I’m really getting around this Thanksgiving break. Lynchburg, Philadelphia, Nashville, Manassas. Phew! I don’t think I’ve ever covered so much land in such a short span of time. The highlight, and most relevant to my blog, was my trip to Philadelphia. The purpose? Science museums! Philadelphia has many fantastic museums, many of which are science-oriented and everyone-friendly. I visited the Chemical Heritage Museum, the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Mütter Museum. My goal was to learn how to better educate my readers about the amazingness that is science without making it seem super lame by adding too many words like Buckminsterfullerene. As a chemistry student, I found the interactive exhibits fun and engaging, but so did the parents….and their five-year-olds.
The first thing I did last Friday when I arrived in the city was head to the Chemical Heritage Museum, where I spent several hours reading everything. I’d never been somewhere so enthused about chemistry. However, my favorite out of the four museums I visited was the Franklin Institute. It was so incredibly interactive. There were levers, buttons, switches, knobs….all of which subtly sought to teach the viewer something about physics (or other sciences that Benjamin Franklin explored (i.e. all of them)). There were also small children running around shouting, “Yaaaay! Science!” which warmed my heart, which was cold from walking the windy Philadelphia streets.
Natural Science museums are always educational. The Academy of Natural Sciences had dinosaur bones, so, yeah. Worth the trip. They also had a preserved tuna fish that Ernest Hemingway caught (an intersection of the sciences and the humanities).
The Mütter Museum is one I’d never heard of before actually going to Philadelphia and leafing through a myriad of tourist pamphlets. It exhibits an fascinating medical collection of skeletons, preserved body parts, and wax models of various diseases. In addition to exploring the museum exhibits, I actually had the opportunity to speak with staff members at the Chemical Heritage Museum and the Academy of Natural Sciences, who kindly answered all my questions about relating technical information to the public. Museums are a great way to learn about….well, anything. I definitely recommend a trip to Philadelphia to check out everything the city has to offer, especially these great institutions.