Partner Highlight: Very Small Science Creating Very Big Ideas at the Maine Discovery Museum!

Ali Jackson

Since the arrival of the Nano exhibition, the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, ME has been working hard to create a lot more excitement about nano science, engineering, and technology! The Maine Discovery Museum (MDM) is the largest children's museum North of Boston. It has 28,000 square feet of exhibit space and serves about 60,000 visitors a year.

In addition to the NISE Net Nano exhibition, the education and exhibits departments are collaborating to make connections to existing exhibits and activities through the use of graphic molecules and by introducing a special nano-themed treasure hunt. MDM has also made a few fun (and cheap!) additions to their Nano gallery, such as painting the associated walls green and purple (with paint left over from another project) and using supplementary visuals like posters (in green and purple frames) and graphics.

Director of Education, Trudi Plummer, shared that “to add visual movement and the ever important (for a children’s museum) sense of whimsy and wonder we [MDM] decided to paint some “free floating” molecules. Our facilities manager loved this paint project so much that he keeps finding new, creative formations and surprising locations for these graphics. Now, every morning I’m on the lookout for a new molecule peeking out from somewhere or he gleefully asks me if I found the latest molecule.” Trudi elaborated that this graphic project eventually lead to the decision to use the molecules as a visual hint to other nano-related content already on the museum floor. They’ve implemented a nano scavenger hunt for visiting school groups and they highlight other nano-related activities and challenges that take place away from the main Nano exhibition with this special graphic “clue.” This year, MDM is looking forward to hosting their NanoDays 2013 event in the Nano exhibition, so we’ll all have to be on the lookout for more and more molecules!

If you want to learn more about the Maine Discovery Museum's nano work, contact Trudi Plummer.