion near the edges of the field of vision as I have become accustomed to seeing with Imax films being played on an Omnimax screen. The movie had spectacular views of the canyon from top to bottom. It also included plenty of the Imax signature flying-over-the-edge-of-a-cliff scenes designed to make everyone in the audience jump a little.