Hands-On Museum

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The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum used to be fun and educational. It's still fun, but this kind of pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo from the "Waste To Watts" exhibit makes me wonder:

A single generator will produce 800,000 watts per hour. Otherwise known as 800 kilowatts per hour, this is enough electricity to typically power 800 average homes per day. On average, each house uses about 1,000 watts of electricity per hour, or the equivalent of ten 100-watt light bulbs.

Many of the original exhibits at the Museum were built by volunteers but in recent years these have been replaced by more corporate offerings. The Light & Optics Gallery used to be full of exhibits hand built by Dick Crane, but these were allowed to deteriorate and were eventually discarded. At the same time, this laser harp was placed under a spotlight that confuses the sensors so that the harp is no longer playable. Museum staff apparently haven't noticed or don't care.

This Bernoulli Ball exhibit, built by my father, is still in place but hasn't been cleaned or serviced in years. After nearly 20 years in service the blower no longer works right. Originally the ball would float several feet in the air and could be maneuvered out over the edge of the base by pivoting the nozzle. Now the ball barely floats a few inches and the exhibit doesn't even make sense any more. Even if the ball could float higher, the nozzle can't pivot because the exhibit has been placed right up against another exhibit. Again, Museum staff apparently haven't noticed or don't care.

Jim Rees