We are half way through the severe storms scientists’ residency at the Exploratorium and all is going well. We are testing many new ideas during this residency, some of them changes based on the evaluation from the last year. The scientists and explainers are working together at exhibits in the main thoroughfare of the museum. In the space is the storm chasing vehicle, a van de Graaff generator, the tornado exhibit, and the outdoor cart (a bike designed for explainers to ride around the Palace of Fine Arts, stop anywhere, and do an activity). Visitors of all ages are engaged within the space with some of them staying for an extended time (upwards of 20-30 minutes).
One thing the explainers are working on for this project is a floor walk. A floor walk allows explainers to lead visitors around the floor and give them a more in-depth experience with exhibits around a central topic. At the end of last week, the two lead explainers (those working with the severe storms scientists) practiced their floor walk with their fellow explainers, the scientists, and me. One exhibit that we explored more deeply was the tornado. We used tinsel to see how the air is flowing and therefore forming a tornado. We also explored how bubbles would act within the exhibit (http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmscvisitorcenter/6989941183/). I learned that the Exploratorium has a room devoted to bubbles. Yes, a closet that is filled with everything bubble related. Hmmm….