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Museum of Science launches climate change initiative, art installation, and new exhibits

Museum of Science launches climate change initiative, art installation, and new exhibits

Visitors walk over projections asking “What do you appreciate about the earth?” in both English and Spanish at the Museum of Science.

Half a century later, Michael Collins was still able to recall the feeling he had when he looked out at Earth from the orbit of the moon.

“The thing that really surprised me was that it projected an air of fragility,” the late astronaut In an article published in 2019, The New York Times quoted me. “And why, I don’t know. I don’t know to this day. I had a feeling it’s tiny, it’s shiny, it’s beautiful, it’s home, and it’s fragile.”

This heightened awareness is what Boston’s Museum of Science is trying to evoke with its new initiative, Climate ChangeA collection of exhibits and programs dedicated to the future and present of our planet. As part of this, a new addition to the museum’s blue wing is “Gaia,” a hanging, 23-foot-diameter, internally lit globe, complete with high-definition NASA imagery. “Gaia,” said Julia Tate, project manager of touring exhibitions and exhibit production, is “a visual representation of the whole climate change initiative.”

The art installation, a touring piece made by UK artist Luke Jerram, is meant to evoke the “Overview,” the awe-struck sensation described by Collins and many other astronauts when they see the Earth from space. A projection on the ground floor asks visitors, “What do you appreciate about the earth?”

Visitors walk over projections asking “What do you appreciate about the earth?” in both English and Spanish at the Museum of Science. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

“It’s not always going to look like this, if we continue to be [as] destructive as we are as a species,” said Daniel Meservey about “Gaia” after snapping a selfie in front of the globe with one of his children, Eli, during a visit to the museum on Presidents’ Day. “We’re trying to teach as much as we can, because we know so much more than we did when I was a kid.”

Two new exhibits in our green wing are designed to educate young people on how the planet is adapting to climate change. One of them, “New England Climate Stories,” which opened in mid-February, explores the impact of changes like rising temperatures, ocean acidification, and urban development on regional flora and fauna, some of which is on display. (The museum is an accredited zoo.)

A plaque explaining how the exhibit works is located in the urban section. Warmer winters can cause an increase in domestic ratsThree of them scurry around inside a glass container. You will also find information about the American lobster in the ocean section. Migrating northIn search of cooler waters than those found on the Massachusetts coast. The forest section features an epoxied portion of a sugar maple tree. This is to show that wider growth rings are indicative. Wetter and warmer years.

A visitor stops by to see a blue jay in the Museum of Science’s “New England Climate Stories.”
Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

“It’s been nice to actually see some of the exhibits and see how it’s impacting — especially stuff like this, which is in our own backyard,” said Christine Pierce, who came to the exhibit with her two daughters.

There are electronic displays throughout the exhibit that show feeds from ISeeChangea platform online that allows users to upload photos and record weather phenomena.

Next to “New England Climate Stories,” visitors can travel across the pond, where “Resilient Venice” spotlights the city’s “adaptation strategies,” said Alana Parkes, manager of exhibit content development. “Resilient Venice,” which opened in December, shows how the city is combating rising water levels, such as employing a barrier systemElevating buildings. In one interactive activity, visitors can “save” a gelateria from flooding by boarding up its exterior with blue foam slats.

Quinn Mansfield, 2, looks up at a projection of Venice inside the “Resilient Venice” exhibit at the Museum of Science. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

“Everything’s changing, so we just need to change with it and evolve as we go,” said visitor Travis Counter, who stood next to the gelateria display with his three daughters.

The museum’s concern about climate change is very close to their hearts. The museum is located on the Charles River’s top. Potentially vulnerable to floodingEvents over the coming years and decades. One recent studyThe New England region is warming at an even faster rate than the rest, putting everything in danger, from the lobster economy to the rise of invasive species.

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“The climate crisis is happening everywhere,” said Katharina Marino, lead content developer on “New England Climate Stories.” “It’s not just something that is happening at the poles, and it’s not just impacting polar bears and penguins and the rain forest, but this is something that we can actually see right here in our Boston neighborhoods.”

The new exhibits aren’t the first time the museum has touched upon the subject of climate change. There’s the “Arctic Adventure” exhibit, the IMAX film “Ancient Caves,” and programs like Wicked Hot Boston, which collected data in the summer of 2019 on extreme heat and urban Heat Islands. In the months ahead, the museum will host several climate-themed events such as a live screening of The. Wilderland Film Festival on March 24 and two performances of the Serious Play Theatre Ensemble’s play “Moving water,” which addresses the issue of rising sea levels.

Above all, Tate, the project manager, said the goal of the museum’s climate initiative is to inspire people to find and enact solutions to protect our planet.

“We want people to feel empowered about what they can do and what actions they can take,” she said.

Dana Gerber can reached at

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