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Museum of Science opens new, transformative exhibit, the Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River

March 24, 2016

BOSTON – The Museum of Science, Boston today announced the opening of a transformative permanent exhibition, the Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River, which explores the intersection of natural and engineered worlds through the lens of the Charles River. Located in the heart of the Museum— directly between Boston and Cambridge— the exhibit offers spectacular views of the river, hands-on activities, and live animals. 
 
“The Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River embodies our mission and vision for the next decade,” said Ioannis Miaoulis, president and director. “It not only enhances this important gathering space within the Museum, it reflects our approach to exhibits by encouraging scientific observation and engagement in the engineering design process.” 
 
The 3-story gallery is at the center of Miaoulis's vision for the Museum, which is to tell one allencompassing story connecting the natural and engineered worlds by transforming the Museum's two major wings. 
 
Visitors to the Museum will notice the new space as soon as they enter the building. Highlights include: 
A floor-to-ceiling, living plant wall surrounding a 30-foot waterfall; 
A one-of-a-kind kinetic sculpture, “River Loom,” created by artist Reuben Margolin that reflects the water’s movement; 
Two habitats that are home to the species of fish and turtles found within the Charles River environment with a crawl-through observation space; 
Dynamic digital screens featuring animations created by the Museum’s own Charles Hayden Planetarium team 
Six ten-foot photographs commissioned for the exhibit offering unique views of different environments along the Charles River 
Time-lapse footage showing natural and engineered changes to the River. 
 
The exhibit also features numerous fun, engaging activities where groups can practice thinking like scientists and engineers while spending time together and having unique experiences that can only be found at the Museum of Science. 
 
The River Table allows visitors to make critical decisions and receive feedback on the effects of those choices using animation, immersive lighting, and sound effects. Engineering design challenges located throughout the exhibit include bridge support construction, changing the water flow to enable the passage of fish, and sensor modification for water testing. 
 
“We are focused on engaging visitors in scientific reasoning, scientific practice, and engineering decision making,” said Christine Reich, director of exhibit development and conservation. “Activities that encourage close observation and engage visitors in the engineering design process will inspire visitors to ask themselves the same thought process questions that scientist and engineers use in their work.” 
 
The exhibit is the centerpiece of a major facility renovation. The construction, which will be completed in July, will transform the visitor experience with upgrades and amenities including a new entry way guiding guests to Exhibit Halls, a new family restroom, a window overlooking the 
Museum’s lively Exhibit Halls and digitized signage. In addition, the existing stone walls that ring the lobby will be replaced by sleek aluminum and glass. The space will also feature extra seating, a new Information Desk and universal design throughout.  
 
The $10 million donation to create the Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River, the Yawkey Foundation’s largest in several years, builds on the Foundation’s 36-year commitment to the 
Museum. Since 1980, the support of the Yawkey Foundation has enabled thousands of New England’s youth to experience the Museum’s educational offerings. Support from the Yawkey Foundation also enriched the popular Museum exhibitions Stars Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination and Baseball As America. 
 
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 
 
 
About the Museum of Science, Boston  

One of the world's largest science centers and New England's most attended cultural institution, the Museum of Science introduces nearly 1.4 million visitors a year to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) via dynamic programs and hundreds of interactive exhibits. Founded in 1830, the Museum was first to embrace all the sciences under one roof. Highlights include the Hall of Human Life, Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, 4-D Theater, and Butterfly Garden.The Science Behind Pixar, created in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios, has begun a 10-year national tour. The Museum is the nation's first science center with a comprehensive strategy and infrastructure to foster technological literacy in museums and schools nationwide. In 2015, its National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®) received the National Science Board's Public Service Award. NCTL curricula have reached 10.4 million students and 117,000 teachers. Reaching over 20,000 teens a year worldwide via The Clubhouse Network, the Museum has also led a 10-year, $41 million National Science Foundation-funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network of science museums. Visit: http://www.mos.org.

 
 

Image Files:

  • The three floor Yawkey Gallery on the Charles is located in the heart of the Museum between the Blue Wing and the Green Wing. © Studio Nouveau

  • The "River Loom" is a one-of-a-kind kinetic sculpture created by artist Reuben Margolin and mimics the motion of the Charles River.© Studio Nouveau

  • The Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River features numerous hands-on activities, including engineering a river sensor. © Studio Nouveau

  • Visitors explore the diorama and aquariums from inside a crawl through space. © Studio Nouveau

  • The Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River has two aquariums that are home to species of fish and turtles that can be found within the Charles River environment.© Studio Nouveau

  • Visitors can get hands-on learning with Museum educators at the exhibit's Field Station. © Studio Nouveau

  • Visitors interact with dynamic animations on LED screens in the Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River. © Studio Nouveau