SCIENCE MUSEUM OF MINNESOTA
Downtown St. Paul’s mecca for curious minds
Located on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul, the 70,000-square-foot Science Museum of Minnesota is designed to spark a love of science in people of all ages. Learn how we can change the world at the Future Earth exhibit or study anatomy in the Human Body Gallery. Discover one of only four real mounted Triceratops in the Dinosaurs & Fossils Gallery, build math muscle at the Math Moves exhibit, or extract wheat germ DNA in the Cell Lab. Grab a seat and explore all the wonders of our nation’s National Parks in the state-of-the-art Omnitheater, a giant dome screen offering a variety of films every day. For some live science action, view one of the museum’s daily theater performances on topics ranging from fermentation to Charles Darwin’s bulldog. Indeed, this is a place for curious minds as it is dedicated to topics like paleontology, physical science, technology, the human body, and peoples and cultures of the Mississippi River.
Walk up and down a stairway outfitted with Soundstair, an interactive sound environment that “plugs into” an existing architectural stairway. It is composed of photo-electric sensors, placed one per step, that are wired to a computer, sound sampler, amplifier and speakers. As you traverse the stairs, they activate a series of melodic and natural sounds. The sounds are scaled to change pitch according to ascending or descending movement. For example, ascending the stair might trigger a bamboo flute and springtime garden sounds, like birds and a light breeze. When an individual stops in the middle, the sound “disappears,” fading away. If they continue climbing, the sound returns. Another individual using the stairs an hour later might hear an entirely different set of sounds. In Soundstair, sound is used to “color” the space, creating a “responsive architecture” that reacts to people moving through it. In this way, sound changes the quality of the space without changing any of its physical form.