The first gallery visitors see when entering the museum is The Marvelous Motion Gallery. A study of the basic concepts of physics, this gallery entices curiosity by exploring natural phenomena such as wave motion, kinetic energy, and gravity. Play with the sand pendulum, the Vertical Wave Machine (by Jonathan Engineering), the Peanut Fountain by Norman Tuck, the Loopy Lasso, become magnetized by the Magnetic Runaround, learn about the forces of gravity in the Gravity Well, and motion in the Spindrift, spin, roll, or combine to experiment with motion on the Turntable, or make spinning patterns using beautiful fine garnet sand. The Marvelous Motion Gallery also contains a gallery of motion graphics with photos by legendary photographer Berenice Abbott and visuals by Edgerton. The first of our interactive video exhibits is also found in this workshop area. Called Do/Undo, activate the camera on this display and record yourself in motion to see what you look like in reverse! Visitors may also examine VisiVision, the first of our three Rowland Emmett machines on display here at the Museum.
The Light Bridge is the next stop, as guests enter this portion of the museum they may view two separate time-lapse videos displaying the construction of the Bob Wheeler Science Skywalk from beginning to finish, witnessing the passing of the seasons and the entire construction process. Visitors may also play with Invisible Stained Glass, Color Filters, and Multiple Lenses to learn about the scientific effects of light on our senses.
Making your way across the Light Bridge, visitors will find themselves on the landing ramp area where they may interact with Keva Planks, Touch the Spring, Mirror Maze, the Shadow Catcher, and examine the tinkering genius of inventor Rowland Emmett's Little Dragon Carpet Sweeper.
Mid-America Science Museum also now has outdoor exhibits featured throughout the Museum grounds. Visitors to the cafe may sit outside on our Anamorphic Bench and witness the optical illusion made by the Anamorphic Mirror. In front of the Museum be sure to check out our Mirrored Trees.
The Oaklawn Foundation Digital Dome Theater offers a diverse array of shows that complement educational objectives as well as traveling exhibit content in the Museum. The theater seats up to 50 people and has full-dome projection-style films that will immerse the families and children with a 180-degree viewing area. Currently we are showing Two Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope and Back to the Moon For Good.
The Bob Wheeler Science Skywalk, sponsored by the Advertising and Promotion Commission of Hot Springs, offers a unique experience found nowhere else in the State. This outdoor exhibition extends into the forest canopy 200 yards from the Museum, offering visitors young and old an opportunity to experience a shift in perspective as they investigate science found in nature. A tree-house pavilion, rope netting and hands-on activities add to the adventure. More than 40-feet in the air the Bob Wheeler Science Skywalk allows guests to fight their fear of heights and also enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds the Museum. View the trees through the Teleidoscope, hold hands on the Musical Bench, or just take a seat on one of our People Watching Benches. Also be sure to experience the fog bridge that releases a cloud-like mist onto the skywalk at the beginning of every hour for a period of five minutes.
Exhibits in Arkansas Underfoot allow visitors to investigate biology, geology, and topography that is unique to Arkansas. Guests crawl through a realistic cave in Underground Arkansas, use a Rock Smasher (designed by Protozone Inc.) to learn about erosion, explore an interactive 3-D sandbox with our Rain and Terrain exhibit, and watch as dermestid beetles break down mice in our Dust to Dust Exhibit. For those visitors who are interested in classifying and examining tiny fossils, check out the Fossil Sorting Station. Visitors can also view our refinished Mastodon cast replica, an actual Sauropod footprint, examine Life in Mud in the Winogradsky Panel, read a book in our Giant Tree, or get lost in examining the maps on our map table, our giant topographic mural, and watch geology videos all about Arkansas.
The Workshops provide a major new platform for the Museum to increase its emphasis in discovery learning by utilizing core principles of structure, movement, control, and communication through individual work stations using common materials. The four workshops are based on specific topics in science. The “Animation Workshop” explores stop-motion animation stations, a 16mm film demo called "As Frames Go By," and an amazing 3-D zoetrope show. Visitors may also view the Animation Tower, the Slit Scan, and an Animation Theater.
There is also a ten-foot tall climbing structure called the Gyroid Climber that anchors the “Rhythm and Patterns Workshop,” where children and adults can learn how math is used in our daily lives. In this workshop area you may interact with a Keep the Beat station, a Music Box, a Magnetic Labyrinth, and Patterns from Nature.
The “Force and Energy Workshop” uses a vintage steam engine, infrared imaging, and a giant gravity tower to examine the relationship between force and energy. The “Fluid Motion Workshop” showcases a two-story interactive water tower that engages all ages as they launch small plastic balls into the vortex of water and interact with the fluid of motion. With separate components like the Coriolis Fountain, a Dome Fountain, and Floating Objects. There is also a Crank Vortex, an actual Tornado machine and a classic Bernoulli Blower.
In addition to all of our exciting new exhibits we have also renovated and brought back classic exhibits which include our one and only Tesla Theater. Showcasing a brand new show presented by our professional education staff in this 150-seat theater we feature rotating Tesla shows throughout the entire week. See this one-of- a-kind show featuring the Guinness Book of World Record's most powerful conical Tesla Coil.
Alliance Rubber Company Tinkering Studio
The Tinkering Studio is an ideal hands-on, ever-changing learning environment for students, families and teachers where participants are encouraged to exercise their critical thinking skills.
Mid-America Science Museum most effectively impacts elementary students seeking to understand the science behind difficult classroom concepts.
Mid-America makes science relevant to everyday living in a way that is fun and encourages audiences to ask questions and experiment to discover answers on their own. Tinkering is about much more than homework or answers on a test.
- Hands on exploration and invention.
- An open-ended creative process.
- Experimenting and creating with tools and materials.
- When the end product is not the ultimate goal, but rather the process of learning through tweaking and adapting a creation
- A safe time and place to make discoveries.
- Gives people a sense of pride and accomplishment.
- An experience that encourages adventure.
- An opportunity to learn as much from stumbles as successes to fully understand the capacity of an idea.
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”
Students learn how to:
- Solve problems.
- Focus on one thing at a time while keeping a broad perspective in mind.
- Use tools and a variety of materials to create.
- Take responsibility for learning.
- Discover the process of taking things apart.
- Be autonomous.
- Move on to the next idea when the first one doesn’t work out.