Sponsored by Constellation and Exelon, the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore has a new exhibit, Power Up! which inspires visitors to learn all about electricity. When dealing with something as difficult to visualize as electric power, it helps to have hands-on activities. Power Up! asks participants to generate electricity, build circuits, and control electrical grids. Most notably for MDEV, the exhibit highlights sustainable electricity sources and alternative fuels. One of the interactive screens even has a discussion on electric vehicles. It’s important to note that this exhibit is geared towards youth, who will be the next generation of drivers and energy users.
But this exhibit can be enjoyed by all ages. I had the joy of participating in this unique experience. In a world where electricity and power often act behind the scenes (all you need to do is plug-in), I appreciated all the activities that asked visitors to generate power themselves. For example, visitors have to spin a giant wheel in order to power a blender. Speaking from experience, you practically have to run in order to get all of the appliances turned on–in other words, it’s hard work. In this way, individuals can experience the amount of human power it takes to turn on objects that are normally powered by electricity. Although never explicitly stated, these actions can foster an appreciation of energy. As said by the Maryland Science Center president and CEO Van Reiner, “Power Up! is a great opportunity for us to engage and educate visitors about a resource that many of us take for granted every day.”